Well, our kitten adventure has concluded! We adopted these two from Tamsin of Victoria Ragdolls.
I’ve been following Tamsin’s blog for over a year, and in fact I’d subscribed to it so that I’d be notified the moment she had kittens available. She tends to breed only once a year, and it looked like I’d missed my opportunity with her.
After our lackluster experience with a breeder in Sooke, I spent a few days tapping Carla’s rescue connections and talking with foster homes about their kittens. (I donated to the rescues for the time I spent talking to them, since I didn’t end up adopting these kitties.) The rescue kittens just didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel enthusiastic when looking at their ridiculously cute photographs. I didn’t feel drawn to them.
Oddly, I couldn’t really get Leo on the other side either. I’ve never had a pet reincarnate for *me* before, so I didn’t know if he was a baby kitten somewhere and I wasn’t able to reach him for that reason, or if I was just so utterly emotionally involved I couldn’t create a proper channel.
I decided to contact Tamsin of Victoria Ragdolls. If she was planning a litter in the next six months, maybe I’d wait. I emailed her and asked if I could meet her in person before putting down a deposit / committing to buying kittens from her, and I gave her the “short story” version of our experience with another breeder.
When I first talked to Tamsin on the phone, the first thing she did was apologize for our first experience. She didn’t bad-mouth the other breeder, she explained that the other breeder’s practice was acceptable in the show cat world, but nonetheless she apologized for our disappointing experience with the first breeder’s kittens.
Tamsin explained that although this other breeder did have a stellar reputation in the show circuit, even though her cats were long-lived and healthy, and even though her breeding facilities were vet inspected and TICA approved, her cats weren’t as social as Tamsin’s because they were born and spent their first months in habitats separate from the household.
Tamsin’s cats are so people oriented they’re almost needy, and the difference I see in our kittens versus the ones we interacted with at the Sooke breeder is profound.
Tamsin then said she actually had kittens available, and they were an “oops” litter that happened while she was away caring for her mother. The petsitter hadn’t kept the male separate from the females, but no one was that concerned about it because this male hadn’t been breeding with the females for the past year. They’d just had him checked out by the vet, because they hadn’t seen any breeding happen at all!
Well, apparently he prefers to let the mood strike him, rather than adhere to a breeding schedule, because Tamsin returned home to kittens. I met this big, beautiful boy and I’ll post photos later on. He’s totally a lover, not a fighter, just like Leo. I’m sure he felt he needed some time to talk the girls into mating with him, or convincing them to go mate in secret with him.
During that first conversation, Tamsin mentioned she had a “flame lynx point male” which means a white cat with orange striped face, ears and tail. As soon as she said it, I knew it was him. I was sure. At least, I felt I was sure. I was so put off by our first experience, I didn’t want to let myself be sure until we had the kittens in our car!
Tamsin actually suggested a second flame point male, after learning we had a dog. This second boy was raised in the kitchen with their collie puppy, and so was already used to dogs, but we could pick whomever we felt was right.
We arrived at Tamsin’s giant victorian house, decorated with antiques, oriental rugs and shabby-chic white slip-covered furniture. The two orange boys were on top of a cat tree, just waiting for me. I played with them for a bit, wondering who was the right one. I immediately felt drawn to the boy in the brown collar, who seemed to regard me with familiar eyes, and put his paw on my hand. I picked him up and put him on my chest.
Big purr. Just like Leo. He then patted his soft, oversized front paws on my neck, reminding me of the “hug” Leo had given me when I found him the first time at the North Bay Humane Society. Yep, this is the dude!
I played with the second orange male for a while, he seemed very enthusiastic. At one point, he was hanging off my shirt. I thought for a second, “wait, did I make a mistake? Is this other guy trying to get my attention?” In that moment, Little Leo patted me with his paw again and said, “I’m the right one!”
I said, “This guy! He’s the one!” I went over to the couch and cuddled him for a half-hour while Sweetie sat amongst the kittens, looking for Snowball.
We were pretty much expecting Snowball to be a girl this time. Sunshine was looking forward to having another female in the house, and wanted “Team Girl”. Sunshine had asked if we would go back and get that other girl kitten we held and seriously considered at the Sooke breeder.
Sweetie sat on the floor and played with the kittens for quite a while. She asked in her mind, “Who wants to be my kitten?”
I watched as every one of those kittens came up to Sweetie and involved her in their play. But pretty much every one of them wandered off after a few minutes… except one. The largest, funniest, most outgoing chocolate point male!
