Zero Dark Kitty

by MomJovi on January 6, 2013

There’s a reason iJason thinks my life should be a sitcom. Allow me to tell you about my last 36 hours.

On Friday night, it was my mom and stepdad’s last night here after a lovely two-week visit (and lots of babysitting on their parts. Thanks again Gigi and DeDe!).

We decided to head to Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen for dinner, a favorite that we never seem to go to except for when they’re here. It’s probably better I avoid that place and its delicious beignets … and perfectly chilled schooner glasses for my favorite Abita Purple Haze.

Bottoms up

Everyone was having a grand old time.

E and Gigi

As we were wrapping up dinner, DadJovi decided to take E. over to the pet store in the same plaza while we took care of the check. Usually they go over there for E. to check out the hamsters, marmots and bunnies and to desperately search for snakes.

We settled our bill and we were in the store within 15 minutes. In that short amount of time, not only had they already finished looking at the animals but somehow DadJovi was on the verge of buying a fish tank and fish. A FISH THANK! Have you ever heard a worse idea? He actually had the box for the aquarium under his arm and was in the process of picking out fish and getting all the how-tos from the store employee.

Needless to say, I was not on board with the decision. I knew how this story was going to end. DadJovi and E. would be excited for it for about, oh, the 20 minutes it took to drive home. Perhaps it would even spill over to them actually setting up of the tank. But who do you think was going to be in charge of cleaning out the tank, feeding the fish and covertly replacing the inevitable fish with short lifespans?

Not them.

As we were arguing about calmly discussing the fish tank situation, E. and my mom kept walking about the pet store, in the process discovering a cute little shelter kitten who looking for a forever home.

To prove how bad of an idea I thought the fish tank was, I even gestured toward the kitten and I, the lifelong cat-allergy suffering and cat-hating person, said, “I’d take that kitten over those damn fish.”

Challenge accepted.

Within what I would estimate to be .067 seconds, we were suddenly adopting a kitten. One member of our family was 100 percent on board with the idea.

E meets Blue

My mom, who has owned cats for nearly 20 years, was there urging the plan forward. For every hesitation on our parts, she had a reason why it’d be OK. She was definitely not pushing it; she was just answering our concerns. So I called the one person who I knew would give it to me straight — Katy. She immediately started telling me all the reasons to NOT get a cat.

But I was too late. The cat train was leaving the station.

This is how my husband operates — he says no, no, no until one day, in a moment of impulsiveness, he says yes. Now you all know why I don’t want him to get a vasectomy — I’m still waiting for the day when he suddenly says yes to a second child!

Since we lost our dogs, I’ve been anxious for another pet but I haven’t been abe to talk him into another dog yet. So I figured why not? At least it’s another creature to love and hopefully fill my baby fever a little bit.

And the final tipping point? Guess what the cat’s name was … Disney! It was destiny.

Next thing we knew, we were fur parents again. And from the start, the kitten made herself right at home.

E and Gigi read to Blue

Of course, one of our biggest concerns was naming the kitten. Given her Disney beginnings, I suggested names like Tink, Belle, Tiana or Merida. All were shot down by E.

E. suggested Elephant, in honor of her current obsession with all things pachyderm. I countered with Ellie or Elle, which seemed to get her attention for a few minutes.

Then, out of nowhere, E. says, “I know what I want to name her — Blue Devil!”

Of course, her father started whooping and yelling at what a great idea that was. If I hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t have believed that it hadn’t been his suggestion. But I heard it myself. It was all her idea.

So, for the time being, the cat’s name is Blue. I like to think she’s named after Blue Ivy Carter but I’m the only one. In any event, she sure is cute.

E and Blue

Of course, DadJovi and I have also said every “Old School” quote with Blue’s name in it … about 100 times. “YOU’RE MY KITTY, BLUE” being a favorite.

It’s also funny because my friend Julie’s uncle always called me Blue growing up because of the ’70s song “Jackie Blue.” Yup, it’s destiny.

All went well the first night with our kitty. On Saturday, E’s BFF was begging her parents to come meet the kitten after her parents showed her a picture of it on Facebook. They wanted to go car shopping anyway, so I said she could come over here for a couple hours to play with E. and meet Blue.

E and K with Blue

The phrase “loved to death” was clearly coined by someone watching two preschoolers play with a new kitten. They were ALL OVER her. I kept trying to distract the girls with other activities, like making Shrinky Dinks and watching the new Tink movie but they kept coming back to chasing down the kitty.

Poor Blue.

Eventually, E’s pal went home and DadJovi took E. to a basketball game with his dad. The last I saw Blue, she was darting under a coach. I left her be and went about with my Saturday, getting all the Christmas decorations down and cleaning up the house. At one point, I left the house to do a couple errands, carefully watching the front door as I left.

