Saturday, 14 November 2009

This blog has been created as an online diary to document my life following the addition of a second cat to our household. I've never had to introduce a second cat to an incumbent resident and an online blog seems somewhat preferential to having to find a paper diary and write it up.

I also want to record the growing up of the little kitten as you seem to forget how fast they go from a feather light bundle of fluff to something that needs two hands to lift. I've never had two pets of the same species and, as I normally only get a new animal when the previous one dies, it will probably be another 20yrs before another new kitten enters my life.

Magic is 6yrs old and has lived with us since she was rescued from an SSPCA animal shelter when she was around 3-4months old. Our old cat had died aged 16 and a half and it had broken our hearts. She had major health problems throughout her life and how she survived to this age at all was a source of mystery and wonder to us. We liked to put it down to her being very well looked after during her illnesses and deeply loved. As the old cat had died just before Christmas the SSPCA were not rehoming any cats to prevent folk using them as Christmas presents so we had to wait until the new year.

We'd decided we wanted a kitten as we didn't feel we could take the heartbreak of a shorter lifespan of an older cat. We knew any animal could die young but we were grieving and trying to protect ourselves. We also decided on no account did we want another Tortoiseshell girl as it would remind us too much of the one who had died. Instead we decided we wanted a ginger boy as a total opposite! We went round a number of shelters but there were no kittens.

Then one came in to our local one - a wee shivering wreck of a Tortoiseshell girl sitting on a tiny rectangle of carpet looking lost, devastated and rejected. She had been taken by her new owner from a litter and had apparently not got on with the owners dogs. She'd only been with the new owner for 3 days and had apparently been 'attacking' the three dogs in the house. A highly improbable story as Magic is utterly terrified even of hearing a dog bark on tv. However, their loss was our immense gain. As animals can only be adopted at a certain time and a few people were interested in her I ended up waiting in the snow for a few hours just to secure her when she was available for re-homing.

Magic is a delight to have as a companion and we adore her. She is very chilled and fits in beautifully in our house. She is in all truth 'my' cat though she shares her love around. She shares my room at night and has a number of preferred spots to sleep depending on the weather, the time of year and whatever other criteria cats use to decide that the top of the wardrobe, foot of the bed or pillow on the chair at the window is just the spot. For six years she has been the house princess with her every whim indulged. Then some months ago a colleague, who had two pregnant cats, asked if I'd like a kitten.

Of course I wanted a kitten but how could I ever do this to Magic? Or would it be company and bring her some fun. All the ideas went round and round and the decider came when the kittens were born - were any of them ginger? Yes, three, two boys and a girl! Magic's fate was sealed and, as my colleague was willing to allow me to home test the kitten with the option of returning it if Magic became too devastated, then it seemed like there was nothing left to lose.

Red, the kitten, came home a week ago. He is unbelievably light as a feather, has the tiniest squeak, and a tail like a diary pencil with fur. He has found toys Magic discarded years ago and plays with gusto. I am ignoring what this says about the state of my housekeeping! He is litter trained and so delicate in his touch and movements that he is a real credit to my colleague and her family for socialising him beautifully.

The only odd thing for us about him is his eating habits. He came from a double litter with 7 kittens all used to dining together once weaned from the mums. Although to us he looks like a waif he is actually one of the largest of the kittens. Which explains why he views all food as his friend.

Magic normally gets two meals a day which she grazes on throughout the day and always has a bowl of dry food as well. When Red came he promptly ate his half sachet of kitten food and a whole sachet of Magic's Gourmet with shrimp. He looked like his legs were going to buckle under the weight of his drum tight belly and his legs seemed to be sticking out at the sides. I was horrified that he'd done himself an injury from overeating but he seems very robust. On the Felix box it says kittens just a week younger than him have stomach capacities the size of a walnut and need fed four times a day. It doesn't say anything about a nine week old kitten scoffing one and a half sachet of food and only leaving the dried Hills Science because he hasnt worked out how to eat it yet! With regards to endearing himself to Magic he was definitely not going for the easy option.

We have now had Red for a whole week now and though there have been a couple of instances of demented windmill paw head slapping, ferocious hissing and death states (from Magic to Red) there have been no injuries. I couldn't say there is love in the air between both cats but the physical distances tolerated by Magic are getting less and Red doesn't have to make such a large detour around her now.

Red sometimes doesn't really help himself as he occasionally takes a bravery pill and sideways charges at Magic. Once she gets over her shock at his audacity she either hisses mightily or slaps him senseless with a paw with the claws sheathed. Luckily this has only happened 3 or 4 times which is probably not bad going in the first week.

The first time she slapped him I nearly fainted. Her paw went whirring round like a windmill on speed raining blows on his little skull. I swiftly broke it up but he'd had a good few slaps land probably because he was so surprised at the speed of her reaction. When I checked him over him there was not a mark on him. Magic weighs a ton compared to Red and her open paw is about the size of his head. Ok, not a ton exactly, Magic is 4kgs and Red 900g. If she had been intent on causing him harm even in the second or two that the assault lasted she could have probably killed him if she had meant it. Instead he got a very good demonstration that nonsense is not likely to be tolerated by 'da management' as Magic like to think of herself!

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