After a half hour, Sweetie asked me, “What do you think of this one?” Just as she asked it, the chocolate point boy romped over to me, clearly feeling he had to impress me. He hopped up on the couch and I asked him, “Can you be friends with this boy in my arms?” Chocolate boy answered immediately by patting Little Leo and engaging him in play.
After a few minutes I put Little Leo down and picked chocolate boy up. I placed him on my chest, over my heart. Rupert, as he was named at the time, reached out his paws and patted me on the cheeks. Soft paws, claws carefully sheathed. Pat pat pat.
“I think he’s lovely, is he the one you want?” I asked Sweetie.
We continued to play with these two for a while as Tamsin talked to us about the kittens, their parents, their diet, their vet care. She looked like she was going to cry when we picked Rupert. “He’s my favourite, he slept in my bed last night! I wish I could keep him, but we can only have one boy in the house.”
At this point Tamsin’s friend who is helping her with the mammoth job of keeping the house clean with surprise kittens, exclaimed “You’re taking Rupert??? He is the SWEETEST BOY!!!”
We met all the other kittens, we met and photographed our kittens’ parents, and then we went out for brunch while Tamsin completed the paperwork and put together an enormous “going home” package for us that included a voucher for pet insurance, a month’s worth of food, several toys and a blanket that smelled like home.
Tamsin goes above and beyond, as far as I’m concerned.
The kittens were packed into their kennel and didn’t make a peep the whole ride home.
We got home at about 9:30 at night. Happy was beside himself. I put the kittens, still in their crate, on top of the kitchen table, and Happy climed the cat tree to get a good look at them, sniffing their crate and wagging his tail furiously.
I am sure he is going to be great friends with them.
(The next day, Little Leo remembered Happy from his previous life and asked me, “Why is the dog so BIG???” When we adopted Happy, Leo was a maine coon cross and nearly twice Happy’s size!)
Sunshine walked up to the crate, realized there were two boys and hissed at them. This is exactly what she did when she met Leo, on her first day home with us. She then walked away and told me, “They’re YOUR kittens. I’ll talk to them when they grow some brains.”
Sunshine is good at setting boundaries. No way was she going to be roped into being a surrogate mother.
She refused her medication that night, but it seems that she’s tired of her pill pockets. She’s taking her pills just fine when I mix them into her wet food, or hide them in a Kraft Cheese slice.
That first night, Sunshine spent the night downstairs, but the second night, she attended her usual post at the top of the stairs, just outside our bedroom, and just outside the kitten room. She snuggled with us and purred before bed, and came to greet us as usual first thing in the morning.
She is nonplussed about the kittens, neither bothered nor concerned.
Yesterday, we let the kittens explore more of upstairs, with a baby gate keeping Happy at bay, downstairs. This is when Little Leo, or Phoenix as we’re calling him for now, recognized Happy. He went bounding up to the baby gate to say hello. Happy nearly exploded with excitement, whining and shaking while being *sooooo good* and staying in a “down” so as not to frighten his new friends.
Chocolate boy, aka Rupert, aka Griffin as we’re trying out, followed his brother up to the baby gate before he realized what was on the other side. He spotted happy, happy let out a long, loud whine and Griffin whipped around and raced back up the stairs! “WHAT IS THAT?” he asked, wide-eyed.
Later on, I brought Happy into the kitten room, holding him on my lap as the kittens romped around. Again, Phoenix romped right up to us, but Griffin held back, staring with suspicion – and hissed at Happy!
We’ll keep working on it.
Another funny thing: I found a duplicate of a rainbow fishing-pole toy I had when Leo was young. I pulled it out and Phoenix ran towards it in delight! Griffin, despite being generally bolder and more confident than his brother in most situations was stared at the fishing pole toy and approached it suspiciously. Then he smacked it like it might bite him back!
Phoenix was wrangling with the toy and already knew that the closer you bite to the stick, the less “alive” the moving snake gets! Griffin, convinced by his smaller brother’s boldness, continued to approach the toy, but kept smacking it and jumping away.
After watching him for a little while I realized, he doesn’t like the colour red! He had NEVER seen it before! He had suspicions that the colour red meant it was a dangerous thing, that it might bite him! He kept smacking the fabric wherever it was red – he was still doing it this morning! I realized that in his first home, the tasteful, Victorian shabby-chic palace, he hadn’t even *seen* the colour red in this lifetime yet. Everything in his first home is muted and pastel!
Well, get ready to be inundated with kitten videos! I already posted one to my channel on youtube, and one to facebook. If you look on the right sidebar, I have all my social media feeds automatically updating there, so you’ll never miss a kitten video! I tend to post most of the kitten stuff to facebook and instagram!