Important Lessons in Kitten-Keeping…

12 Jul

So Holly moved in…  We got home, I opened the handbag (no poo-poo, no wee-wee) and she climbed out, looking a little lost and slightly confused at the sight of her new home.  My apartment is not big, but to a tiny animal roughly the same size as my hand I imagine it looked like the kitten equivalent of Berkshire.  She looked at me, at the bag, back at me and then promptly disappeared under the only piece of furniture which was too heavy to move – a solid corner table next to the couch.  And there she stayed for the next 8 hours.  Now, I know that kittens need time to adjust to their new homes, but in my head I’d just brought home my furry new-best-friend and she didn’t want to play.  I felt slightly disappointed, a bit of a failure but mostly terrified of what would happen when she finally decided to move.  And so commenced the longest day of my life.

Of course, I had visions of my fluffy kitten running around, chasing sparkly balls with bells inside and pieces of string before curling up on my lap and sleeping soundly, full of happy little kitten dreams about tasty fishies and shiny things.  I did not expect to spend the majority of our first day together lying flat on my stomach with my head under the couch whispering “Come on kitty, come out from there, please…”.  If any of my neighbours had seen me through the window, I imagine they would have immediately called the police to identify a dead body.  I put her litter tray next to the table, and her food and water, and even a toy.  But no – all she wanted to do was crouch in the corner andstare at me with those big blue eyes looking all teary and frightened.

Finally, she poked her tiny head out from under the table.  She took a few bites of her food, a few sips of her water, a few steps forward…  And promptly shit on the floor before running back to her corner.  Ok, so I didn’t expect her to be litter trained but if this was a sign of her opinion of me then we still had some way to go before we were the perfect duo from the Whiskas ad I had imagined.  I cleaned up her little present for me, disinfected the floor and then returned to my position under the couch.  I’m not sure if it was the excitement of the day, the sheer stress-induced exhaustion or the fumes from the cleaning products but at some point I must have drifted off.  Only for a few minutes, but when I came round – Holly was gone.  WHAAAAAT?!  Shit, oh shit, where’s the kitten?  Where’s the KITTEN?!?!  27 seconds of sheer panic followed before I finally located her, fast asleep, behind the couch.  If this was pet ownership I feared I had perhaps made the wrong move.  Surely having a child would have been a more sensible choice – after all, you just strap them into a basket / pram / chair and that’s where they stay, right?  Where’s the kitten equivalent of that??  A-ha!  The bathroom, yes, I should put her in the bathroom, it’s tiny in there, great idea.

Now, kittens may be small and cute but they are also incredibly fast, and quite violent, especially when they don’t really want to be picked up by a strange person who in their eyes is roughly the same shape and size as King Kong.  Attempting to retrieve her from behind the couch could only result in one thing – a serious injury, most likely to be mine – and it was at that point I received my first kitten bite.  Man, no-one tells you that these cute balls of fluff have mouths filled with hot knives and needles.  Several attempts and a few puncture wounds later, the fluffy terrorist was secured in the bathroom.

Which leads me back to the title of this post, and the fact that there are certain bad habits which you have to change when you get a pet.  Those little clear plastic tags that drop on the floor when you open a new packet of socks?  You have to pick those up and put them in the bin now.  The door to the washing machine?  That needs to remain tightly closed at all times.  The new pair of shoes which you leave on the floor when you get in from work?  Unless you want them to look like a pair of 80’s stockbroker style perforated brogues the following morning you’ll put them away in the cupboard.  Feeling slightly smug that the kitten was now in a place where she couldn’t cause too much trouble, I set about dressing my wounds, making a cup of coffee and doing the washing up.  Wondering how my little terrorist was getting on in the bathroom, I returned to take a peek through the glass door and caught sight of my tiny kitten perching precariously on the edge of the toilet seat, looking as though she was seriously contemplating a suicide jump into the water below.  Cue utter panic, and with the reflexes of a newly qualified ninja I swept her off the seat and onto the floor.  I’m not sure who was more shocked – I’ve never moved that quickly in my life and she certainly wasn’t expecting to be interrupted.  Thus one of my first lessons of kitten-keeping was learned:

You must – I repeat MUST – remember to put the toilet lid down.

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