Kitten Update, 11/4/15
Posted on November 4, 2015 Posted by John Scalzi 48 Comments
Because we all need more adorable in our life.
Thing One and Thing Two, posing as if for a formal portrait.
Thing Two meeting Lopsided Cat, very briefly. It went reasonably well. It may have helped that Lopsided Cat is still maybe a little stoned.
People have been asking if/suggesting that the names “Thing One” and “Thing Two” be made permanent. This will be up to Athena, who has been assigned the naming role. So far it does not appear she’s terribly enamored of the Thing One/Thing Two names, so we’ll see what she comes up with.
The other thing we learned, from the owner of the kittens’ mother: The kittens are eight weeks old. This is good, because they have fleas, and the flea treatment I have is not for kittens six weeks and below. We’ve been using a flea comb on both assiduously in the meantime and it seems to be doing the job. Largely keeping them in one part of the house (my office) also helps. No, I haven’t picked up any fleas. In any event, flea treatments for all the pets will happen in relatively short order.
Please be aware that any image involving little pink jellybean kitten toes requires a “SQUEE LEVEL: Potentially Lethal!” warning in the header, according to the Cat Internet Rulez, v.2015.a14.
My late black cat was named Mistoffelees after the character in “Cats” (or, if you prefer a more literary source, T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”). I always thought if I got two tabbies I’d name them Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer.
Christmas present idea for all the Scalzi cats. Pootie Pads, quilted pads stuffed with pure organic Oregon catnip.
I will only note that if you’re considering Mr Croup & Mr Vandemar as names, there are already a pair of adorable ex kittens with those names. Sure Mr Croup is a girl, which confuses the hell out of the vet office, but that’s sometimes how things have to be.
An old piece of web lore: How to get cats to get used to each other by buttering one of them.
Bacon might work too.
(Warning: NSFW text, and may induce NSFW quantities of laughter)
Keep cat posts coming but soon going to expect cat in space story. Name one of them Perry. 😉
I suggest Phobos and Deimos.
I have been very successful with a spray called Knockdown that I got at my veterinarian’s office. It contains metheprine, which mimics the fleas’ growth hormones and prevents them from developing further. It also contains pyrethins which will kill any fleas on contact. The metheprine will cause eggs not to hatch, larvae will not pupate, pupae do not become adults, and adults are sterile. It’s not cheap, I think I paid $30 for the spray can, but it is safe for pets (and humans) and doesn’t have a horrible chemical smell, either.
Phobos and Deimos is good! Castor and Pollux is too obvious.
Zubeneschamali and Zubenelgenubi, maybe? (Amal and Jenny for short?)
It may have helped that Lopsided Cat is still maybe a little stoned.
You may actually have invoked a small advantage, here. Turns out (according to a special on monkey sanctuaries) that a trick for getting two strangers to bond is to have them wake up from anesthesia together.
Thing One – Ghost or, if a boy, Vetinari (after Pratchett’s despot and master of camouflage).
Thing Two – Tiger Lily since likely a girl
You may know this trick already, but it helps to give the cats things with the unknown cat’s scent on them (i.e., towels they’ve slept on or the like), so their smells become familiar.
And thanks for all the dose of cute. Now that I have allergies, I really miss kitties.
Long ago we got a pair of hamsters, I named them “Snack 1” and “Snack 2” as we also had a cat and six dogs at the time.
After many months they escaped, and one was found and given a more normal name. The other showed up a month later in a far part of the house, apparently surviving on water condensed off the fridge and daring raids on the dog kibble supply.
That one was renamed “Unsnackable” as it was most definitely not a mere dog snack.
Adorable!! Thanks for the day-brightener, sir; it was sorely needed and is very much appreciated.
Out of curiosity, have Things 1 and 2 had their first vet visit yet? That should result in confirmed gender determinations, which may be what Athena is awaiting in deciding on their permanent names.
As for introducing the cute little interlopers to the veteran feline family members, I’ll echo mngwa’s excellent advice about trading things that have the cats’ scents to get each of them accustomed to the others’ olfactory signature.
