One Month of the Scamperbeasts
Posted on December 2, 2015 Posted by John Scalzi 37 Comments
Yesterday marked one month since we adopted Sugar and Spice (previously designated Thing One and Thing Two), and I’m happy to say that the month has been mostly pretty lovely. Sugar is generally the adventurous and fearless one, always looking into cracks and crevasses, and trying to escape into the outside world (which we will not allow until they are large enough not to be easily carried off by birds of prey). Spice is generally the cuddly and affectionate one, although the two of them switch these roles from time to time on a schedule only they know about.
Daisy loves them both and wants to be their mommy — she frequently inserts herself between the kittens and Zeus, particularly early on, when Zeus expressed his displeasure at these new creatures in the house. The good news is that this Zeus does seem to be mostly over this; Sugar and Zeus have been seen touching noses without any hisses or aggressive acts. Spice mostly wants to play with Zeus’ tail.
With the passing of Lopsided Cat, among other things, it was a good time to have kittens in the house, and their general kitten rambunctiousness has been appreciated most of the time — it’s hard to be in a bad mood for long with two kittens scampering around like possessed stuffed animals. It’s not all adorableness, since both of them are reasonable stinky with their poos, and Sugar in particular is occasionally experimental in where she chooses to relieve herself. But that’s mostly been ironed out (thankfully). Overall, it’s been delightful. Kittens are fun.
So, one month down. Hopefully rather more than a decade to go.
Thank you, John.
I needed a kitten fix.
It doesn’t change what’s happening in San Bernardino, but it reminds me that there are rays of light. Many of which are small and fuzzy.
We lost our oldest cat (18) right before Thanksgiving. I like reading your posts about Sugar and Spice because they cheer me up. Also, apparently our now-oldest cat isn’t as old as we thought. We thought he was around 12, now we realize he’s probably closer to 9, so he should have quite a few years left in him. Youngest cat is 3, so he’ll be around a long time too.
Thank you, I needed this today.
Was just starting to feel a kitten deficiency, this is most timely.
Thank you for the update, sir; I’ve wondered how the Scamperbeasts were thriving, and with this evening’s headlines, today makes a particularly good choice to share updates and photos.
I’m particularly enjoying your descriptions of their emerging personalities, and the way they are integrating with the more senior four-legged family members. Very funny that Daisy has become so maternally possessive with the little critters! I’m glad Zeus is starting to resign himself to the inevitable as well. I’ll reiterate – it’s a very good thing you adopted them both, because just one kitten alone would be making the elder fellow absolutely miserable.
Have you figured out yet what gender(s) they are? Just curious, really, though I agree with other commenters who have speculated that at least Spice is female.
Erm, on the topic of stinky poos, one remedy you might consider is to switch them to a totally grain-free food. We’ve got a pair of cats who can clear an entire house with their rank output if they happen to ingest anything containing grain, and according to our vet, that is relatively common among felines. I know you’ve got a good vet and you don’t need random strangers offering advice, just wanted to mention it since it made a big difference to our stinky boys.
Good girl, Daisy. It sounds like Zeus might be coming around to the idea. It’s great to hear what’s up with Thing 1 and Thing 2 aka Sugar and Spice. My current two, at just past 9 and nearly past 5, are doing fine, and lately entertained by the strange doings and unscheduled wanderings and rummagings of their human staffer.
However, I have found no cure for the twosome’s insistence on walking on my keyboard and graphics tablet, which is most irksome to me, and which they ignore completely, being cats.
That’s so cool, I love cats. Our cat is a 16 years old sweet Nebelung female, and she’s called Daisy too (in case you want to see pics, there’s some funny shots :) http://valentinakallias.deviantart.com/gallery/?catpath=%2F&q=daisy)
So you have four cats total now with the two new kittens? Sorry to hear Lopsided Cat passed away :(.
@Nightshade1972: So sorry to hear you oldest cat passed away :(. What was his/her name?
Daisy is so sweet she won’t go after birds, check that one if you want to smile, the bird stayed there 5 minutes (and relieved him/herself in front of Daisy too), she just kept looking at my wife and the bird back and forth, not sure what to do :). Pic of that lol moment: http://valentinakallias.deviantart.com/art/FOR-FUN-Kitty-is-broken-212376817
Lol at the Thing one and Thing two.
Who’s on the post pic looking at the screen? Is it Sugar or Spice?
Cats are awesome.
