I adore kittens. They are cute, cuddly, rambunctious and full of surprises. They have boundless energy that constantly gets them into trouble. And they are precious little lumps of fur when they are sleeping. But I love kittens most when they get to the one-year mark. Each develops his or her own special purrsonality totally separate from that of kitten-hood. Yet, they still maintain the spunk and playfulness of that first year.
During the first year, they greet my announcements of “breakfast” and “dinner” with squeals and leaps into the air, shoving their elders out of the way in order to be the first two to each get their 1/7 of a can of wet food. Mauricio and Misty May, Giulietta and Fiona and Astrid and Lisbeth have all displayed this identical behavior.
Canned cat food had never been served to any of our kids. It was added to their diet when Steamer, in her senior years, lost her sense of smell and stopped eating. It is impossible to serve canned food to one out of seven cats and live to tell the tale. When Steamer passed, the remaining Kitties Blue not only wanted, but also demanded, their canned food. So, serving it still takes place morning and evening.
One of the first clues that kittens are growing out of their baby-stage is the inevitability that at least one of them will dismiss the wet food as inedible. It happened with Misty May, then Fiona and now Lisbeth. Misty May at most will nibble at her spoonful of food. Fiona will occasionally take a few small bites, but in the end, she always tries to bury it. In the last week, Lisbeth has been sniffing at it and then walking away as often as not. Of the two (Astrid and Lisbeth), Lisbeth was always the first to finish her portion so she could shove her head into the bowls of Giulietta, Fiona or Mauricio. So, she has surprised me with her recent refusals.
At one time we alternated among several flavors but now only serve one, Friskies Ocean White Fish and Tuna Classic Paté, as this seems to please the majority. If we still had other flavors to offer, maybe those who now shun this concoction would partake but then one or more of the others would not. And we refuse to dole out different flavors to different cats. Around here the only options are to take it or leave it for one of the others to gladly gobble up.
Mauricio & Misty May
But back on topic…around the time of their first birthday, even siblings who have been inseparable, always bathing each other and sleeping together, start to go their own ways. The good-hearted kitten wrestling can become a little violent with growling, hissing and hair pulling. Mauricio has his own particular technique. He lulls Misty May into a stupor by giving her a long and soothing bath and then attacks by biting her ear or neck. Then it is no-holds-barred, full-on war.
Fiona & Giulietta
Fiona and Giulietta, for some reason, have missed this stage and still remain snuggle buddies. On most days, they can be found spooning and bathing each other. (Update: These two remained close their entire lives. After Fiona passed, Giulietta never stopped grieving and missing her.)
Birthday Girls: Astrid & Lisbeth
Astrid and Lisbeth have shared as much snuggle and play time as the previous pairs; though, they are not biological sisters. But as most of the others, they usually go their separate ways now. As I write, Astrid is sleeping in Lily’s wooden dough bowl on the kitchen counter. (Lily is outside.) Lisbeth is in her favorite place: She’s sprawled on the deck railing behind the screen and adjacent to the bird feeder. The days of sleeping curled together seem to have officially ended.
Astrid is a little more physical and likes to instigate trouble. She enjoys swatting the tails of the others, springing from behind the shower curtain to frighten both cats and humans, running up behind Lisbeth and jumping on her back to start a chase and game of tag. Of course, her favorite pass-time is trying and managing to escape from the house.
Lisbeth prefers more individual pursuits. She enjoys getting into trouble by shredding mail and newspapers and shoving them off the counter to the floor; turning on I-Tunes while I’m typing; stealing pens, pencils, silverware, coins, rubber bands, bottle tops, etc. and pushing them beneath the kitchen rugs.
But, as of now, they both continue to be sweet and loving kitties with easy-going dispositions. I am anxious to see how their individual purrsonalities develop in the future.
Astrid and Lisbeth are the only two remaining Kitties Blue from this post. They really have nothing to do with each other anymore. Lisbeth spends the majority of her time in the dining room cat tree. Astrid enjoys the second level of the catio and our old upstairs bedroom. Unlike Lisbeth, she often comes in to our current bedroom to spend time with Dad Tom and me.
We also now serve a variety of flavors of of stinky goodness and both Astrid and Lisbeth gobble theirs up as long as they are of the paté variety.