The Pets Doc

Dr. Kevin Watkins, DVM

812-273-1803

Kittens, Kittens Everywhere!!! – Life is purfect in our ‘no-dog world’

Every cloud has a silver lining and, as with any storm, the sad events our family went through this summer are past. For the past few months, our newest family members – Cat’n Jack, Blossom and Wally – have entertained us beyond belief, and it has been very interesting to watch each feline personality develop.

When adopting a kitten, my philosophy has always been, and remains, that two are better than one. They entertain each other, they become friends, hang out, sleep together and keep each other from becoming bored and destructive.

Three has been a bit of a challenge, but only inasmuch as the litter box must be changed many times a day, so I don’t recommend it for the faint of heart or uninitiated. But they have certainly been a salve for our saddened hearts.

As with any cat colony, and we certainly have one with a current head count of seven (not including the strays that forage in the food bowl outside), each feline tries to define his status and rank among the others. Blossom seems content to let the boys eat first and has no aspirations of being Alpha female. She prefers to leave that status to Esmie, who has been around for quite some time.

Esmie only tolerates kittens and looks at us with utter disbelief and disgust each time a new one shows up in her cushy world. Surprisingly, Esmie seems to like young Blossom, and has even allowed noses to touch and some grooming to take place. She mostly hisses at Jack and Wally, who are just too rambunctious in her opinion.

Wally has food bowl issues. We don’t know why. We’ve had him since he was 6 weeks old, and we know that he has never gone more than a few hours without food. Maybe he had too many littermates or something. Wally growls like he is starved and tries to cover the entire plate of food with his body, leaving Jack and Blossom to fend for themselves after he has satiated himself. He is a chow hound, so to speak, and already shaped like a pear.

Jack seems to have assumed Alpha male status among the house kitties, and he is very full of himself. His favorite place to hang out is on my lap or right shoulder, and he is the most affectionate of the three. He gives us kitty “kisses” and, if you’ve never had a cat, you might be alarmed the first time this happens. Cats “kiss” by lightly placing their teeth on you. Kitty kisses are never uncomfortable or painful and do not involve claws. It’s just a light, little “bite” that means “I really like you,” and is usually accompanied by a wet nose rubbed affectionately up your face. If you can stand their breath, it’s really not too bad.

One of the kittens’ favorite games is “chase.” This usually takes place as soon as it is time for us humans to go to sleep. We have a long hallway in our house that ends at our bedroom door and the other at the slippery kitchen floor. You can imagine the ruckus they make. We joke that they sound like a herd of tiny elephants. Carl Sandburg’s poem, “Fog,” says that it rolls in on little cat’s feet. Clearly, he never had three kittens. Personally, I love it.

Since Christmas is just around the corner, I’m going to make my annual plug for the many homeless animals waiting at animal shelters all over the country. If you are going to adopt a pet this Christmas, check out your local Humane Society or animal shelter, and if you are going to adopt one kitten, you should really consider two. It’s just more fun than anyone ought to have. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

Margo Watkins, Pet Behavior Counselor

Pawsitive Pet Behavior Blog