My Kitten Roots are Revealed

January 27, 2016

By Roc

Karen must have cat DNA for curiosity. With each passing day, my reputation for having the greatest charm, energy, personality, and wit grows almost as fast as Donald Trump’s (I’m ignoring hisses from Adele and Max right now), so Karen tried to find out more about my background.

But first let me set the record straight on one important matter, in case I ever run for president: I was born in this country. In fact, I was born in the country. The western corner of Virginia to be exact.

Here’s the rest of my timeline as we knew it…

September 1, 2015 – (approx.) I was born.

November 19 – I was brought with 3 sisters (and possibly my mom) from Happy Tails Animal Rescue in Abingdon, Virginia, to the Richmond Animal League in the big city.

November 20 – I got a butt-shave and was neutered on a day that will live in infamy.

November 21 – Karen adopted me.

So, other than those 3 relatively traumatic, life-changing days in November, the rest was a blank, until…

Karen wrote to Happy Tails to ask if anyone remembered my litter. They did!

My mother must have been a pregnant stray last summer, because a “Good Samaritan” took her in until she had her kittens.

Unfortunately, the good lady couldn’t afford to keep my family, so when we were old enough she took us to Happy Tails, where we stayed a few weeks. We are remembered as being affectionate, playful, and happy for attention.

Karen concluded that I owe my great personality to the Good Samaritan, who must have done everything right during my first crucial weeks (such as, never screamed, vacuumed, or slammed doors on my tail).

Of course, I could have simply told Karen all this, if only she spoke cat.

My birth mom was great as well. She taught me everything I needed to become a successful pet, such as always squat to pee in the litterbox, always use the litterbox, and always use your “inside paws” on your human (no claws!). I hope my mom and sisters found forever homes as nice as mine.

And now for a quick update on my progress. Here I was 2 months ago…

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And this is me today, filling out the cat bed a bit more fully, thanks to my boundless appetite for Fancy Feast , Sheba, and Friskies. I’ve never met a can of cat food I didn’t like. I’m a whisker shy of 5 months old…

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New Kitten in Our ‘Hood

November 30, 2015

By Max

I can’t really remember the last time Cats Working welcomed a kitten, because I was the kitten! Adele says she remembers it as if it were yesterday — because it still gives her nightmares.

About a week ago, Karen brought us home a “bundle of joy” she named Roc. He already seems vaguely aware of his handle because it makes him perk up and momentarily lose that “stupid kitten” look he usually wears. But that doesn’t mean he actually shows up when he’s called.

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Karen’s been trying to catch Roc doing cute stuff (which he does a LOT), but filming a kitten is like trying to eat a bubble. You’ll just have to take our word that Roc did something really cute right before the shutter clicked on these…

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As payback for his lack of cooperation, I’ll share his most embarrassing baby-butt pic. It’s sure to haunt him on social media the rest of his nine lives…

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Don’t ask me why his neutering required a full shave. Maybe naked kitten booty is the fashion these days at the Richmond Animal League.

It didn’t take Roc long to appropriate my favorite stuff, like my kitty perch…

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Check out that fierce right-paw claw action. It explains why I didn’t put up a fight when he next swiped my yellow Chewy…

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His first night here, he pilfered a whole slice of turkey pepperoni from the coffee table he could barely reach. When Karen tried to pull it away to keep him from choking on it, he bit her finger and her chin hard enough to draw blood.

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Adele and I have our work cut out teaching him the ropes. #1 = Don’t damage the human who pops open our Fancy Feast cans.

Speaking of Adele, she doesn’t hiss at Roc much. She even let him share a perch…

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And watch her while she worked on one of her paintings on Karen’s iPad Mini.

