Tuesday, August 4, 2015

In the mood to talk about cat ownership: Intro to Kittens

So a friend of mine just got her first cat, (Hi Danielle!), and had some questions about first time cat ownership.  Since Brian and I have five (yes, five) cats, and we've become total experts on the subject, I thought I'd put together a series of posts on first time cat ownership.

First off, the Quirks of Cat Ownership:
They puke everywhere.  They shed everywhere.  They destroy everything that you love.  And yet, when they snuggle up to you, purring and sweet, all of that just doesn't matter.  It probably should, but it doesn't.  And why?


Gaahhhhhh!  So cute!!!!!

I've already told the story of how Brian and I went from having zero cats to having five cats.  I didn't grow up with cats, because I was allergic as a kid.  (I'm mildly allergic now, but I get allergy shots and that seems to have helped.)  We were a dog family.  We had a standard poodle named Max and a tiny chihuahua named Madeline.  In 2003, after I moved back home from college, this adolescent grey tabby showed up at my parents' house and decided to move in.  We really had very little say in the matter.  He caught the mice that were terrorizing us, and we named him Oliver.  He's a sweet, if slightly neurotic, boy and we love him.

When Brian and I adopted the triplets, I had no idea we would be adopting cats.  We'd gone to a cat show because my mom wanted to get a Siamese, and there was supposed to be a good breeder at the show.  We never found the breeder, but we dropped by the SPCA booth and ended up adopting three tiny kittens.

I remember asking my friend, who had grown up with cats, what I was supposed to do with these kittens once I got them home.  Nothing, she said.  Just let them go.  Make sure there's a litter box, and that they know where it is, give them food and water, and let them go.  So that's what we did.

There's a great debate raging, that has likely raged from the beginning of time and will not likely be resolved as long as we roam this earth: which is cuter, a puppy or a kitten?  I really can't take a side.  I'm only human.  Besides, cats and dogs are just different.  Dogs are incredibly social creatures, as social as humans, if not more so.  They crave acceptance.  Puppies look to their humans for approval, they're human-focused, which makes an owner feel very loved indeed.  Cats?  No so much.  Cats are not very social creatures as a rule.  They're loners.  Consequently, they really couldn't care less whether what they're doing makes you happy or not.

Puppies like eye contact, and can even take direction by following a human's eyes.  Kittens do not.  (Fun fact: cats actually consider direct eye contact a threat.  If you want to show your cat that you're not threatening them, blink your eyes slowly.  The cat will likely blink back to show that they understand that you're not threatening them.)  I think that this is a pretty good metaphor for puppies vs. kittens: puppies need reassurance, eye contact, a structured day, a kennel until they're house-broken.  Kittens don't.  You just let them go.  They'll find their way.

Come back for more tricks, tips, and observations of cat ownership!

1 comment:

  1. I love it! Thank you! Your little black ones look a lot like my Ella. Looking forward to the next ones! :)