A Year of Scamperbeastery

A year ago today we went over to my mother-in-law’s neighbor’s house and took possession of two eight-week-old kittens there. These kittens, tentatively named Thing One and Thing Two, eventually became known as Sugar and Spice, aka the Scamperbeasts. It’s been a pretty good year for them since then, as they’ve become beloved members of the Scalzi household, with Sugar becoming especially partial to Daisy, our large galumphing dog, and Spice apparently enjoying alternately antagonizing and adoring Zeus, the senior cat of the household.

Over the space of the year, other aspects of their personality have sussed out as well. Sugar, appropriately, is the cuddly the one — she likes sleeping with (or on) the humans in the household and will actively seek one out for pettings and affection. Spice also likes affection but on her terms, which is usually at 4am, when she will leap on the bed with a series of loud chirps. Sugar has claimed the front room as her primary domain; Spice prefers the master bedroom.

However, both these days prefer being outside. Once they were large enough not to be taken away by hawks, we let them out to roam around the Scalzi Compound, pursuant to our tradition of having our cats not only be pets, but working animals. To recap, there are agricultural fields on three sides of us, and in the fall, a lot of the rodents who had been living in the fields start looking for somewhere warm, and our house looks good to them. So the cats basically set a perimeter. As it happens, both of the Scamperbeasts are really good at the whole “don’t let rodents into the house” thing, and they pretty much stay outside until they are tired or decide they want kibble or petting. They’re country girls at heart. We’ll see what happens once it starts getting really cold overnight, however.

A year ago I was initially reluctant to take two kittens — more accurately, I was in the market for only one, although when both Athena and Krissy decided we should take two I didn’t put up too much of a fight — but I have to say that a year it, taking the two instead of just one seems to have been the right call. In the early months especially they kept each other company; these days they are rather more independent of each other but they are still obviously affectionate sisters. They make for quite a pair.

As I said, a good year for them, I think, and for us. We’re glad they’re with us and we look forward to them being with us for as long as they are. It’s been lovely to see them grown from kittens to cats. Here’s to the rest of it.

31 Comments on “A Year of Scamperbeastery”

  1. Thanks for the update. Experiencing other people’s cats vicariously is my stress relief these days, and yours are especially lovely.

    One question: do they have a cat door, or is all outdoor access managed by the closest two-legged member of the household?

  2. Happy anniversary to the Scamperbeasts and all the two and four legged residents of the Scalzi compound.

    When I was looking to get my first cat, I got ‘suckered’ into taking his brother as well. Best decision I ever made, at least in terms of pets.

  3. We recently adopted two kittens (Princess Peach and Ziggy Stardust) after our previous beloved cat Monty passed in April. Your posts about the Scamperbeasts were an inspiration to do it even though I was still grieving. It feels RIGHT to have cats in the house again, and they’ve helped me move from just missing Monty to cherishing happy memories with him while making new ones with Peeps and Zig. So thank you.

  4. It has been an unmitigated joy over the course of an otherwise gloomy year to watch the Scamperbeasts grow into adulthood. I love the images of Sugar cuddling with Daisy, and I giggle every time Whatever refreshes with the photo of Zeus leaping after the importunate Spice. The epic battle for the stairway sunbeam remains one of my all-time favorite posts here ever. And by the way, I am still awaiting the release date of the chapbook of that story – there are multiple people on my holiday list who need a copy of it.

    Thank you for sharing all the glimpses of those two fine fur personages, sir. I am very grateful for the sanity breaks. Long may they grace your household and your blog!

  5. My father used to live out in the country, and my stepmother’s cat managed the rodent problem. (She was not allowed out after dark, as they regularly heard coyotes and coyotes might consider even an adult cat hanging out near a human house as a tempting meal. The coyotes were not bold enough to come anywhere near humans during the day.)

  6. Thank you for a year of kittens. It’s a far better way to consider the last twelve months than some others that might cross my mind.

    (Which is to say, I’ve enjoyed your blog entries on all the other, less furry subjects as well. But, you know. Kittens.)

  7. A fitting tribute. Long may they hunt.

    We feel 2 cats is the perfect number (if they start life together).

  8. We have had good results with the “Sureflap” catflap (https://www.sureflap.co.uk/en-us) which only opens when it detects the RFID tag of our cats. I have to admit I don’t know how raccoon-proof it is, but it keeps the other cats of the neighbourhood out.

    Our cats did not take long to learn how it works (they pretty much have to butt the door with their head to get close enough for the lock to activate, then not startle at the CLICK of the mechanism moving). I recommend not doing as I did and leaving the locking disabled for a learning period because if another animal gets in during this time, the cats may feel they need to guard the postern door for a long time afterwards! For any new cats I would hold them near the door and gently push them through a few times until they get the idea.

