Introducing Finn and Poe

posted by Jeff | Sunday, August 2, 2020, 8:05 PM | comments: 0

We've added a couple of little critters to our family. I'd like to introduce Finn and Poe, named after the buddies in the last Star Wars trilogy that helped take down the First Order. They'll be three months old tomorrow.

I mentioned that these two guys were on the way about two weeks ago, and then we very quickly lost Emma just a week ago, much sooner than expected. I guess the timing is good, because their arrival is a useful distraction from our loss. Honestly everyone can use something positive, and two kittens sure are that. I haven't had a kitten in about 18 years. Marrying in to three cats that were already a few years old, I knew it would be a long time. In fact, provided these guys live a long and healthy life, realistically, we'll have kittens one more time in our lives.

We have a lot of experience with cats, because between the two of us, we've had more than a dozen. We've observed that brother cats tend to be cuddle buddies, girl cats seem to love their humans but not other cats. We really like big cats, the bigger the better. That's what we loved about Gideon. My brother-in-law Joe has this beautiful cat Louie, a ragdoll, which I absolutely adore. He's huge, and as is typical for the breed, pretty docile and relatively agreeable to being picked up. I think I annoy him, but he takes it anyway. I've wanted a cat like him ever since I met him, about a dozen years ago.

The breed has only been around for about sixty years, an off-shoot of Birmans. The more that I learned about them, the more surprised I was that the usual breeder nonsense about personality seemed to be true. They grow big, and they're tolerant cuddlers. They're not hypoallergenic, but they don't have an undercoat so they don't generate a ton of dander, which is a plus for all three of us. I think it took some time for us to get used to the idea of not adopting a shelter cat (like all of our previous cats), but there's some appeal to knowing a bit more of what you're likely to get. I'm horribly allergic to very specific cats, though I'm not sure which, so not having that crap shoot was also appealing. (I'll never forget encountering such a cat on a house shopping tour some years ago, and I was miserable the rest of the day.)

The breeder was located just outside of Naples, about three hours away. Her pricing seemed pretty fair, and she was taking care of the neutering and the initial round of vaccines. Apparently boys are in lower demand, so we didn't have to wait very long. I was relieved to see she had a very clean environment, and the boys were in perfect health and super playful from the start. They slept almost the entire drive home. We isolated them to our bedroom and bathroom, and they used the litter box immediately (at the same time), but were not anxious to eat.

Poe seems like the more adventurous one, and warmed up to us almost immediately. He's high energy, and immediately made a game out of running behind the curtains. He's also a climber, figuring out how to jump on the trunk next to the bed, then the bed. Then he just jumped on to the side and clawed his way up the blankets. No fear in that one.

Finn is a troublemaker. He's the one who will tackle Poe, carry off toys and try to mess with wires. When he plays, he likes to nibble and sometimes the claws come out when he's excited. He's also surprisingly more cautious, and still a little apprehensive at times with Simon. He's a little clumsy too, in the adorable way that kittens often are.

They do like sleeping together, and by late last night, they were out cold. Until 6:30 this morning, anyway. Fortunately they discovered the cat tree and spent a good portion of the morning there. Today's experiment was to let them look around the house and meet Oliver. Oliver can be weird, because he's always wanted a cuddle buddy, the way Gideon was, but Emma would always reject him. He directed some hissing at the boys, but they were not totally put off by it. In fact, I can see that Finn really wants to be his friend. He approached him low and laid down next to him, in one of those nature documentary moves where the new animal sends signals to say, "I'm not the alpha, I come in peace." I think Oliver will warm up to them eventually. He might be an old man, but he still often has the temperament of a kitten (honestly I think he's cognitively a little underdeveloped). The boys really want to be his friend.

Simon is really impatient, but he's also struggled to have the still body control necessary to not freak out cats, and he doesn't read their response very well. Cosmo and Gideon never wanted anything to do with him, Oliver kind of tolerates him, and Emma was the only one that really paid attention to him. That's why it was so hard for him to see her go. She would "groom" him by licking him on the head, which unfortunately means he thinks that getting right up in a cat's grill is what they want (they don't). He wanted them to be his best friends instantly, but any animal needs time to warm up to humans. He'll get there, he just needs coaching. The whole point of these kittens is to finally have pets that know all of us from the start.

I'm excited to expand the pride. Losing Gideon and Emma was tough, and I didn't even have as much of a connection to them since they weren't "my" cats. I'm glad I married a cat person.


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