Meet Bruce, our newest addition. I don't even know how it all came about. It was a typical slow starting Saturday morning. Me, the wife and housemate were all eating McDonald's breakfast wraps. I asked for ketchup, which, I'll admit, I never do. What can I say? I was feeling whimsical and edgy at the same time, so I went with it and had ketchup on my eggs -much to everyone's surprise. After the initial shock wore off, we were discussing "the house" plans.
Jem and I found a very perfect house, in very perfect location, for a not-so perfect-yet do-able price, around the corner from where we are and the builder accepted our offer and the mortgage process is underway. So, it became official and we've signed our agreements with the seller. We've been really excited about it, and I'm pretty sure housemate Hazel is ready to take back her place after almost 3 years of us living here, fun as it's been. Any how, the talk turned to the cats, and how we all wondered if Hazel's personable, social cat, Lucy, would be lonely without our constant presence and Jem's cat, Ollie, who's been a part of Lucy's life since they were 8 weeks old. We were talking about different breeds, if we thought she would like a new sibling to have around, to play with, in our absence. Of course, ever the internet goddess, my wife immediately begins Googling cat breeder sites, and different breeds of kittens. She then said, "What about you, Den, don't you want a cat of your own?" before I could answer, she says, "What kind would you want?" I just shrugged and said, "I don't know, but something colorful, like with browns, white, black and a little pink nose." Within seconds, she turns her laptop to me, and goes, "Like this?" and shows me a picture of a 9 week old kitten, that was just posted an hour ago by a breeder in Chessington, less than 15 minutes away. The picture was exactly what I described. I fell in love instantly. I knew she could tell, because she was passing the phone number to Hazel. All of the sudden, we were tossing the McDonald's bag in the trash, changing clothes, and going to pick up a kitten. "What will you name him?" Jem asked. Without any hesitation, and I still don't have a clue as to why it jumped into my mind, I said "Bruce."
By 1pm, we had met the breeder, a lovely woman named Mel with the most stunning, well-taken care of cats I've seen. She was informative, professional, helpful and thoughtful, as she bagged up plenty of starter food, wrote down the brands he was on, where we could purchase it, the litter he was used to, his info sheet, stats, and her email & phone number, should we have any questions. By 2pm, I was cuddling this precious little nugget in the backseat of Hazel's car as we made our way home. His little purr-motor was running non-stop and he snuggled close and meowed little baby meows from time to time as his tiny paws clutched my shirt.
I will whole heartedly admit that we didn't think this thing through at all, so when we walked in the house, it was like my brain froze as fast as Lucy & Ollie did, in their tracks, when they saw me holding him. Lucy seemed particularly bothered him, and at that moment, it was apparent she wasn't up for having another cat around.
All of the sudden, I was completely aware that we hadn't kitten proofed anything, we hadn't thought about where his litter & food would be, what the sleeping arrangements would be, or what to do, in general, about anything regarding this little guy. My heart was racing as fast as Bruce's. I didn't want to let him go or set him down, or anything. The other cats were totally not digging Bruce at all. Ollie hissed, Lucy growled, they wouldn't go near me...or him. When I finally set him down, I stayed close to be sure he didn't playfully charge them, since their knickers were in a complete twist over him. He ate his kibbles, he pooped in the big boy potty (the adult cat's litter box), he napped, he explored, he played with ping pong balls and feather toys until he was exhausted. We put his little boy litter box in our bedroom with dry food & water. Jem thought it would be a good idea if she slept in the guest room with the door open so Lucy & Ollie could go in with her, and Bruce and I would be closed off in the bedroom so they couldn't stalk him in his sleep or better yet, so Bruce wouldn't go on any scary big-house expeditions in the night. I was a little nervous about if he would be up all night, getting into all sorts of cracks & crevices, playing, trying to leap off the bed. Could he get up? Could he get down? Would he know where the food & water are, could he see where the litter box was? I was so highly stressed, I thought I would never unwind but by 11pm, after the two of us watched a little "Sex And The City" we fell asleep. He slept next to me for 8 solid hours, until 7am. I woke up a few times and he was sprawled out sound asleep. Total bliss! A champion sleeper! I was so proud of him. What is it about a sleeping kitten that makes you all zen-like and melty inside no matter what your mood was?
The next day, Sunday, he was adjusting well, and we all took turns playing with him, and taking a million pictures, posting his cuteness all over Facebook, and texting pictures to our friends & family.
The other cats were still on high newbie alert. But, the hissing and growling had ceased and now it was just a mutual curiosity. The night went okay. He was up a bit later, played a bit longer, slept a little less, and took a big kitty poo in the little litter box, making me a prisoner to the stink that was so bad I had to open the windows and turn on the fan. How can something so small and cute produce such a god awful shit?!
