…hello, mischievous adult cat!
A twinge of nostalgic sadness mixes with joy as I acknowledge that little Monty turns his back on kitten-hood today. He’s one year old! He’ll be the last kitten, at least for a very long time.
We first met when he was caged in an extremely disturbing impound facility with two other kittens: one a sibling and the other, a kitten who was a couple of weeks older than Monty and his grey sister. Malnourishment had not robbed the three of their vocal capacity. If I could have ignored the pleading small faces, I could not ignore their demands to be removed to better quarters.
The little sister did not make it. She was so very weak and was failing when I took her to the vet to be euthanized. But Monty, scrawny, bony, sparse of fur, had a strong vibrant spirit that kept him going. I worried about him, and the vet was concerned. “He’s not out of the woods”, she said. His appetite was voracious but his four-week old frame did not seem to be using the nutrition he was getting at my house. It took a long time for him to start developing that sturdy little kitten body that would carry him through many adventures. It took a glacially long time for his fur to fill in so he would look glossy and sleek.
At first, I carried him around in my hand, or put him in a cat carrier on the kitchen counter so he could see me and be a part of the household. I was afraid the other four foster kittens were too big and consequently too rough for this tiny bold boy. After two or three weeks, he was able to hang around with the others, but he was always the little kid brother who tagged along with great good nature and high hopes, but never could quite catch up with the bigger kids.
When the time came to adopt him out, I couldn’t go through with it. I had carried him along from spindly kitten of uncertain longevity to a spunky, curious and entertaining young cat. I would have missed him too much if he had left, but more crucially, I was not able to cope with more goodbyes after losing Daisy the German shepherd and Samantha, the non-representative torti**, exactly six weeks apart last winter.
So, Monty and his elder cat-brother Marlowe, another black feline, are going to live their lives out with me. I’m a little wistful about having no more kittens, but I’ve vowed that no more will come into my house until Monty is twelve or so. I have a horrible habit of adopting my foster kittens, and now my house is full. There is no more room at this inn.
Meanwhile, Monty entertains. Instead of playing with a catnip mouse, he plays with the mouse and with the rungs of the kitchen chair. Rather than push the ball-in the-circle like every other cat I’ve ever met, he plays with the plastic circle. He likes to stir things up, make them more challenging and more fun.
Welcome to adulthood, Monty. I suspect that your kitten antics are going to be a part of you for a long time. Being an adult is just a number, anyway, and I’ve never let numbers or age dictate my behavior. Why should you?
**Non-represtentative torti: tortoiseshell cat. Tortis are black cats with beige, rust, and tan highlights. They are known in the cat world for being difficult, for having ‘torti-tude’. In a delightful case of false advertising, through the nineteen and a half years of her life, Samantha never showed even a smidgeon of the torti personality, but was always sweet, accepting and gentle; thus she was highly non-representative of her type.