When I came back, I sat quietly in the living room, hoping Blue would emerge. She didn’t. An hour went by. Then two hours. Then, DadJovi and E. got home and they started helping me look for her too. We looked EVERYWHERE. I’d already had all the bedroom doors closed so there were only so many places in the main living area she could be.

She was nowhere to be found.

So I did what anybody does in a crisis these days … I turned to social media for help.

Facebook status

Thankfully, my friends not only confirmed that I’m not a monster but that this was normal. They even had great suggestions for where to look.

Where to find Blue

Who knew cats could be SO wily?

We tried all of their suggestions, and then some. She seriously is the best hider since bin Laden (hence the name of the post). We hunted and hunted, going over every teeny tiny nook and cranny of our 1,200 SF house.

And then my husband thought he was a comedian and kept piling on me on Facebook.

My husband the comedian

And you all wonder why I’m crazy?

Somehow we were able to talk E. to go to bed. Thankfully, she was exhausted so she didn’t protest too much. We then turned down all the lights and put out bowls of tuna all over the house.

By this point, there’d been no sign of Blue for more than 8 hours. I had two big fears a) she had somehow slipped by me when I opened the front door the four times since she’d last been spotted or b) we’d adopted a sick cat and she had curled up and died somewhere in our house.

Neither option was a good one.

Just as we were getting ready to go to bed, I heard a tiny sound that sort of sounded like a cartoon puppy barking. We both froze. Then we heard it again. I slowly got up off the couch and started looking around — and there she was. It was Blue! She was sitting under the dining room table making puffing sneezing noises.

She’s alive! And it’s not my fault. Thank you sweet Baby Jesus.

I was so happy to be wrong and let everyone else in the social media world be right — she was here all along. I just wish we knew where her secret lair is hidden in our house. We think she was probably in the kitchen somewhere.

So now we’re giving her all the space she needs to get used to her new house. E. is not allowed to hunt her down anymore until the cat has had some time to settle in.

Now, there’s only one thing left to do … for me to stop sneezing. This is what my eyes have looked like since we brought her home.

Red eye

I’ve been popping Claritins like candy and thanks to a suggestion from one of the pet store employees, I’ve ordered something called Allerpet from Amazon. It’s a lotion you put on cats that supposedly cuts down on their dander. It should be here by Monday so hopefully it works.

Until then, I’ll be sneezing.

The things we do for kids.

Any cat owners? What do I need to know about owning a kitten? I know nothing. Dry food? Wet food? How do we ensure she’s a social kitty or is that just part of their DNA? Where’s the strangest place your pet or child has ever hid?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Nanci January 6, 2013 at 11:38 am

Fantastic name for your kitty! We have an Aussie named Blue (named for his one blue eye) and did the whole Old School thing upon naming him as well. Hubby would walk around the house saying “You’re my boy, Blue!”. It’s still funny. I am not a cat person either. Two dogs is enough for me. :)
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MomJovi January 6, 2013 at 11:54 am

I’m in good pet-naming company then! I hope to get back on Team Dog one of these days. Baby steps!

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Marie January 6, 2013 at 12:33 pm

My cat used to hide under our bathtub, there was just a small hole in the tiles to get through. One time we took her on vacation, she hid for the first two weeks of our three week stay! Good luck with Blue, cats are great pets, they are low maintenance but can give you a ton of love. I still miss mine ;-)

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MomJovi January 6, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Sneaky cats! The low maintenance part of cats is what we’re counting on!

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Kashi @ Cape Island Runners January 6, 2013 at 8:01 pm

aww, too cute! i will be following this one closely. my hubby loves cats and i know one day we will have some. i have never been a cat person myself, but they make him insanely happy, so there’s that :) good luck figuring out all things blue!
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MomJovi January 6, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Yeah, I’ve never been a big fan of cats but I’m a bigger fan of finally getting E. a pet, something she (and I!) have been wanting for awhile! All the sneezing be damned! But so far, she’s been pretty cute and even I’m always trying to find her and pet her!

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Emily Johnston January 6, 2013 at 9:09 pm

First of all, here are a couple of highly recommended cat products. Best litter box: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002DK2A8/ We have both sizes. The footprint is larger than a regular box due to the way you clean it, and you need some space to the side to roll the whole thing upside-down. If you can accommodate that, though, it works SO WELL and you don’t have to manually scoop, just empty a drawer (we empty into those dog poop bags, since the reliably have no holes, plus Seattle banned plastic grocery bags so we don’t have those laying around anymore). Use a good clumping litter. Fun toy plus scratching pad: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000IYSAIW/ You can replace the inner pad (plus you can use both sides when one gets worn out). If it gets annoying at night, you can pop the ball out (or just keep it away from bedrooms). You can also sprinkle some cat nip into the scratcher to attract her (if she’s into ‘nip). One of our cats was declawed when we got him, but we’ve never had trouble with our clawed cat since we give him good scratchers. The sisal-covers scratchers are good, too. They like something heavy that they can really get their nails into. I also trim my clawed guy’s nail frequently with a small pet nail clipper (like for dogs). I’ve been doing it since he was little and he doesn’t mind at all.