One additional thing that can help facilitate introductions is to use an item that also has your scent on it, since presumably all the felines associate your scent with positive experiences. When we brought a second cat into the home four years ago, we kept him sequestered in a single room for a week. During that week, I laid a shirt that I had worn over New Cat’s favorite perch for a day, and I laid a shirt that my spouse had worn over Veteran Cat’s favorite perch for a day. Then we traded the shirts, so each of them got a whiff of the other cat mixed with the scent of their human servants for a few days. I can’t prove it, of course, but I think that may have contributed to a very successful feline integration process.
Good luck in any case, and thank you again for all the daily doses of SQUEEEEEEE that you’ve been sharing here.
Future anthropologists will wonder at the number of cat and kitten pictures created by this era.
They *are* very cute little guys. ;-)
I like “Thing One” and “Thing Two” myself. Seems apropos.
@joelfinkle Thanks for that. I am at work and the suppressed belly laughs have probably assisted with hard core thoracic toning.
Although the person from the workstation next door gave me a *very* strange look on my way to the water cooler.
Your cat photos are helping me get through the day this week. That photo of the two of them together is especially d’awwwwwww.
*ded of cute*
They are precious, love the multicolored toe beans.
To AMD Hamm: Doesn’t Jeffrey Kooistra have some kind of lock on heroic cat stories? ;-)
These two remain unfairly cute.
Have you considered “Maximum Cuteness” and “Discord” for kitten names? Or maybe “Rainbow Dash”?
I hope that you get the kittens de-flea’ed soon!
My comment seems to have not shown up??? So I’ll just say, those are unfairly adorable kittens, and I love their wittle pawsies to pieces. I hope that they are successfully de-flea’ed soon!
Kate Wilhelm has written a series of mysteries which includes a character whose cats are named Thing One and Thing Two. Also, I wonder if giving Athena the naming rights is an attempt to encourage her to choose a college close to home so she can more easily visit the critters.
It’s always good to see kittens (and I considered inquiring about mourning Ghlaghghee and the possibility of new kittens when you were in Tacoma, but decided it would be insensitive and inappropriate to the venue). I, too, called a pair of sibling kittens Thing One and Thing Two until their true names came to me. They were Cosmo and Camilla (and plenty of nicknames), and brought me much joy for many years, until they both died just a few months apart last year. As Camilla’s name took longer to come, she was often called/referred to as Thinglet throughout her life. I hope this pair brings you as much joy as my Things did.
We named our by now very old Manx the Cutie Patootie. We kept getting asked why we had called her Potato. Our black cat is Guy Noir.
Totally meaningless comment except for sharing
The pair of litter-mates we adopted became Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, because their personalities seemed to match. Now, 14 years later, neither is anything like his namesake.
Maybe “Godzilla” and “Gamera?”
We got fleas off the neighbor’s cats ( we don’t have any pets)! We used Ultracide, which is safe for pets once it has dried. Also, vacuum the infested area at least twice a day and empty the bag or cup immediately outdoors or into a sealable plastic bag. You catch a lot of fleas vacuuming; they are attracted to heat and vibration and jump towards the vacuum. With all that vacuuming going on, the kittens will quickly learn that The Big Roaring Animal That Lives In The Closet is not after them. (We had a dog who used to bark ferociously at the vacuum cleaner; after it retreated to the closet, she would give out a satisfied snort and trot away with the air of a job well done.)
I still like “Brimstone” and “Treacle”
I think you’ve got two girls there. Thing Two is a textbook torbi (tortiseshell/tabby) and Thing One is a dilute torbi–there’s a big pale orange shadow on her left hind leg.
You’re about to get some direct personal experience with the feline half-orange princess gene.
I’m good with two girl cats. We have two boy cats as well.
I love that Thing One gives the camera a sort of “is that thing going to eat me” look. Seeing Thing Two happily scarfing food is also adorable. But Thing Two cautiously checking out Lopsided Cat won my adorable pic of the day award.
Wonder if there exists somewhere on the Internet a picture of a cat or kitten curled up on a bald person’s head in such a way that viewers think the bald-headed person is wearing a furry toupee.
If it’s two girls, Lily and Vivian. If it’s a boy and a girl, Emerson and Olive.
Very cute! But you might want to let Mamacat’s staff know that she’s running low on toner.
Yeah, those are two torbies. Good luck with that. Work on girl names, and warn Loppy and Zeus that they’re getting knocked down a peg. Tortietude awaits.
