Never have my kids ever been so excited about a birthday present that wasn’t for them!
In a moment of weakness (or lapse of judgement or perhaps both!) my husband agreed we could add a new kitten to our family for my birthday. We already have a ginger cat, George, who was about 2 when we got him about 7 years ago, and I have always wanted a kitten.
A few weeks ago, before my husband had a change of heart, I let it be known among my cat-loving friends that we were on the lookout for a kitten. I always thought I wanted a grey kitten/cat but while looking online with my daughters at cute kitten pics on Pinterest, I found myself really only drawn to the ginger ones.
A friend from church texted me last week to say that the mid-Antrim Animal Sanctuary had a ginger kitten. We rang and asked to have first refusal and that we would come and see him.
At the beginning of the week, with 3 kids in tow, I headed up to check out the kitten, who we were told had been temporarily named Garfield (the name we already had in mind ….. hardly an unusual name for a ginger cat….. but still!)
When we arrived there were about 7 black or black and white kittens in the kitten enclosure, one tabby and one wee ginger one. Of all the kittens, Garfield was probably the most shy and nervous. The black and white kittens were all over us, in complete contrast to Garfield. However, he gradually came round a wee bit after I lifted him up to a quiet window sill where he seemed to enjoy the peace and quiet, and enjoyed being stroked. We reluctantly left, and told the Animal Sanctuary we would go home and have a think and chat about it. Our main concern was if he was TOO quiet, and would he cope in our lively household, and especially with another cat already there.
We sought advice and reassurance, and decided to go for it – after all YOLO (You Only Live Once) or our alternative YOMO (You’re Only Middle-Aged Once!) so rang the sanctuary the following morning. They advised we would need to have our home assessed for suitability and they could visit in about 30 minutes or so! It is good to know they check out those wish to take home some of their animals …. but I was surprisingly nervous – what if we weren’t suitable?!! I was advised to phone after 2 to see if we had passed the inspection, but if all went well we could collect the kitten that very same afternoon.
Hoping it wouldn’t be in vain we headed to the pet shop to get the essentials “just in case”. While there I phoned the Sanctuary again, and they said they would ring me back shortly.
So there we were, stacking up the trolley for a kitten we might not even be allowed!
Here are the basics we bought
- A cat carrier
- A litter tray
- Food bows
- An igloo bed (if he is so shy he might be glad of somewhere to hide)
- A pen/cage – large enough for bed, food and litter tray, but to keep him contained until he was more settled, and somewhere he can be if he doesn’t get on so well with George.
- Cat litter that looked similar to the one the Animal Sanctuary were using
- Kitten dried food (similar to what he was used to)
All this for a kitten we might not even be deemed suitable to keep!
Finally the call came, we’d PASSED. A quick dash home to assemble the various bits and pieces, then we headed up to Antrim to collect our kitten – my birthday present (a week or two early)
When he was brought out to us, he didn’t even look that timid, and was peering all around to see what was going on. The same in the car on the way home, for most of the way he sat up in the carrier looking out.
Our plan is to keep him away from our cat George for a little while, until he gets more used to us. So for now he is in the dining room, where I usually work. Unsurprisingly I have been having LOTS more visits from the kids since the kitten moved in! He is definitely a lot less shy, and quite happy to explore the room. Fortunately he is already toilet trained, so we haven’t had any accidents to deal with, however as George always goes outside to “do his business” we usually don’t have to bother with litter trays, smells etc!
He settled down well last night in the pen, and I confess that when I woke at 5am I did go down to check on him – he was curled up and cosy.
Certainly the kids were MUCH keener to get up this morning to spend time with him!
The name ….. probably Garfield. There have been a few other suggestions, but probably sticking with Garfield.
For a change, all the photos in this post are taken on my Canon DSLR – yes, iPhone pics too – you can see those in my Instagram feed to the side of my blog
Finally, this evening as I write this post, he is curled up asleep like this:
Have you any kitten memories or stories to share? Or any tips? We may have had a cat for 5 years, but never one this small!