After we lost Manon we immediately knew we were going to get kittens, but we decided to wait a bit until we were more ready to move forward. That time was two weeks ago when the shelters across the US had a free adoption weekend. We adopted Manon out of the Humane Society Silicon Valley shelter 18 years ago, and so we went to one of their satellite adoption locations to look for our new cats.
We got there at 10AM, when they were supposed to be open, but it turns out people were lining up starting at 7 so they opened early. They were full of families with a line out the door. Overall we waited about 90 minutes to get in and work with and select the kittens we wanted.
The staff was clearly stressed by the number of people they were dealing with, but they did an awesome job and kept everything moving forward with a minimum of chaos. Laurie was hoping for another calico, but they were all gone by the time we were able to make selections. To be honest, I was thinking about something not so similar to Manon, so I wasn’t terribly disappointed about it, and I’d seen a couple of kittens in the same cage that looked interesting to me.
We ended up adopting those two, named by the shelter Chance and Hunter. We’ve since changed Chance’s name to Buster.
It looks like the free adoption weekend was a huge success. I saw a number put out by the humane organizations that over 35,000 kittens went home that weekend. The place we were at was fairly small, and when we arrived had about 50 kittens to adopt (plus some bunnies and a couple of hamsters). When we left, they had 3-4 kittens left and the bunnies. Everyone else went home in about 2 and a half hours.
It turns out the two kittens we chose were bonded and great friends — not brothers, but had become inseparable. The shelter people were thrilled to hear we’d chosen both and wanted the pair, since they really didn’t want them broken up. It was pretty clear to me from the start they were close friends and that made it easier to decide to adopt them. Two kittens means they can be with each other and entertain each other, reducing their dependance on their humans. They are never far away, though.
This week we got them off to our vet for an initial checkup and their rabies shots. The best guess on their age is 15 weeks, with a birth date for each around 5/15. Our vet gave them clean bills of health and we discussed their history and what to expect with each.
One thing we didn’t take into consideration: kittens have a lot more energy than an 18 year old cat. We’re adjusting to that, and it’s (mostly) awesome. Like kittens do, they have this tendency to run around like crazy, then plop down somewhere and immediately nap, like a switch was flipped.
Originally we’d prepped a room for them that was cloistered off from the house to give them a safe space and keep them out of the rest of the house until they had gotten a bit comfortable and proven their housebreaking. Whoever did their fostering did an awesome job on the latter, not a single mistake. The safety gates holding them into the safe room lasted four hours, though, at which point they went over one and through the other and came out to start exploring. It took them overnight to decide we weren’t going to hurt them and start coming over for hesitant petting and snuggling. And within about two or three days, the hesitance was completely gone.
And boy, has it improved my mood to have the kittens around here. Some of the things going on around the country had gotten me into a funk and made it really hard to concentrate on things like writing. The kittens have fixed that, since it seems to be hard to be in a funk when someone’s sitting on your shoulder chewing your earlobe while another cat is sitting on your keyboard and purring.
I am glad we did it when we did, and I’m just thrilled at the kids we’ve brought into our home.
And to thank them, I’ve sent along another donation to HSSV since we got them for free. We’ve supported them on and off for years and they’re a very well run organization, so they deserve your support, and if you’ve in the greater Silicon Valley area and looking for an animal, checking out their main shelter in Milpitas or one of their satellite adoption centers around the southern Bay Area will lead you towards some nice, well-treated friends.
Hunter is a dark grey shorthair with very soft fur and the most fascinating golden eyes. At first glance he looks very much like a Russian Blue. At second and third glance, too. Our vet agrees and thinks there’s at least a bit of that genetic background in him.
Hunter is a watcher and a cuddler. He tends to hang back a bit and watch the situation, but when you sit down, he’s in your lap purring (and napping). He’s also the more frequent vocalizer and he chirps and meows a fair bit. He seems to be pretty intelligent and a bit headstrong (he’ll fit in well in this family), and is very affectionate. He was about 4 pounds at the vet, and she expects him to end up around 10 pounds, give or take.
