One Month with Oscar & Maya

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So it’s been just over a month since Oscar and Maya moved in. We’ve got to know each other over the course of that time, and we now have a fairly decent communication system in place which consists of them scratching at the fridge (food please), them scratching at the door (attention please) and them scratching at the window (FREE USSSS!). As brother and sister, I have to say their personalities balance each other out quite well.

For example, Oscar enjoys waking me up with vigorous face licking (which is both quite painful and also the most exfoliating experience I have ever had), but likes his own space when he goes for a nap. Maya, on the other hand, prefers to act as a sneak-attack alarm clock in the morning, but prefers to snooze while snuggling with humans.

Oscar lives in a perpetual state of wide-eyed innocence, finds many things confusing, and often acts in ways that are not only unpredictable but also completely illogical. Maya is sensible and sharp as a tack; her every action is both deliberate and based on common sense, so her behaviour is generally predictable.

Oscar is a picky eater with intolerant tastebuds and a delicate stomach.

Maya eats like she’s been marooned at sea without food or drink for nine days.

Together, they rule the apartment in the form of a boisterous but benign dual dictatorship. They may only have been here a month, but they are learning at a rapid pace. Here are some of the things they’ve learned in one short month:

Some things cannot be explained

Certain things are a mystery and will always remain that way. For example, the toilet cistern. When the human flushes the toilet, where does the water go? What is that gurgling noise? Inquiring minds (Oscar’s) want to know.

 

oscar maya investigating toilet sounds

Trust No-onething

Obviously the hoover should be avoided at all costs, but there are other objects in the house that look innocuous but later turn out to be possessed by demon energy. The hairdryer is one such object. Trust nothing until you have seen it come to life and heard whether or not it roars with the voices of ten thousand angry beasts.

 

oscar and maya cardboard box

Rules are made to be if not broken then at least challenged

The human says a lot of things. Sometimes the human says things like “GET DOWN OFF THE TABLE!” and “STOP CLIMBING THE CHAIRS!” Remember this is ‘your life, live it however you wanna,’ as Eminem once said. You do you. If that means practicing your bouldering on the dining room chairs, go for it.

 

oscar maya climbing chairs

All objects have special feline functions

The human thinks it is a cardboard box, but actually it is a battlestation. The human thinks it is a curtain but in fact it is an invisibility cloak. The human thinks it is a paper bag, but it is really a costume for our upcoming theatrical production of CATS The Musical.

 

oscar maya paper bag costume

 

 

So here we are, a month in and we’re all learning lessons!

They’re starting to really trust me, and coincidentally we’re coming right up to the time when I need to take them to the vet to be neutered and spayed, so I’m sure all that trust will need rebuilding in pretty short order after it is blown to smithereens by the veterinary surgeon’s scalpel…

But for now, it’s good.

We’re good.

 

Oscar Maya hanging out

 

T&E (Tired and Emotional)

kitten biting laptop

Well I have to say…

They’re no Lenny.

They’re better than Lenny, obviously, but Lenny was chill. He minded his own business and kept himself to himself. He fed himself, watered himself, and on the rare occasion that we ran into each other, we would both stop in surprise, as if we’d forgotten the other even lived in the apartment. On the last day, he waved goodbye with a single antenna and I nodded my head in acknowledgement. It was a civil arrangement; a cool but not unfriendly relationship.

Thing 1 and Thing 2  (their names are not yet decided) are small, furry, projectile missiles that enjoy biting hair, toes, curtains, shoelaces, faces, and each other. They frequently attack thin air. They need to be fed four times a day (FOUR!), and Thing 1 tries to eat both bowls at once. They are noiseless ninjas, appearing underfoot without so much as a meow of warning, so that you live in a constant state of shredded nerves from the possibility of standing on one by mistake. They live in a single room for the time being, but have recently become aware that there is a wider world beyond the door and Thing 1 has made about 47385 escape attempts so far. Thing 2, more cautious by nature, hangs back and watches his sister volunteer as tribute with a shocked look on his face. Neither of them speak English, and they have a particularly limited understanding of the word ‘No.’

They are small, and soft, and Thing 2 is more photogenic than I could ever be (Thing 1 doesn’t stay still long enough.

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“fvgh).“kiiiiiiiiiii,” says Thing 2, as he pads his way across my keyboard.