Monday, he was back at it, playing hard and getting a bit more brave with the other cats. They were letting him get a bit closer, they were less flinchy and seemed to relax a bit more. He even snuck into their food and had some grown up Maine Coon nuggets, which we all thought was soooooo cute, ("What a big boy! Eating the big boy food!") until Tuesday night. Apparently, the grown up food didn't mix with the kitty food, and poor Bruce ended up with a major case of diarrhoea and then began a vom-a-rama that didn't stop until 2:30am. The room smelled like a old folks home in August. I thought about stuffing tampons up my nose, but went with my better judgement, knowing myself, I'd forget about them and if we ended up at the Vet office, I'd look like an idiot.
I was in total panic mode, but on the plus side, he was drinking water, and playing, and sleeping between bouts of squirts and puke. I had been Viber messaging with my Mom about it, and she kept saying, "Poor little guy..." I didn't want to wake up Jem or Hazel because there really wasn't anything they would be able to do that I wasn't doing already, and they both had early starts Wednesday morning. After his last wicked bout, he took a drink of water, and fell asleep near my arm til 6:15am.
This morning, Bruce seems a little better. No vomiting. Drinking lots of water, eating a little bit of HIS OWN food and napping. He's still having runny, loud, explosive squirty shits, but not nearly as bad as last night. He's pretty beat, but he's coming around.
Me? I'm fucking exhausted. Close to delirious from lack of sleep but with enough presence of mind to blog about it, and email my mother this update:
Wet poo. I can't even describe how bad his shits stink. I haven't gagged this much since I lived with Chuck. He finally had some dry kitty kibbles but I think because he's teething it's hard for him to chew them, so I added a little water to the kibbies to make them soggy, and he had those, and then took another squirty poo complete with farts. I feel so bad for him. This has got to be like when a human eats bad shrimp. I think he even gets the sweats when he sleeps because he constantly moves to a cooler spot and falls right back to sleep. He sleeps so hard after every....evacuation. Yeah, this is like a "bad chinese food" night for him.
Thankfully, he's playing, running, jumping, and drinking & eating enough when he is awake to make me assume it's not serious. He's not dehydrated or lethargic. I'm pretty sure it's from him eating Lucy & Ollie's grown up food yesterday. He hasn't gotten into anything else, and we haven't switched his kitten food from what he was getting with the breeder, so that's got to be it. Lucy has been nicer to him today- she's let him get right up close to her and she hasn't flinched. Same with Ollie. He's not freaked at all anymore. This morning I was telling Jem about my night as the kitty whisperer. I said, "Well, fortunately, the cleaning lady mistakenly left a whole package of cleaning floor wipes upstairs in the bedroom, so I was on top of it immediately with 99.9% bacteria-killing wipes in hand the first 2 times he puked and the 3rd time, he must not have known what end it was going to come out, so he was in the litter box, and just vomited right in it. ....Okay, well..enjoy your toast & tea."
It's just me & the cat gang here today by ourselves. He's asleep again, Lucy is asleep on the back of the sofa and Ollie is asleep up in the back bedroom by the window at the foot of the bed. I decided I'm going to tell my Stateside cats, Kiwi & Gunther that they have a long lost little brother who is away at British Boarding School. Something tells me that they couldn't care less because they love it with Donna & Deb and their new friends.
Ugh, Mom, If you looked around at this scene right now, you would think I had three kids- two teenagers that do nothing all day but sleep and eat, and a toddler: toys all over the living room, anything remotely dangerous is tucked up or stored up high, three different bowls of half eaten food on the kitchen floor, cat toy feathers floating in the air and me...? I'm a complete mess- no shower, my hair looks like someone let off a firecracker in it, I'm in the same jeans as yesterday and the shirt I slept in, just barely folded a load of clean clothes from the dryer that have been in there since yesterday, I had a half a cup of coffee because that was all I could manage. I have half-written emails up on my laptop that I haven't finished, and I'm pretty sure I have a tiny bit of baby kitty poo on my slipper. I swear to god, I don't know how mothers do it. I was trying to empty the dishwasher but had to stop because Bruce kept wanting to jump in it every time I opened the door while Lucy stood there watching, like, "Pfffft. Don't look at me. YOU wanted him."
I tried calling you but got your voicemail ....Where are you? I need to vent more.
Ok, I'm going to take advantage of this round of cat naps and get some more laundry done and everything else that's been on hold since 7am. I'll try you again in a little bit. I can't remember if you said you had another Dr appt today because my brain is fried from lack of sleep.
I love you, Mommy. I don't know how you did this. xoxo -- Denise
Ok, cat lovers, that's my story of the ups & downs of kitten motherhood....like any good lesbian, there will be a ton of pictures. .......haaa, Zen-like and melty...... Until next time....