This is how it all began:
6 week old Ming
Our 16 year old cat Dorothy died in April. She was diagnosed with a tumor and in 2 short weeks, she died.
We were brokenhearted, and mourned for months. But finally we felt like we were ready for a new cat- a kitten. My husband and I wanted a kitten- so we could socialize it the way we wanted to. And we wanted a companion for our other 16 year old cat Madison. Who had never lived without Dorothy, and now seemed lost with out her.
We went to the Animal Rescue League- but all the kittens there looked just like Dorothy. We wanted a kitten completely different in coloring- and I saw an ad for siamese/tabby mix kittens for sale. They e-mailed me a photo and one of the female kittens had siamese body coloring and points on the ears, but all the tabby stripes. She was perfect.
We brought Ming home when she was just 6 weeks old. She was very quiet and low key in the car on the way home. We expected a holy terror. We stopped on the way and bought a dishwahing tub for a litter box. When we got home we filled it with clumping littter. She refused to use it. She pooped in our bed. But that was a good thing- because while cleaning it up we found worms.
The next day she went immediately to the vet. Dr. Sarah said Ming was healthy but had worms and fleas. And gave her medicine. And said she probably didn't like the clumping litter. I bought clay litter- and as we poured it in her box she tried to use it. As soon as the medicine kicked in- the holy terror we expected arrived- she finally felt good enough to run and play and be wild!
Here are some lessons learned since we adopted Ming:
Introducing kitten to older cat:
Ming "playing" with Madison
Our 16 year old cat Madison has not warmed up to Ming- for one simple reason. Ming gets wild and wants to play- and that means attacking Madison. Things have improved in the 2 months since we've had Ming- but only incrimentally. Ming doesn't understand why Madison doesn't want to play- she thnks "You're a cat- I'm a cat- Let's play!" But Madison doesn't get around too well anymore- she has arthritis- and has to use stairs to get on the bed. Ming jumps her and rides her like a pony. And Mad screams and carries on. I end up having to keep Madison in a seperate room with the door closed so Ming will leave her alone. And Mad has to run to get food or use her litter box- usually with Ming jumping on her. I feel guilty- it's like putting your Mom in a nursing home where they abuse the patients!
But just when I get completely discouraged- I see something that gives me hope. Like Ming and Mad sleeping in the same chair- touching. Or eating side by side with no fuss. Then I think maybe things will get better.
Ming is still using clay litter- although I'm not a big fan of it. But I'm afraid to change it! She does watch Madison use her box- which has clumping litter- and Ming will use Madison's box- usually when I'm trying to clean it. But we went through a bout of bed wetting- not me! Ming! She'd crawl under the covers while we were sleeping and pee. And then we'd roll over in the middle of the night into a cold wet spot. She did this multiple times her first month- so many we finally bought a plastic mattress cover until we could get it stopped. I did many loads of sheets in a special enzyme cleaner that supposed to remove the scent that would let Ming smell that she'd peed there before.
I'll probably jinx it- but it's been a month since she's done that- so we hope it's all over- just a kitten thing.
So far Ming is eating Science Diet kitten food- and so is Madison! I've never been able to feed 2 cats 2 different types of food. I've always found that impossible. And since Madison is so old and crippled- I'm not fussing over her wanting to eat kitten chow. So I'm puting it in both bowls and I'll know Ming is getting it- no matter what bowl she eats out of. And Mad just gets fatter. But she has so many other stresses, let her eat cake!
Water as a deterant
:We bought several spray bottles to use to try to keep Ming in line. The idea is to spray her when she does something she shouldn't. But so far it's not working! She doesn't seem to mind it. She acts like she doesn't like getting wet- but she won't stop the behavior. She'll be sopping before she'll stop. And usually by then I just give up and grab her and move her away. Is she stubborn? Or stupid?
I plan on having Ming declawed as soon as she's old enough. Dr. Sarah says that's at 5 months old. But can I wait that long? I spritz her when she claws the furniture, but as I've already mentioned, that has mixed results. So far she has left the good furniture alone- thanks god! But has been hard on the kitchen table chairs and the apple green chair in the guest room.
I know some thing declawing is cruel. I disagree. So many cats are punished and turned in because they do what comes naturally. To me it's less cruel to have the claws removed that she will never need. She'll never be outside ( some consider that cruel to) so she'll never need them and she'll be easier to live with -without them. ( only the fron- not the back).
And I can't wait until we get her declawed because she HATES to have her claws clipped. We try to keep them from getting so sharp- but when we clip them- she acts like she's being stabbed to death! I wrap her in a towel to keep from being bitten andc scratched- but she fights and screams so loudly. She scream if you just act like you're cliping her nails. So it can't because it hurts. She just doesn't like it!
Ming and Mad on the same chair!
All photos copyright 2007 Donna Smith
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