  9. In the picture of the grown Scamperbeasts, I do not see collars. How do you deal with the issue of fleas?

  10. Happy Scamper-versary! Our cats passed last year and we will get two cats once our toddlers are a little older. While we miss our furbabies, we don’t miss the vet bills and pet food costs.

  11. Watching other people’s cats grow into their personality is sometimes easier than raising your own.

    We have a young male cat who can be trying because he is such an excitable boy. He can also materialize suddenly and start small hurricanes on demand. He keeps reaffirming that he is the Troubled One.

    That started when delivered us of a live pygmy rattler. Sunday he lived up to it by materializing on top of a dresser and knocking off a glass that damaged one of my toes.

    Damn I love the little beast.

    The scamperbeasts look healthy and pretty well adjusted. Congratulations John.

  12. Thank you, both for the kittens now cats, and the short story about an election: they brought much needed good cheer…

  13. Our cat Reilly also prefers the master bed. She likes to sleep on my wife’s pillow just above the wife’s head. And when she wants breakfast, she isn’t shy about letting her wishes be known. Fred prefers the living room sofa. As for fleas, we put a dab of Revolution (obtained from the vet) on the back of their necks each month. She’s primarily an indoor cat. He’s the local alpha male and likes the outdoors.

  14. About a month ago we lost our 20 year old Dom (Barney), he passed in his sleep and was mourned. Later that very day, one of my neighbors came to our door with two 3 week old kittens that they had witnessed being dumped from a moving vehicle in a busy intersection. We had long ago embraced the label of the “Crazy Cat People” because if anyone knew how to take care of infant kittens, it would be us. So that brings our tally up to 14 kittens, 2 turtles, and a snake. clearly we have a problem. We care way too much. Their names are emerald and sapphire, after their eye color, both have turned green now.

    I applaud your love of animals, it speaks well for you that they think highly enough of you to let you bring them food, clean up their poo, and scratch on you for their pleasure.

  15. The Scamperbeasts have definitely been a highlight this past year. Long may they contest the position of Heir to Zeus, the Overlord.

  16. Raccoons: The ‘B’ Team. I mean, curious bears with hands!

    Also: Scamperbeasts make for great internet pallet cleanser. COOL!

  17. Two pics are not enough. We need at least six to cover 12 months! It’s not like you don’t have more. Pet photos help us hold on to sanity in these electorally fraught times. Rational expectations have nothing to do with it for internet addicts.

  18. Aww . . . I’d forgotten how utterly adorable the Scamperbeasts were when they first came home with you. Thanks for the reminder–I needed that!

  19. They were adorable kittens, and they are Very Fine Cats indeed. Still lanky, though — they might fill out a bit more in the coming months.

    In person I might like Sugar better (b/c snuggles) but here on the intarwebs, I like Spice for her coloring and tortietude.

    How’s EN?

  20. Thank you for sharing the year with the two of them. Happy Scamper Day. May the next year be just as happy or better.

  21. Two are definitely a different dynamic than one. But once you’ve had a pair, you won’t go back. (Somehow that sounds faintly dirty). One of ours is currently purring away, self-crammed into the small space between the arm of my chair and me. The other is snoozing upstairs, soon to start her daily exercise regimen of randomly dashing around the house for no apparent reason. Neither are outdoor cats since we live in suburbia on a busy street, but they are well entertained by the wildlife attracted by the bird feeder in front of the bay window. Wouldn’t trade ’em for anything. What’s the male equivalent of “crazy cat lady”, anyway?

  22. Large enough not to be taken away by hawks? Wow, that’s something we don’t have to worry about around here, but I can see the problem. How large is too large for a hawk, anyway?

  23. Beasts, Beasts, Scamper Beasts!
    They run from the west to the east!
    They jump at flies and don’t have fleas,
    We love the scamper beasts!


  24. Very strong agreement here about the merits of having two cats. Last year my beloved curmudgeonly old black cat died suddenly. In the wake of that, friends advised me to consider getting two cats this time. I was uncertain, but they made sense, so I did get a brother-sister pair of six-month-olds toward the end of the year.

    They have been absolutely wonderful. I’m almost entirely housebound, and they’re indoor kitties. They are so good for me, and I’m good for them, on hand to admire them, delight in their antics, and take care of them. They love each other very much, and they love me, and they love playing, and it’s just been great. Their willingness to look after each other – whether that means napping together, or trading grooming, or roughhousing – means that in some ways two are less draining to tend than one, who only had me to interact with.

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