Also, Thanks for the Holiday Shopping Guide post John, I ended posting quite late (almost 6am here in Switzerland) and forgot to thank you in my comment/post for giving me the opportunity to feature our books.
I see from the picture with this post that you’re threatening to start a new thread of the Infinite Cat Project. The Infinite Kitten Project, maybe?
What birds of prey do you have there that attack small pets?
Great Horned Owls range covers the entire continental US, so that is one.
Agreed that stinky kitten poos are usually grain-related. If you don’t go grain-free, at least make sure to get something that doesn’t have corn. Kittehs really don’t do well with corn.
At least with two torties, they can use their powers against each other. Yay?
Kitties. Thanks. Scamperbeasts, that’s perfect.
Another recommendation for a grain-free, high-protein food. Our Meri used to have industrial-strength, nose-ravaging stenchpowers, until we changed her over. She also used to overeat to the point where we had to get her an automated, timed feeder to control her rotundity. Now, with very high-quality food, she free feeds without overeating, and no longer pollutes the house with her extrusions.
I too love your cats and my cat, Max (and his equally loved arch enemy, Niko, the Miniature Schnauzer) but whenever I think about cats I can’t help but fret over the unfortunate fate of the cat in Joe Haldeman’s “Forever War.”
aaaaawwwwwwww kittens so cute
RJ, yes, agreed. I was really enjoying the book up to that point and after that I just wanted to find the author and shake him while shouting about how sacrificing humans is one thing, but a cat is really unacceptable, and you’re the author and could totally have prevented this, how COULD you?
Ahem. More on topic, I’ve been enjoying the kittens’ antics quite a bit myself and look forward to years more.
Sorry for double post, but just remembered to mention to Col. Snuggledorf that both Sugar and Spice have been referred to with feminine pronouns.
so much fun :) i had a kitten for a while. I have a few post on her..do drop in sometime…https://wordpress.com/post/notesoworthy.wordpress.com/462 and https://wordpress.com/post/notesoworthy.wordpress.com/436
I really like the “like possessed stuffed animals” comparison.
BTW, we’ve acquired an abandoned cat, is it normal for them to lick buttery knives?
Passing Stranger, one of our boys was picked up as a stray five years ago, and he has never been able to move past the sense that he MUST EAT ALL OF THE FOOD ALL OF THE TIME, because you never know when it’s just going to disappear. He’s particularly fond of oily, greasy foods (concentrated calories, you know) and we have to monitor his weight constantly to keep him from ballooning up into a 20-pound behemoth.
So if you’ve adopted an abandoned kitty – and kudos to you for giving him a home! – yes, I’d consider it quite normal and typical for him to lick buttery knives, along with greasy frying pans, plates in the sink awaiting washing, and anything else he can get his greedy little tongue on. At least for us, it’s made us a lot quicker about cleaning up the kitchen after a meal, so there’s that. Enjoy your kitty and give him a chin-scratch from me!
The images are …overwhelming…must…continue to…be….evil….ahhhhhhhh
“experimental,” heh heh. I like that. It’s diplomatic.
We had one whose gaseous exudations could peel varnish off the furniture. I think it’s sometimes just a developmental thing; ours outgrew it. I hadn’t heard about the no-grains diet then (30 years ago) else we’d have tried it. We’d have tried ANYTHING.
Cats are true carnivores, they do best on a totally meat diet. We feed ours raw meat, and their poops don’t stink. They also poop less and smaller than cats fed kibbles.
Passing Stranger: All 4 of our cats are rescues, and they will lick anything. They are especially fond of fats, though: butter, cheese, coconut milk… The boy cat once launched himself from 4 feet onto a counter to snag a 1/4 lb of wrapped butter in mid flight then hauled ass into the bedroom and under the bed to eat it. That was a fun battle. This is why we call him the Czec Assassin.
Sugar is generally the adventurous and fearless one, always looking into cracks and crevasses, and trying to escape into the outside world . . . Spice is generally the cuddly and affectionate one
Sounds like Sugar should be named Spice and Spice should be named Sugar, no?
Those cats are unfairly cute. But good to hear they’re settling in well!
I have two 6 month-old kittens, with occasional stinky poos, so will check for grain-free kibble for them (already grain-free on the canned). You never know where you can find good info!
Thank you to commenters above who shared the warning about “Forever War.” That was on my wishlist but I have recently had the Last Straw experience with fiction containing gratuitous animal sacrifice, so I think I will skip it.
