Musings on being a new cat mum

Katniss looking regal

Katniss looking regal

So, the Friday before last I finally bit the bullet, got over my fear of ‘catmittment’ and took a major life step – I adopted a kitten. I had been considering this for some time, but – being me – I had to analyse, double analyse and then triple analyse all the pros and cons before I made the big call. Was I ready for this? Was my house too small? Would it cramp my social life? Am I a fit cat mother? Do I have what it takes? After going back and forward on this a number of times it was my brother who finally convinced me to take the leap. ‘Cats are easy – they look after themselves and they are low maintenance’. Coming from a father of three girls – he has a good perspective on such things ;-). So I proclaimed last Friday ‘Kitten Friday’ – publicised it on Facebook so I couldn’t back down – and finally headed off to Animates. (Note – Animates get their cats from the SPCA but have the added advantage of being right around the corner and having everything under the sun you need for your new pet – and many many things you don’t need at all).

The kitten choosing itself was not that hard. There were four – a black and white who was very grumpy, two young black kittens who were very friendly, and one slightly older tabby who was as timid as a field mouse. Once we got her out of the enclosure though she was smoochy as a smoochy thing – so I had my winner (plus, she was the only girl – and I have only ever had girl cats. What can I say – I am a creature of habit). Her Animates name was Rocket – because apparently the day she arrived she tried to rocket out of the store pronto. But no – Rocket she was not to remain – she is now Katniss Rocket Rodger (though honestly, given the way she meows when food is around she would definitely not win at the Hunger Games…).

I brought her back home, and as she took up residence under the couch I suddenly had a crisis of confidence. It hit home that this thing was relying on me now – to look after it, feed it, clean up after it. I have had a not insignificant number of years having only myself to look after – and even that is a struggle sometimes! What was I thinking taking something else under my wing? Even my plants die! But, as she gained her confidence and then started purring and climbing up to sit on my clavicle (her favourite position apparently) I thought – maybe I can handle this after all. As with all new additions though – all the advice in the world can’t prepare you for everything. I thought I had cat proofed my house – but quickly had to relocate various decorative ornaments and fairy lights which she determined were her playthings. I also had delusions of partitioning off the lounge and keeping her off the couch (my favourite piece of furniture in the world) but that lasted all of five minutes. I like to think I am a realist rather than a push over though 😉

Now we are well and truly happily co-habituating, though I am looking forward to releasing her into the outdoors so I don’t have to deal with her very smelly code browns on a daily basis (my sister finds it hilarious that now it is me telling poo stories about my cat rather than her about her son). We haven’t quite got our routines in sync yet – my going to bed time tends to coincide with her ‘running around the house like I took a tab of ecstasy’ time, and she hasn’t quite got the idea that walking over my face at 3am is not a good idea. She also doesn’t get that sometimes I need to focus on other things rather than her. She has resorted to biting my iphone when I dare use it instead of pat her, and just now she launched herself onto my shoulder mid-blog writing. But, for the most part, she is a very welcome addition to my home.

It did get me thinking though – if only choosing a human partner was as easy as choosing a cat partner?!? Well, for a start the cat doesn’t really have much of a choice in whether they go home with you – they really just have to. And once they are there – assuming you feed them, pat them, and play with them a decent amount – you are golden. They shouldn’t be running off to find greener pastures anytime soon (though obviously the fact she is still house bound prevents that – I doubt a boyfriend would put up with such treatment). They don’t have some mysterious criteria they are measuring you against which will suddenly make them declare they are just not that into you.  And the other great thing is that they generally like, and are liked by, all of your family and friends – even if they do spend the first half an hour hiding under the couch (again, if a boyfriend did that not only would he be incredibly small but also incredibly odd…).   To be clear though – I am not using this as an opportunity to declare myself a crazy cat lady – I am not crazy (well, I am but in an endearing sort of way…) and I only have one cat who so far isn’t ruling my life. And – as frustrating and soul destroying as it can be, I am not giving up my man search in favour of pouring my affections onto my new cat. Sorry Katniss, but my five year plan includes both a dog and a man – so make the most of my sole attentions while you can get them 😉

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