For food, I am a big believer in as natural a diet as possible for cats. They are obligate carnivores (meaning they MUST eat meat) and are not designed to digest grains or carbs. Find a grain/carb-free food (watch out for potatoes, they are in some “grain-free” diets and provide no nutritional benefit for cats), preferably wet. We actually do raw food (you can buy this frozen in little nuggets – we use Nature’s Variety but there are a few brands) for one cat and canned for the other (he’s on a prescription food which isn’t nutritionally great but it solves his health issue). We’ve also done quality canned (we did Wellness but there are a bunch) and had good results. Because cats eat whole prey in the “wild,” they are programmed to get most of their fluid intake from their food. This is one reason that urinary issues are really common in housecats – they just don’t drink enough water on a kibble diet. Canned solves that, and there are many good options. Cats are pretty small, so it’s still relatively cheap to feed them a really high-end diet.

And finally, if you want to keep her teeth in prime condition, give her a raw chicken wing a couple times per week (do this somewhere with an easy-to-clean floor). I fed a homemade raw diet for a while (before I got pregnant and just couldn’t face some of the ingredients any more), which included non-ground chicken parts. Both cats quickly lost all of the build up on their teeth – they were SPARKLING (sadly, we haven’t been keeping up with this and we really need to!) The wings are the easiest since you can buy and freeze and they’re cheap. You can replace a couple of meals per week with a wing without having to adjust anything else or do any supplements. Don’t feed cooked bones, but raw are fine. I used whole chickens and snipped them into serving-sized pieces with poultry shears for the meat/bone portion of their diet and they easily ate the whole thing. You can cut the wing in two for a kitten (use kitchen shears at the joint and it’ll snip pretty easily).

If you have any questions, let me know! We’ve had cats for several years now, I had them growing up, and my mom has had tons of barn and house cats (both tame and feral), so I have lots of cat experience!

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MomJovi January 7, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Emily — There is so much AMAZING information in here! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! You’re like a catopedia. :)

Sorry I just saw this tonight. It went into spam b/c of the links so I just happened to see it there. And I’m glad I did!

Everything you said makes so much sense. I had to laugh about the “if she’s into nip” comment because I gave her a couple small treats tonight that have catnip in them because we’re trying to keep her social and out with us, rather than running and hiding. After giving her two small treats she went CRAZY! She was running around the house like a wild cat and at one point, E. came out of her bedroom and said, “Mommy, Blue is trying to climb my wall!” Ha!

Thank you again for so much good and interesting info. I’ll definitely be looking into that scratching post! Thankfully all of our furniture is so old now that even if she scratched it you’d barely notice. Sad but true.

Thanks!

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Emily Johnston January 8, 2013 at 11:25 am

Ha!! I love a cat who likes catnip. So fun. One of mine gets crazy and the other just eats it and then rolls in the remains and acts stoned. Our younger cat also has “crazy time” after he eats – he will just suddenly start running around the house and acting like a maniac. Even Fern knows to say “Rocco’s crazy!” when he does it. They really are fun to watch. There is a reason cat videos are so popular on youtube!!

The toy part of the scratching pad kind of sounds like you’re living in a bowling alley, but my younger guy LOVED it (we should bring it back out – I think my husband disappeared it for some reason). Even the older one (who doesn’t play much) will give it a few swipes if he thinks no one is looking.

And finally, you might find her very handy living in Florida where bugs are inevitable (I think I have PTSD regarding cockroaches from growing up there). Our laundry room is currently full of cluster flies – they hibernate in spaces in the wall and then when we get a warm day they get confused and come into our un-insulated lean-to of a laundry room. We try to keep the door closed when that happens, but the younger cat is basically a professional fly eater whenever a few escape into the house. It’s a little bit gross, but so much better than handling them myself! Plus it’s entertaining when he catches one with a midair leap. We also had one mouse incident a while ago (ditto laundry room but the door was left open) and the older one, who has no interest in fake prey toys or watching birds/squirrels outside and who basically just naps and cuddles, walked right over to where the younger guy was freaking out about it and just ate it up in one bite!! Haha. Thankfully I was asleep for that, but my husband came home right as the action was happening and witnessed the whole thing. Granted I am married to a wildlife biologist, so he could have handled it, but I’m thinking the cat was a lot more expeditious than trying to trap it!

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