Still, last night, after so many months of anticipation and such high expectations of how I would feel once they arrived (LOVE, obviously – the same kind of love I had for my cat that passed away last year)… I found myself feeling strangely low. I didn’t feel the unconditional love I was expecting to feel. I didn’t feel instant, uncomplicated happiness. Instead I felt slightly frightened and a bit overwhelmed. I started to panic on the inside. As I looked at their dark little faces, watching me with wide blue eyes, I felt a crushing sense of responsibility.

kittens ragdoll

“I might have to keep you safe for twenty years,” I told them in a desperate whisper at about 2am. “Can I do that?! I don’t even know if I can do that!”

They stared silently. Thing 2 blinked.

“I mean, every house plant I’ve had has died. That’s why they’re all artificial now. Did you notice? They’re all plastic!”

Thing 2 yawned and flopped down on his side. Thing 1 started to climb up the leg of my jeans, a mad look in her eyes. I peeled her from my thigh and sat down on the bed. A tear rolled down my face and I wondered if I was actually losing it completely.

“I had a cat before, you see,” I told them. “He was the best cat – my little man – and last year he was put down. So you have… really big paws to fill. You guys are really cute, and I like you a lot, but you’re baby strangers. I don’t know you yet, and you don’t know me, and there are two of you, and there’s only one of me, and you’re all over the place, and I only have a single set of eyeballs and they both point in one direction, and I’m feeling very overwhelmed and tired and I just… I just need you to work with me and give me a bit of time. Okay?”

As I spoke, Thing 1 and Thing 2 sat up straight, staring at me solemnly. Then Thing 1 approached me and curled up against my side, and Thing 2 padded straight up to my face and reached up to lick my nose.

I petted them and they purred.

I googled it then and found that it’s actually quite a common thing. Apparently, when expectations are (consciously or subconsciously) very high, you can get a sort of post-adoption depression when everything is suddenly REAL LIFE and you really truly internalise the fact that you are now responsible for two kamikaze floofballs for almost as long as it takes to pay off a mortgage, and you will have to get to know each other a bit before you can realistically expect to have the same kind of bond you had with your 16 year old domestic shorthair family pet.

As I write this, they are asleep beside me; two stretched out little snuffleupagii.

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Although they clearly need a few more English lessons, they certainly seemed to understand my rising panic last night. Since our heart-to-heart, they’ve been very affectionate and have stopped biting my hands (as much). The number of attempted escapes has decreased dramatically, and Thing 1 has let me take a photo or two.

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I’m feeling much better today. I have the gruesome twosome booked in for a vet visit tomorrow, I’ve made them an Instagram account so as not to spam my own with pictures of their fuzzy faces, and I am no longer in imminent danger of having a meltdown.

Amazing what a few hours of sleep can do!

Ragdoll kitten

 

 

 

The Handover

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This morning I got up at 4.45am, a time that I’m sure you’ll agree should be exclusively reserved for extenuating circumstances and trips to the airport.

This was an extenuating circumstance.

My friend and I, bleary-eyed, slumped into the car and headed off on a two hour drive to Rosslare Port, where we drove straight onto the waiting ferry for Wales. Two cold hash browns, four badly poached eggs and three hours of interrupted napping later we finally arrived on the shores of Pembroke, Wales. We drove off the ferry, swung back around to the departures terminal, and waited for our contact to meet us at the agreed location.

She arrived right on time in a large silver SUV. Parking alongside us, she initiated the handover. When it was done, we said our goodbyes and drove around to the line for the ferry. As we were waved back on, the cardeck hand looked in the window and burst out laughing. He must not have been used to people getting off the ferry only to get right back on again without so much as having had lunch.

“You two again! Back already?!”

We left the precious cargo on the back seat, covered in a nondescript grey blanket. A fretful four hours passed, with more bad food and what seemed like thousands of screaming children*.

As we neared land, we anxiously milled around the large metal door to the car deck with other preoccupied passengers. The door swung open and we dashed down to the car to check on the cargo. Two hours later we arrived back home; we were exhausted but excited. We’d made it. We were home. All of us.

Which is to say that today, two kittens joined the household. They are small, and soft, and Welsh. They are excellent travelers and very well behaved. One of them purrs like a small furry engine. The other thinks zippers are fascinating. They will be photographed extensively over the next few days, but for now…

This post has been brought to you by three hours of sleep and a coffee.

Ragdoll kitten wales

*Apparently ferries are a populated paradise for anyone from the ages of 2 up to 7. Bonus points for screaming incoherently about ninja ballet and superpowers that are arbitrarily bestowed and just as arbitrarily rescinded.