+1 on grain-free diet. My little old black cat has been doing very well on a grain-free regime even though she was diagnosed with mild kidney failure (how that can be mild, I don’t quite understand) a year ago. The official “scientific kidney diet” she can’t keep down at all … it is chock full of grain.
I grew up with many birds of prey in our area (various hawks, eagles, etc.) and never once saw or heard of a cat being snatched. I know there are people who think this happens, but I have yet to find evidence of it.
I did see an eagle with a brinks truck one time however…
Chachai, I can tell you that the Royal Canin kidney kibble is not full of grain. It kept my Tobin’s mild kidney issues to a slow descent for a long time, and she was a picky eater. It’s hella expensive of course, but I consider it worth the investment. With 4 cats using 2 boxes in the house, bulky stinky poop would be a serious issue. As it is, you can walk in the door without immediately thinking “Cat!” just by the scent, and cat boxes don’t actually have to be emptied every day (but we usually do).
About the butter and the street / rescue cats: One of my current cats was a street kitten, rescued and given to me. He always eats as much as he can hold and then some, because somewhere inside, he thinks the food might vanish and he’d be starving again. This is a real challenge, because my other cat has natural appetite control and is not assertive (at all), so he’s always lean.
Yes, butter equates to fatty foods, lots of energy and very tasty. (It’s why humans love high calorie fatty foods, butter included, too.) So it’s not surprising a rescue cat, even years later when he/she has never been deprived in your house, will still go for anything that seems like it’d be good to eat. — Both of mine are odd, though, about not eating “people food,” table scraps. This is probably good for the tubby little guy, not so good for the skinny long guy. — Despite being rescued at around 8 weeks, the little guy had been hungry so long that his growth was stunted somewhat. So he is shorter in length and height, more stocky/stout, but very springy and strong…and constantly a butterball, because he overeats. He’ll soon be over 5. The other fellow is now past 9.
Heh, cats are unfailingly unique and interesting, and curious. — If only these two would not walk across my keyboard and graphics tablet!
(I grew up with a sweet mama dog, probably much like Daisy, but a different breed of mutt. So although I’ve always had cats since I was a kid, I love doga; pretty much any animal, mammals, anyway, and the feeling is usually mutual.)
bluecatship: We had moderate success with opposite-eating-habit cats by putting a bowl in a box into which we cut an entrance only a slim cat could navigate. And then reinforcing that entrance repeatedly as the larger cat tried to destroy it.
sbradfor, I have just heard a firsthand account of a bird carrying off a cat while the owner (and her friend, who told me about it) watched in shock. I absolutely believe that it happens.
chacha1, my guess as to “mild kidney failure” is that the kidneys are around 30% functionality, or a bit less. As I learned when my Rufus was diagnosed, kidneys have triple redundancy, so lowered function is only detectable after they’re more than 2/3rds gone. Cats can live pretty long after diagnosis, though Rufus only made it a year. (We lost him a year ago yesterday. It’s still hard, even with twelve other cats in the house.)
And yes, as mintwitch notes, cats are obligate carnivores. In their natural diet the only grain would be from the bellies of their prey, and that’s the kind of minor load their pancreases are able to cope with. That’s one of two big reasons why canned food is much better for them than kibble, which is inherently carbohydrate-heavy to hold its shape. The other, bigger, reason is that kibble is inherently water-depleted, and cats don’t have much of a thirst drive and normally get all their moisture from their food. After switching our houseful to canned food exclusively, there’s very little water consumption. We did this when our giant cat Rhombus became diabetic, and he actually went into remission in less than two months. (He’s diabetic again now, but it was a year and a half before that happened.) It seems highly likely that there’s a correlation between the ubiquity of dry cat food and the rate of feline diabetes, not to mention crystals in the urine and blockages.
Am I the only one hearing Phoebe singing “Smelly Cat” while reading this?
Cole and Marmalade on YouTube share “8 Signs Your Cat Is An Alien.”
It used to be obvious that you put butter on all four paws of the cat, so the time when making contact are different. However, my daughter loves New York; she tells me it’s all my fault for not heading in the way of the fashion sales are.
Also; I live in a regulated pet free environment; I’m lucky to be able to enjoy your photos as a victorious substitute
Um, I have 2 cats on a grain-free diet, and believe you me, poop still stinks. Also, they still fart. I agree that a grain-free diet is very healthful for them, and that maybe the poop is less stinky; but believe you me, my guys can still clear out a room. Just sayin’.