Struggletown

It has been a hard week. Apart from one good night, I was averaging 3-4 hours of sleep a night. Then, with the puppies and kittens, it was just bananas. Oh, and Nathan was in Canberra, so it was all on me. A regular daylight hour would look like this:

Sit down to get some writing done.
Get up – somebody has jumped on the dining table; Posie barks.
Sit down.
Get up – the water bowl is empty.
Sit down.
Get up – Posie needs to go outside.
Sit down.
Get up – Posie needs to come back in.
Sit down.
Get up – the kittens have knocked over a lamp; Posie barks.
Sit down.
Get up – the mailman knocked on the front door; both dogs bark.
Sit down.
Get up – the kittens have gotten tangled in the cords behind the TV; Posie barks.
Sit down.
Get up – Rupert needs to go outside.
No, just tricking, he just wants a treat.
The cats heard the treat packet, and now they want a treat too.
Sit down.
Get up – Rupert really does need to go outside this time.
Sit down.
Get up – the kittens are scratching the furniture; Posie barks.
Sit down.
Get up – Rupert needs to come back in.
Sit down.
Get up – Rupert and Clover are fighting; Posie barks.
Go and fetch the crate; set it up; put Rupert inside.
Sit down.
Rupert is upset and whining for my attention; Posie barks.
The phone rings.
The kittens jump and drag their claws down the curtains; Posie barks.
Look at the clock, look at my word count, and despair.
Go insane and jump out the window, running far away, never to return.

There were a few stretches here and there where everybody was asleep and it was heavenly, so I did eventually get some writing done. Which was just as well – I had a deadline this week. I had to submit work for a masterclass I am attending in April, and it was nerve-wracking. I can’t say too much, other than that this class is a golden opportunity. It’s a very big deal. It wasn’t an ideal week to have such a big deadline, but I got there in the end and I’m so proud.

I can’t wait until I can finally share my work, or be able to say “you can buy my book at X”. It will be indescribably sweet.

Oh – it was also Valentine’s Day! I was completely taken by surprise when a lady knocked on my door with flowers and treats (as in, completely taken by surprise – I was in pajamas, looking like I’d been dragged through a hedge backwards). Nathan wasn’t here, but he still made it lovely. And I also did Galentine’s oysters and Pimms with Mum and Caitlin, any excuse.

Kittens, An Update

No photos, unfortunately – it’s so hard to take nice photos of them in the bathroom, and everything I have on my camera roll turned out blurry. But they are so much bigger now!

Things were a bit doom and gloom last time I talked about the kittens – it was a rough time. I was in tears almost every day, constantly fretting that we had made a terrible mistake. The simple tasks of looking after them seemed like huge burdens, and I was miserable almost every minute of the day. But…

It got better.

It’s still not back to normal, but that was always going to be impossible because normal has changed. The kittens are still living in the bathroom for now, but we are slowly letting them explore other parts of the house. We’ve had some interactions between the dogs and cats that have been short but positive, and we’ll be stepping them up over the coming weeks while Nathan is home from work. I am not filled with misery every time they spill food or litter on the floor, or every time they shred a toilet paper roll and throw it all over the bathroom. We’re getting used to each other, slowly and little by little.

My uncle said something to me about kittens being little bastards, but once they emerge from all the chaos and destruction, it doesn’t matter about how you feel about the cats, they are in charge of the relationship and they will choose their human – you have no choice in this matter. I can see already that Plato vastly prefers Nathan and Clover seems to like me more. Who knows if this will flip in the future or if they’ll both claim Nathan or me as their human, but that is the way we are heading right now. I don’t want to play favourites but Clover is so much easier to love – she is so affectionate and sweet, and always seems delighted whenever I come to see her, as opposed to Plato who likes to spear me with one of his claws and drag down my leg until it bleeds (he’s a charmer). Clover is more sedate and likes lounging and regarding action around her, whereas Plato is into everything, chewing on cords, scratching up the furniture and prowling around like a little shadow demon. I sometimes think it would have been easier to just have Clover, but then I wouldn’t have felt as comfortable leaving them alone for such a long time on Christmas and Boxing Day – they snuggle together and keep each other company, which is sweet to see.

I wrote a paragraph about how the dogs were handling things a few days ago, but things have completely flipped and now everything is the opposite. Posie is struggling. Whenever they run around, she barks. Whenever they look at her, she barks. Whenever they breathe, she barks. And barks and barks. Rupert is going great though. He and Plato are obsessed with each other. Plato will slink up against him and follow him everywhere, nuzzle him and groom him. The two of them are having a full on romance under the bathroom door, crying at each other when they are separated. It’s just a tiny bit cute! I hope that Posie will get with the program, but like I said to my sister, she’s still waiting for Rupert to go home, so this playdate with the kittens has gone on long enough for her.

