Friday, September 24, 2010

Flashback Friday: Raising Kittens

I realize now how much has changed since the last time we had kittens in the house (10 years ago). In 2000, Ruckus was a feral kitten that hung around our apartment complex and we'd spied him a few times sneaking around the dumpsters. One day, he was hit by a car and the neighborhood kids brought him to us -- they thought he was our kitty (since we were the only people in the complex that had a cat). When we took him in, he was about 4 months old and hardly weighed 3 lbs. He was scrawny and had worms (and a broken pelvis and leg!) and we nursed him back to health.

But! We already had a kitty. Monkey was just barely 1 year old then, and he was still very kittenish himself. When Ruckus was well enough to be introduced to Monkey, they immediately became pals and decided that they'd form an alliance. Cats vs. People.


Back then, we lived in a teeny studio apartment (I think it was 400 sq ft, maybe less) so the Midnight Crazies were unavoidable -- they had to run over your soft organs while you slept or jump on your face! But hands-down, their favorite part was the Attack-Her-Ankles Game. I don't know what the appeal was... Our place had an itsy bitsy bathroom, so small that when you took a shower, you had to leave the door open because 1) it would steam up so fast that the toilet paper would disintegrate on the roll and 2) there wasn't enough space on the floor to put the clothes/shoes you just took off. [when you sat on the toilet, your knees touched the wall in front of you. It was awkward to say the least!] The open door meant, of course, that there were cats in there with you - always. They'd sit on the edge of the shower and wait. And wait. And wait. And then when you were ready to step out? They'd grin maliciously and attack your legs. I don't know how or why they'd coordinate it, but one would get the right leg, the other the left and they'd work in tandem to bite your achilles tendon as much as they could.

Monkey Hangin'

And in the middle of the night was when all the real fun started. Midnight Crazies, chasing each other, chasing their own tails, etc. And they always wanted people to be awake. They couldn't understand WHY WE WOULD WANT TO SLEEP AT 3AM! So they'd take turns waking us up. All night, every night. Every day, I'd come into work with fresh scratches and dark circles under my eyes. Everyone would advise me to "shut the bedroom door" so that they didn't wake us up. Nice thought, but we didn't have a door. The only door inside our apartment was to the bathroom and we couldn't really lock them in there (although it did happen a few times) because there wasn't space. The bathroom was maybe 4' x 7' and included a shower, a toilet, and a sink - under which there was a litter box. That left approx. three inches of available floor space. Not exactly "fair" for locking up cats overnight.

when they were babies

But this time, it's already so different. Ryan had so many apprehensions about having a kitten in the house - remembering the terrors that Monkey and Ruckus were. But this time, the kitty has his own room, where we can close him up if we need to. And the house is more spacious - he's got plenty of places to explore and things to play with that he doesn't need to chew on my legs! And when we sleep at night? A door! A glorious door!! (Although, in honesty, we don't close it much. Rocket isn't interested in our bedroom and Ruckus likes sleeping in the living room - but still! Having it is good enough!) And Rocket is learning quickly the things that took our Bratty Duo a while to adjust to (it's not that they couldn't learn, it's that they were working in tandem to be pests), so he already knows not to climb on Ryan's work desk and that the fish tank is off limits. He also appreciates the luxuries that we were slow to figure out for Monkey and Ruckus. Like the glory of the heating pad chair! Having a comfy chair that's next to Ryan's desk (where he spends most of his day/night) with fleece blankets AND a heating pad... well, it's just a little slice of kitten heaven.

Olan Mills pose

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