If boy/girl, may I suggest Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene? If they are both girls, Athena could go with the mythic theme: Helen and Clytemnestra.
Only got one name suggestion, depending on personality: Eris.
At the “Meeting of Cats”:
Thing 2: “Hi! I’m new here. I’m a kitten (gotta love me!!). Who are you?”
LSC: “Huuuuuwwwwuuttt? I dunno. WOW, man. Fahhhrrr ooouuutttt. Gonnasleepnow.”
If they’re both girls, I’d go with Lucy and Ethel.
How about Mischief and Houdini?
Malice and Aforethought
I was at an airport and saw a family waiting for someone. All wore matching shirts. Father was Thing One. Mother was Thing Two. Kids were Things Four and Five. I was impressed by their family unity.
For the fleas in the house — get a box of Borax, sprinkle it in the carpets, leave it in there for a couple of days. As a mineral salt, it’s harmless to all the pets and the humans, but it dries out the fleas and the flea eggs. After a couple of days, you can vacuum the Borax up along with dead fleas. Apply again as necessary. It works pretty nicely. One of our vets told us to do it after a medication we gave our dog — that had the pyrethins in it — gave him an allergic reaction and he got very sick. But Borax was no problem. It’s also good as an ant trap if you put it in the cut off bottom of a plastic cup mixed with sugar.
On names, I go with Smoke for the grey and Sand for the calico. Gender neutral.
Eight weeks old means old enough for FeLV/FIV testing, first vaccine, and deworming! Might want to address before any additional introductions are made…
I admit to being curious: with four cats in the house, how many litter boxes does that require? At least three, right?
Borax is well known to get rid of roaches; our fleas just laughed at it. They laughed at diatomaceous earth too. With Ultracide and vacuuming, they stopped laughing.
It being nearly Christmas, tell Athena I suggested “Ignorance” and “Want.” Can’t beat the classics.
Oh kittens, in our hours of ease
Uncertain toys and full of fleas,
When pain and anguish hang o’er men,
We turn you into sausage then.
If they are sibling boy/girl kittens you could name them Ryan and Felicia after Ryan and Felicia Day
I work at an animal shelter and have to personally come up with approximately 500 unique names for cats and dogs every year. I no longer enjoy naming things, but I’m glad others still have fun with that. (I have a feeling my next personal pet will be named “Bob”). BTW I can tell from their formal portrait photo that they’re the color we call “tabico” (tabby + calico), In case that wasn’t a term that’s come up yet… (Also means they’re both female).
Awful Cute, esp those pink toesies!!
We had a birth event many years ago, and had 5 Maine Coon kitties storming around the house. Big fun!
Now we have two getting older females, they tolerate each other. One is bigger, the other is faster. Big cat Punkin would use her weight to mess with Spike (who is very sharp) but eventually Punkin (who was once so obese she looked like a football) gave it up, as Spike could worm out from under and lay the hurt on Punkin, and be gone while Punkin was wondering what hurt.
I admire the plan of waiting to get to know the kittens before naming them. You can wind up with wildly inappropriate names if you jump the gun. WE always wait a while before giving a permanent name – sometimes it reveals itself in a burst, other times it just becomes obvious.
Keep us posted, the cuteness is enhanced by the good photography!!
John, I don’t usually email to people I don’t know or deal with, but my husband has become enamored with your writing. As we share our love of cats and animals, I wanted to add my comments to the passing of Lopsided Cat. We were also guardians to Romulus, a beautiful, big, Tom Cat who took a fall off our roof. I can’t remember what the Dr. called it, but from after that he always tilted his head. Can’t imagine calling out such a long name to get the cat to come, but maybe you had a nickname for him.
Michael and I have had the joy of living with many cats through our 35 years together and also lived with the loss of several of them. Presently we are a family of 5 cats and 2 humans. A couple of years ago I decided to practice the act of “detachment.” I practice yoga and have for more than 40 years, but the concept of detachment alludes me and most people. Now we foster litters of kittens sometimes with their mom sometimes without. to be continued if your interested.
Get those kittens named. They are adorable and I’m so happy that they got to meet Lopsided Cat. Lopsided Cat will always be tucked into a small space in your heart that no other will abide.