Rita kitten and the Sacrament of the Present Moment

Rita kitten has joined the rectory household and our lives have changed immeasurably. My life has changed because I have become a mother to a lively 8 week old bundle of tortoise fluff who delights in climbing up my legs at any opportune, and inopportune moments. My nose and eyes have been thoroughly investigated and a trail of blood drops follow me around as the wounds of climbing expeditions and wrestling matches slowly heal to make way for a new batch. Who needs to watch the Olympics when you have a kitten around? We have our own long jump, high jump, earring swinging, running up legs, boxing rats on springs, squeezing through tunnels and under sofas, patting balls and hop, skip and jumping just for fun.

Lucy Pussy’s life has changed because she is not happy with this small creature invading her space. This is rather unfortunate as we had hoped that they would be company for one another. So far there has just been hissing and a low growling and they haven’t yet been allowed together in the same room without the wee one being in her pet carrier. But we are doing what the book says and taking it slowly, introducing them for a few hairy moments each day (at a safe distance).

Son #2’s life has changed because he now is told to take tortoise fluff when he comes in from work to give mummy a rest. All of our computer speakers are now on the floor in amongst a tangle of cables and much has been produced from under bookcases and drawers. (Not always nice things.)

As I watched Rita kitten last night it occurred to me that she was absolutely living in the moment. She will sleep where she drops (on the bookcase, under the table, in the pet carrier, on the back of my neck…) and when she is awake she is completely engrossed in what is currently taking her attention. She will play with a ball for ages and then move on to the scratchy post with dangly pom-pom then investigate each of my five fingers and their bitability before moving on to intense scrutiny of my nostril and then eye-lid. Each moving part is focused on with such attention. Her own back leg can amuse for a good few moments and I can’t wait until she discovers her tail. The bookcase with the glass door and the shiny fire place surround have caused great amusement as she catches her reflection and flies at it with a resounding thud and embarrassed look. But the sideways startled leap into the air with all four paws off the ground amuses me most. (You can’t be depressed with a kitten around.)

We have tried to photograph her but she just doesn’t sit still long enough. I think I need an action camera or something. So I have many shots of an empty space or her bottom. Our lives have certainly changed for the better and I have definitely enjoyed living in the moment with her. (I have even forgiven the pee on my duvet and then feather bed, all parcelled up to go to the cleaner later today.)  I fear I am indeed turning into an old cat lady, or at the very least Mrs Slocombe continually talking about my pussies.

6 thoughts on “Rita kitten and the Sacrament of the Present Moment

  1. She is absolutely gorgeous Ruth. While I think a kitten at this stage for me would be too much like hard work, I really do envy you this little beauty.
    My first, dearly loved cat was a stray tortoiseshell around five years old the vet thought, when we took her on.
    She gave us 15 and a half years of love, fun and entertainment, and was the most intelligent cat we ever had.
    Good luck with her.

  2. What an apt description! Enjoy her. My Miss Kitty is of indeterminate age, but at least 5 I think, and she still chases her tail. She likes to make it exciting by doing so in partially-enclosed spaces (under a chair) or on the carpeted stairs.

  3. Give it time, Ruth. With any luck Lucy pussy’s maternal instinct will kick in quite soon.

    Thirty years ago we introduce Annie, a three week old un-weaned kitten mislaid by her mother, to our household. Initially I feared for her safety with a huge dog and more especially a giant adolescent un-neutered tom cat. They adored her! Inga’s response was to follow her around nose to the ground like the hound in Thurber’s Bloodhound and the Bug, with the thoughts clearly written in her whole demeanour “Is it mine? Can we keep it? What is it?” Fred’s thoughts were more formed: “This is my baby whom I will teach everything necessary to become a proper cat.” The two remained devoted companions for more than thirteen years.
    The three remained devoted companions for more than thirteen years.
    They shared beds – mine quite a lot of the time – food bowls, toys, games . . .
    And when Annie was run over and killed, Fred refused to eat, went into a terminal decline and quite literally died of grief.
    Not long after their deaths I introduced Albert to our remaining cat. Cally was not a cat who liked other of her species, but she adopted Albert as her own and, as with Fred before her, made it her mission to bring him up properly.

  4. How long did the bonding process take though?! We are still at the hissing and growling stage when introduced. I feel like just putting them in a room and letting them sort it out amongst themselves!

  5. Annie went off on holiday with me for a week about a week after introducing her to the others and she just came back as an accepted member of the family though it was a while before we left them together unattended just in case of huge being a bit rough and careless with tiny. To be fair I don’t think Fred ever hissed or spat at anyone or anything in his entire peaceable life, and Inga, the dog, just loved everyone.

    Cally was a completely different case – she really didn’t like other cats especially other females. It helped that Albert was a male, and we kept him in a cage in the corner while he got used to us and Cally got used to him, but it was probably the inside of a week before she had adopted him as her own baby which absolutely astounded us in view of the permanent stand-off between her and Annie. You may feel that last statement suggests that friendship will never come about between Lucy and Rita, but Annie and Cally may never have been wholly reconciled, but they learned to eat their meals side by side and even to share a bed within a month to six weeks, and the hissing mostly stopped quite quickly after Cally was settled enough with us to give her the same wandering rights as the established cats. There were a few ear-boxings and name-callings over the years, but never any blood. My feeling is the sooner you let them just get on with it the sooner they will become reconciled, but if Rita is very tiny you may need to be on hand to referee and provide a safe haven to begin with.

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