So, there is still a long way to go. Our next hurdles are: installing netting between the side of the house and the fence so that they can go outside once they’ve had all their shots; figuring out a solution for Plato to stop scratching the furniture and trying to chew cords; cleaning out the spare room (read: junk room) so that we can keep them in there when we can’t directly supervise. Lots to do, and adjustments are ongoing, but it does get better, and it will get better.

Getting To Know You

It has been a week with the kittens, and the biggest thing I have learned is… unfortunately, I’m definitely, absolutely for sure, a hundred percent a dog person. The complicating factor is that one of the kittens in particular has grown on me, so giving them back is not an option either. But the good thing is that cats require play, care and affection, but they don’t seem to demand a reciprocal and complex emotional relationship like dogs do. The cats are still confined to the bathroom – sometimes I go in there and they are all over me, sometimes they act like I’m a big annoyance. This is okay. We coexist, I take care of them, we like each other most of the time, but mostly, we’re just getting to know each other.

We are going to move them to the spare room though. They won’t be able to get water from the shower everywhere, we’ll be able to set up a bigger cat tree for them, they will be able to look out of the window. But best of all, I’ll be able to have a shower in peace and won’t have to deal with the crunch of spilled kitty litter all over the floor all the time. The cats are threatening to escape the bathroom every time we go in, so it’ll be better for them to be in a lower traffic area of the house.

How do I feel? I don’t know. It’s just so complicated. I wish we had thought it over for 24 hours before actually saying yes to them, I wish Nathan hadn’t dumped them on me during a week when he was in Canberra. I wish that maybe we’d gotten an older cat, or fostered kittens before adopting. I wish that I could have enjoyed Christmas before taking on this little project. I wish that I could have enjoyed being unencumbered by my leg or by TN for a little while longer without something else to suck up all my energy. Do I regret the kittens? Maybe. I think I regret getting kittens at all, but I don’t regret them specifically because I’m growing to like them and would be sad to see them go after having had them. But if I could rewind to a place where we never got them and never met them, and none of us would know or remember the difference, I probably would.

I’m sure this is just teething pains. It won’t always be like this, things will eventually settle into some sort of normal. And maybe things will even be better than they were before, who knows. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that, and trying to focus on enjoying Christmas despite this bit of chaos.

Introducing…

I’m feeling loads better after my last post. It helped so much just to write it all out and share it. Now that it’s mostly over, I can get on with the business of first time kitten-owning. Without further ado, I’d like to introduce my newest little companions…

Clover and Plato

They are twelve weeks old, brother and sister. Extremely cute and extremely little. Clover is hyper and ultra playful, but loves snuggling – we’re already up to headbutting, slow blinks and kneading, I think she loves me. Plato is more shy and reserved, I don’t know him quite as well yet. He has played a few times, but he’s definitely more skittish than his sister. The two of them are so bonded though, which makes me so happy that we could keep them together, and it makes my job so much easier because they are not clamouring for my attention all the time. I keep finding them spooning or snuggling with each other, and they love to wrestle each other, it’s so sweet.

Introducing them to the dogs hasn’t really happened yet and it’s going to be a long road. The cats are confined to the bathroom for now, and I think it will be the case for at least a few weeks or maybe even months. We placed the carrier in the lounge room for only a few seconds when we first got home, and while Posie was excited, Rupert was immediately in ‘stalking prey’ mode. So everything needs to be gentle, calm and most of all supervised… this is probably an introduction that is going to take months.

I was so panicky in the first few hours because they went on a series of rampages, and were throwing water and litter (like literally scooping their paws and throwing it in the air like confetti) all over the bathroom. I’ve already cleaned up in there five times. They are also pretty violent when playing, and I’ll walk in and find bowls overturned and their little lion scratching post laying on its side on the opposite side of the room. So many bangs and thumps from the bathroom, and it’s worrying Posie and Rupert a lot.

So far… I am stressed out. Two kittens is a lot, and although there are some really good benefits to having two (like they entertain each other and don’t feel lonely with each other), the concept of “I now own two kittens and will for the next 15-20 years” is really rattling me. There are loads of forum posts online about people who had horrible anxiety over adopting kittens, but most of them were cured just by time. The kittens have been home for less than 24 hours at this stage, and we are still very much getting to know each other. It has also been a crazy time because a dissipating cyclone has hit, we’ve had thunder and lightning, and it has been raining continuously since last night, so Posie and Rupert aren’t the happiest dogs in the world.

The whole thing so far has been 20% cute and fun, 70% freaking out and 10% regret. It’s horrible to say that I have any regret at all, and I’m sure it will eventually go away, but I’m haunted by this feeling of “what if we’ve made a terrible mistake? what if we’re not cat people? what if they just never love us? what if we chose the wrong ones? what if we should have gotten older cats instead of hyper kittens?” etc. It’s easier today though – they are just sleeping and requiring almost nothing from me, but last night they were total little horrors. They didn’t calm down until about 1:30am, but they did let me sleep a normal amount.

I know it will get better and easier in time, or I hope it will. It could be worse, they could be puppies or babies, which would be a lot harder.