We always knew where to find a kitten. Our grandparent’s 1930’s farm was one of our favourite places as kids; with a meandering river behind it, the 'rockery' of petunias, and phlox out front, and in the farmhouse, a window-upon window, over-the-porch room that our family pronounced ball-cony, (I'm not sure why) where we, as visiting grandchildren, stayed.
Four things I learned from a farm full of kittens.
ONE. Give them their hidey nests
In the barn, newborn litters were hidden away, kept safe from other cats and we, the persistent children. Led through niches of stacked, sun-scented straw bales, in the corridor connecting the two heifer pens, they sometimes curiously peaked out, rewarding our patience.
Their love for dark nests and hideaways never leaves them. Every kitten and cat I've had, (numbering around 10 over the years), has often sought claustrophobically tight spaces in which to sleep.
Finn, probably like most animals, loves to rotate through different, favourite hidey-nests; sock drawers, backs of closets, clothes, and Kneadies™ smushed into soft piles.
TWO. Cat2Cat relationships can be very tricky
Cats are, like all of us, choosers. Rarely, were cats found lazing in packs around the feeding bowl on the farm. In the post 'The One About Jade Growing up With Pets' that photo of the cardboard cat-condominium built by hopeful young cat-city planners? Would. Never. Happen. Like any animal, they need their own spaces. Read the third in the series, post 'Feral and Stray Cats Finale: How can we Help Them? to read about my miserable cat2cat relationship predicament.
Seemingly Positive Cat2Cat Scenarios:
1) ONE new adult cat with ONE of us as their best friend:
is often best if you can be home a lot of the time.
2) ONE cat under the age of one year added to a home with ANOTHER cat under the age of one year:
usually very successful because their kittenhood memories and acceptances of sibling companionships are still strong.
3) TWO young cats under the age of one year who may not even know each other:
Two kittens are never harder to take care of than one kitten and they have each other for company for extended periods of alone-time.
4) A home that has a larger number of cats. Any perceived concern is diluted by the numbers.
Seemingly Negative Cat2Cat Scenarios:
1) ONE new kitten added to a home with ONE established adult cat:
is tolerable at best, and often abusive for the kitten. Ask Finn, who played the role of the abused new kitten who was mercilessly hit by the older cat every time he walked into her area.
2) ONE new adult cat added to a home with ONE established adult cat:
will almost always deteriorate to a competition between the dominant and the less dominant cat. It can easily take a year for them to even tolerate each other. MKF (mixed kitty fighting) does not a home of Zen make.
Cat2cat thoughts from the pen of the ever hopeful, long time friend, 'optimistic Lindsay':
"Never thought about age in conjunction with feline relations. It might explain why Rosie, our cat of 12 years, at the time, took a full year to accept 6 week old Lily. Never entering the same room, Rosie skirted around from summer 2018 to summer 2019 and never grew to accept the newbie 100%.
Fast forward 12 years, with Rosie gone, we found ourselves in the same situation with Lily at 12 and our daughter's cat Moss.
A year has passed and Moss still receives an unfriendly welcome from Lily when we cat-sit our grand kitty on weekends. We thought Lily was simply following the reign of Rosie, but I now suspect it has more to do with their respective ages. We really want Lily to accept Moss, the gentle giant of a ginger cat".
~ Thanks Lindsay! I love that your cats and and my daughters had the same names, I know your an optimist. Some people have tried pheromones, and it sounds hit and missy, but maybe some brands are better quality than others?.
I want to know YOUR experiences with your cat numbers, especially your successes. What did you learn about cats socializing with new cats? Email me here! I'll use our gathered information, as this is a big concern for new cat owners.
THREE. Cats love to hunt (or pretend to)
Paper grocery bags are back in fashion. Growing up, I watched our family's cats play in them which made me think of a finger risking idea of my own:
You can watch the video below to see how to make your own ;Double Trouble Cat Tunnel'
In the VIDEO BELOW, I show you how to build Finn's 'Double Trouble Cat
Tunnel'; a fun way to encourage a game of pretend hunting of fingers.
FOUR: Natural kitty litter...it won't stick to their feet.
This is not only better for them, but it's fresher smelling (Canadian wood) doesn't stick, track, or stain like clumping chemical cat litter we've been trained to buy. It solves all the world's problems (well at least those involving acres of cat litter in its land fills)
Years ago, Finn started shaking his feet in an agitated way, picking at them whenever he stepped out of the chemicalized clumping kitty litter, prompting me to look for an alternative.
I found it! Canadian 100% natural wood pellets make sense and is gaining in popularity; it is simply a bag of wood pellets, often used in horse pens. (RONA)
The pads on cat's feet are porous things that, like skin, take up everything with which they come in contact; like floor cleaners, and the chemicals in kitty litter that clump and stick to them.
Sprays, perfumes, and candles can truly upset their natural systems even more than they do with ours. We are all delicate flowers.
Using natural Canadian wood pellets as kitty litter:
Find a large sifting litter pan system (Pet Value) It is sold with two lower receptacle-pans, one sifting pan, and a half lid that gets in the cat's way. (I threw it out)
Add a thick layer of 100% natural wood pellets.
Add a dust pan to your arsenal.
Use your existing litter-scoop to pick up cat-constitutions (and the inevitable, occasional wood pellets), as well as the pile of sawdust created by your cat's urine which disintegrates the compressed wood pellets.
Put this in your dust pan and deposit it all into your toilet.
Go back to the pans. Shake the top pan with the pellets and the middle pan together and slightly above the lowest pan (like you're shaking a Jiffy-Pop bag) This allows sawdust (created by your kitten urinating on the wood pellets) to drop down easily into the pan.
Carry this pan with the sawdust to the toilet and dump it in, using a piece of toilet paper to clean the film of sawdust that might be remaining. That's as dirty as it ever gets.
Make sure you don't add too much at a time or you could clog your toilet.
You can flush the pellets, the sawdust, and your cat's daily constitutions down the toilet... it's all 100% organic. The world will thank you for not using chemicalized clumping kitty litter.
Hit the LIKE button below if you'd like a video showing how to do use a system like this and I'll look into getting Finn an acting coach.
A great alternative to wood pellets is 'recycled newspaper pellets' as described by my cat-lover friend, Mary-Lou, below, in the comments section.
Six: A Sturdy Scratching Log or Scratching Post + Nail Clipper.
I have to wrap Finn in a towel to render him relatively stationary to bring out one paw at a time to trim his nails. Once a month is sufficient.
Every cat will dull their nails on something; better that it's a surface of YOUR choosing. They, like us are creatures of habit and it will be very hard to train them away from the arm of your sofa.
Seven: A portrait as a cute gift for your new kitten.
Go to the portrait page of Abstract Pet.
The most popular painted portrait sizes are the 8X10" and the 6X6", and all are gift-ready, framed in a sustainable Canadian-wood floating-frame; in raw, white wash or black.
If you liked this post share this LINK with your friends. View other posts for more pet and art topics.
Thank you for reading this, I hope you've found some answers. Contact me if you have other kitten questions.
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