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Then they chilled together on the couch — TOUCHING…

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Roc wasted no time getting on my good side, too…

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But then he twisted my tail trying on my bed for size, leaving me short in the comfort department…

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Annoying as a little brother can be, I have to admit he’s what I’ve always wanted. And who can stay mad at this face?…

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How We Got Roc

November 24, 2015

By Adele and Karen

Cole died one day before Karen left us for 3 weeks to travel, leaving her sister to housesit with me and Max. We didn’t need “babysitting,” but Karen had hoped Cole would be alive and he needed intensive care, and it was too late for Plan B.

So we mourned Cole and the disruption of our normal routine without Karen. I’ve lost brothers before, so I was pretty, “C’est la vie, now I get the bed to myself,” while Max brooded like a Goth kid in his man cave.

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Upon returning, it took Karen exactly a week to reject our new upstairs-downstairs cat arrangement. Max needed a friend — and it was never going to be me.

Now I’ll let Karen pick up the story…

Cole was the buffer between Adele and Max, but it took years. I needed a different approach, and pleasing Adele was Job One.

After Fred died, I adopted 3-year-old Cole. It took Adele 5 years to tolerate him.

After Yul died, I adopt 4-month-old Max. Four years later, Adele and he live on separate floors.

So I had to go even younger — staying male — because Adele’s only had brothers, even in her birth litter.

Last week, I found a 3-month-old orange/white kitten named Champagne on the Richmond Animal League website, off-site being fostered.

Here’s some background on no-kill RAL. In 1996, Yul was my first adoption, then Adele in 2000, Cole in 2009, and Max in 2011.

The process has become increasingly convoluted. The application is 4 pages, requires 2 personal references minimum, and vet verification that current pets get care.

RAL is open only 4 hours a day (closed Mondays) and most animals are being fostered off-site, so meeting them can be tricky.

Except for the limited accessibility, this is all OK if it keeps irresponsible dipshits from taking animals. But all these hoops are pretty annoying when you’re a regular.

Now, back to the story…

Champagne was great, but I spotted 4 black kittens even smaller — 3 females and a male named Ham. I’m a sucker for black cats, so I asked for Ham.

RAL identifies cats by their microchips. The kitten they handed me had a white triangle on its chest and had been reaching for everyone passing the cage with a purposeful gleam in its eyes. It was as if my Yul had sent me his replacement. Ham was the cat for me.

They said, “OK, make an appointment to come back and go through your application.”

WTF!!?? I’d given them my app the previous day, along with vet documents on Adele’s and Max’s shots, which they’d refused because they prefer to phone (yeah, weekends when vets are closed).

I put the kitten back and could see its hurt and confusion, as if it were asking, “Why? How did I screw this up?”

Fortunately, they had an opening an hour later, so I had to go kill time and think of a name. To honor Yul, I picked Roc, after human Yul Brynner’s son Rock. I dropped the K for style and social media brevity, and because my cats aren’t named after inanimate objects.

Then back to RAL with my cat carrier. (Did I mention I’d redone Max’s man cave into a nursery?)

After more paperwork, I got a kitten. Eager to escape the bureaucrats and all the pleading little faces I couldn’t take home, I put the kitten in the carrier and left.

At home, the first thing the kitten did was throw itself against my leg, kneading and purring. After it took a long drink, had a nosh, and began exploring, I picked it up for a cuddle. To my horror, he had NO WHITE TRIANGLE. They’d given me the WRONG KITTEN!

Thinking it was female, I put it back in the carrier and dashed back to RAL. It kneaded a blankie while staring fixedly at me the whole ride.

But RAL had misread the chip the FIRST time and had me meet the wrong kitten. Ham the male was all-black. So I did have the right cat, but essentially adopted him sight-unseen.

I was so crushed not to get a cat with Yul’s looks, yet so relieved not to reject the sweet all-black kitten, yet worried that I knew squat about him, on top of still choking up over Cole, I almost had a melt-down. The people who witnessed this climactic scene must have thought I was bonkers.

The one thing I do know about Ham is that he comes from a litter with a strong streak of Yul-ness, so he’s taking the name Roc.

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Max will fill you in on how Roc’s adjusting to his new life and siblings and how his personality is unfolding.


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