WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO:
We have been busy helping Zoe run lines for her Christmas production so her cousin cats from across the sea have volunteered to stand in for her this week:
Hello gentle readers,
The cousin cats have asked me (Auntie Hanne) to do the actual writing as they are afraid they will build up calluses on their tender paws if they type it themselves.
Deep in midsummer, three years past, when the boisterous roses bloomed and the sweet peas twined, a grey cat appeared in the garden. Like a princess bereft of crown or throne she walked aristocratically among us with paws turned out like a ballerina, grey sails ears billowing, and a ridiculously long tail. She sat by us in the dark night as we roasted marshmallows over the fire and wreathed about our legs the next morning as we drank our coffee outside at the adirondack chairs.
Aylam (my son) to gave her water, but before taking a single sip she ran back to Aylam, placed her forepaws delicately on his leg and gazed into his eyes with a kitty thank you and then did the same to me before drinking. The manners of a princess,
I do not want another cat, I murmured
Later that day as I sat on the sun warmed steps with Livy (my daughter) and the cat, Liv said “Aylam named her, she has a name now. Her name is Nymeria.” Once named a cat can not be turned away. She was our cat now. And that is how Nymeria Gloves came to live with us. Her full name is Nymeria Jihadi Gloves. We call alternately Nim Chow (spring roll), Nimbus 2000 (Harry Potter). Nim-skull, Nym-compoop. How she suffers with us Cretans.
In the depths of last year’s winter I dreamt a dream of a fluffy white cat, named Lemon-drop. This dream was so mundane that when I awoke I had a yearning for a new cat. Learning that black cats are the most often euthanized in shelters I only looked at black cats. Olivia expressed a strong desire for a Maine Coon cat, the king of cats in size and spirit (with a princess cat among us already this made sense).
I received a call late one night from a cat-foster-mom, explaining about a local cat that was in dire need of adoption. He was a 4 month old, black (✓), part Maine Coon (✓) but completely feral kitten who had been in two foster homes but had not tamed up in the least. His sibling had been adopted but he was as wild as the day he was brought in. They were at their wit’s end and were considering euthanizing him or setting him free. She begged me to give him a chance. How could I say no?
The kids pow-wowed and came up with the name Dimitri Smirnoff Stalin.
We followed taming protocol, swaddling him when out of the kennel, he spit and snarled and when a paw was freed, drew blood. After a week he began to tentatively purr, after 2 weeks he began to groom both himself and me, after a month he played with a toy while we held him 1/2 swaddled, after 2 months he no longer cowered and hid when I opened the kennel but leapt to my shoulder and nuzzled my chest.
He roams the house freely now but is still a ‘fraidy cat when it comes to noise and movement. His favorite spot is on my shoulder and he meows enticingly to get me to bend over so that he can leap into my arms begging to be brushed.
He has even morphed into a right good cup holder.
Kittens less than eight weeks old, even though born to a feral mother, can usually be socialized within a matter of days. Beyond that age, socialization becomes a longer and more uncertain process with each passing week. After reaching four months old, a kitten will likely retain some typical feral characteristics for the rest of his life, such as fear of strangers or change.