12 October, 2019

so we got a kitten for Murdercat

...this is a thing I've been threatening, cajoling, and advocating for, oh, two years, when it became obvious that Murdercat is twice Tinycat's size and not inclined to self-amusement. He wants to play with someone. Particularly another cat. And Tinycat, Witch-Queen though she is, cannot keep up.

When we moved to the new, large apartment last year, I stepped up my appeal (as Murdercat made a habit of thundering through the hallway, literally draped over Tinycat, so that it looked like Sleipnir the two-headed cat lived among us). Nous relented only so far as to say--when we find a kitten who needs us, he was open to it.

Where we live now we have a neighborhood list-serve, generally given to "free-cycling" and community announcements. Every now and then, kittens pop up, because people seem to think dumping cats in our neighborhood's a good idea (which, you know, not a bad strategy... a bunch of uni faculty aren't going to just leave kittens to die in the bushes), and because we've got some cat-fosterers living nearby.

He came to my attention twice--the first time, when there was a plea to foster him, maybe adopt, because he was too much for her current foster to deal with (two dogs, three kids, chemotherapy). Cute kitten, I thought, but he's got the sort of markings people like and someone will totally take him.

Then last week, he showed up again on the list, with another plea for someone to adopt him, saying he was 4 months old and a totally awesome kitten. Weird, I thought. Something's up. 16 weeks is a little older than I wanted, but I messaged the fosterer anyway (Nous pretended not to notice, knowing already that this meant we were getting a kitten. He knows me sometimes better than I do). I got photos of a kitten that looked younger than 16 weeks, which was great.  "He looks like a Rupert!" I told Nous. "We can definitely name him Rupert."

We set up a time to meet him. Long story made shorter: we met him in the living room of the email-posting fosterer, who was not actually his fosterer, because he'd been through three, four? fosters in the last week. "He's a lot," she said, somewhat apologetically. "Two people have already returned him."

We are there, on the floor, watching this kitten (I put him at maybe 13 weeks, give or take: big boned, solid kitten, past the attack-everything phase but not as coordinated as I'd expect from 4 months). He's walking around this woman's place that he's been in for 15 minutes, sniffing things, bright-eyed, curious. He checks us out. Eats a bit of food. Sits between us to clean (because one must wash one's paws after eating, always). Loud noise outside? He sits up and looks. Not climbing all over us, but he's not a puppy, so I don't expect that. Fur is shiny, eyes are bright, no fleas, ears are clean, he looks great.

The fosterer is talking, talking. He was the last of a litter from a situation in Riverside, where the family had given away the rest of the kittens and planned to take him to a high-kill shelter at week's end. The foster organization scrambled and got him. He passed through to the woman with two dogs and chemo, and he was "too much" for her which--okay, that's fair. Kittens are work, especially if they are really young. He'd been shuffled through various fosters since, one day here, two days there. Adopted twice, returned twice, because he was, again, "too much." Not a cuddler or a snuggler. Always running around. High energy.

Well shit, he's a kitten, we said, and took him home.

The first discovery: he is not a Rupert. This is not a thoughtful, cautious kitten. This is a grab-the-toy-mouse-and-shake-it kitten. He likes us and wants to be where we are; my sense is his various fosters kept him confined in small rooms (which, you know, fair) and relatively isolated, and his home-family just ignored him. Even so, it took 7 days to get him to climb into a chair with me, where we shared the seat, companionably leaning on each other; he won't climb into a lap.

He loves Murdercat, who, after 24 appalled hours, loves him back.  We have yet to get him to the vet for a formal weighing; I estimate he's between 4.5-5 lbs, and built like a fucking tank. If he grows into those paws and legs, he will be bigger than Murdercat. I put him into a harness this week and he was unfazed. Not trying the leash yet, though. I'd like him to see a vet first, get some shots, and learn to pull his claws before we go meet people. 

So please welcome Orion Alexander Odysseus Khan to the family.