Our vet has warned us that the Russian Blue fur might make Hunter the bigger supplier of hairballs; shorthair or no, that Russian Blue fur evidently generates many of them.
Buster was officially a shorthair grey tiger, but even in the last couple of weeks we can see his coat filling out and getting longer. At the least it looks to be a medium length, and it’ll be interesting to see how it grows out. The first thing I noticed about him were the hair tufts in and across the ears, which I immediately recognized as the sort of thing you’d find in a Maine Coon. It turns out he has hair between the toes as well, and his patterns are quite similar.
This makes him look very much like our other cat, Archie, that we lost a few years ago. Archie, a feral we adopted and fostered out of our back yard, could have passed in any cat show for a full bred Maine Coon, including his size. Our vet thinks there’s at least some Maine Coon in Buster, but time will tell how fully it’ll express itself. The current thought is he’s going to be bigger than Hunter (he’s already a pound more at the same age), so 12 pounds? And if the Maine Coon more fully expresses, that could go to 15.
Buster is the explorer. He was the first over the safety gates, the first under the bed, the first into the garage, the first to discover the dishwasher to explore, the first… He’s everywhere. He’s extremely friendly but much less of a lap cat; sit down on the couch and he’ll lie down next to you and nap; sit down in the chair and you’ll find him near it but not on you. He is an extremely loud and frequent purring cat, you can hear him fire up as you reach to pick him up.
He’s also an intelligent cat. He was the first to discover Tatiana, and after the first time she expressed her displeasure at their existence, both have decided she’s okay and harmless and we keep finding them looking for spilled bird food to eat. Of course. Tatiana’s not terribly thrilled, and as always, we’re never leaving her out of the cage unsupervised.
Buster’s current fascination is the ceiling fan in my office, which is out of reach, fortunately, but he’s decided if he can only get to the top of the floor lamp and stretch out really far from there, he can reach it. He’s currently not quite big enough, but I’m starting to think I may need to move the lamp if he doesn’t move out of this phase in a few weeks.
Getting used to the kids
The two of them now have run of the house with some exceptions. We’re trying to keep them out of the garage, not all that successfully. They are showing great interest in exploring outside, which we’re trying to discourage (our cats are inside only). They are growing like weeds (a pound each in the ten days from adoption to the vet visit) and eating like crazy, and currently are driving us crazy with their interest in people food, but we’re slowly convincing them that’s not an option. it only takes us 3-4 removals from the table before they stop trying (until we turn our back).
And they really are inseparable: if one doesn’t know where the other is, he goes off looking for them and making noise about it. They aren’t blood related, but they act like bonded brothers. The shelter staff told us about them: they both were up for adoption with siblings, and one day Hunter’s sister was adopted out. Hunter then decided to crawl up the shelter volunteer and hopped into the cage above his, where Buster and his brother were, and effectively moved in. Since everyone was getting along, the shelter let it happen. A bit later, Buster’s brother was adopted out, and the two of them have been together and inseparable since.
Which makes me really happy we were able to get the pair.
By the way, if you adopt in two cats that are medium and dark grey, and they want to go off into a quiet corner somewhere to take a nap, good luck finding them. just saying.
Before we adopted Manon, we almost adopted a Russian Blue, but the cat made it clear it was only interested in being an only cat. We gave it up to HSSV and they found it a nice home as an only pet, where I was told it did fine. So I have to admit I’m happy to have another chance with that breed (or a cat that looks like it); and whether or not Buster ever expresses his full Maine Coon-ness, those ear tufts immediately reminded me of Archie and made we want to bring him home. That we were able to make a home for both and they were already bonded makes the adoption that much nicer for me.
And they seem to like it here, and like us, even if we won’t feed them our eggs in the morning. And from what I can tell, this adoption is working great for all involved.