Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Childproofing for Kittens

I've been a bit distracted lately, planning more than I'd have expected to adopt some new cats. I’ve had cats as long as I can remember. For the last 25 years, I’ve adopted cats who were 5 years old or so. Well, the last of those died last June, and I decided, after a break and a trip, that as much as I loved my older cats (Dashiell and Rupert Count of Henzau, then Rupert and Milo), this time I wanted to start fresh with kittens. This decision meant two things: First, since my last three cats each lived to between 16 and 18 years of age, I must assume that I’m taking responsibility for these lovely creatures for the next two decades. Second, perches that were unlikely targets for older cats must be assumed alluring and accessible to kittens. Therefore I must childproof my apartment.

The Kitchen
The plants: The herbs (parsley, sage, rosemary, and oregano) are not listed anywhere as poisonous, so all I need worry about is a cat leaping onto the table and knocking it all over. In warmer weather – that is, no danger of frost – the herbs live outside, but they need shelter now.

Philodendron. Well, its shoots were hitting me in the head anyway, so they’re now draped across the soffit, and the Aloe plants are hung higher.

Old cats don’t leap much. Mind you, my 17-year-old Milo leapt to the counter stool and then to the counter. So what about those higher leaps, longer leaps, that a young and energetic cat may make….or at least attempt….

Uh oh. Is nothing safe?

Generally cats are happy with this perch by the back window…..

But leaping is a joy in itself, so I am wondering……….What about this one from the piano to the high shelves…?

And then of course there are the wires and cables……….

So, in the past few weeks I’ve made some adjustments to the tangled cables behind the television/cable box/DVD/VCR/Wii cords and cables. At least it’ll be tougher for them to hurt themselves now. Won’t it?

I’ve added two perches to windowsills, which left some jars and things without a home, making for a more crowded counter. I must declutter EVERYthing.

They like this one:

And so far could care less about this one, which is good if I needn’t worry about those tassels appearing particularly alluring.

And of course I added a large litter box for multiple cats hidden behind dark brown rattan. Today when the mama cat (I’ve named her Millie) and kittens arrived, their foster mums left an extra litter box since they thought I’d need it, and we found a place to squeeze it in.

Foster mum had named all three cats temporarily, but I’d already picked names for my new cats (whom I’d assumed would be boys, what I usually have): “Wilbur” and “Chick” after Abbott & Costello’s character names in "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein." Meanwhile, foster mums were calling the girl Betty, and Chick should work for her; they called the boy Charlie (a perfectly fine name), and the transition to Wilbur for him has been easy. Chick, Chica, whatever, doesn’t seem quite right, at least not yet. No matter, they don’t answer to their names anyway!

The tube is the killer.

They love the tube. All three of them, even mama cat. It’s in the middle of my living space. And I’m keeping the bedroom door closed until…. it’s so decluttered as to be “safe?” Oy.

So the space evolves to fit its residents. I’m sitting in Starbucks typing this up, the longest I’ve been away from the apartment with them in it since they moved in this morning. I stepped away for laundry, but then sat with them again, played with them again, and Wilbur leaned in for a good nap on my hip.

When I returned from some quiet time (a.k.a. bill-paying) in the bedroom, the little ones scattered as if I were a new entrant. Millie seems to like me OK. Of course, she LOVES the windows, and the back door, which I eventually closed since they all went just a little bit mad. Everyone goes a little mad every now and then.

Chick likes walking across the Bose, so I’ll suddenly hear static from the radio station she’s displaced. Wonder what’ll happen in the morning when it starts playing a CD! Her eyes, by the way, are not blue, although the photo in the bathroom shows her eyes picking up the color of the walls....

So day one, the only casualty has been one dish. Teach me to leave it next to a stack of books on a table that two kittens clashing in air may bump into to create a chain reaction of sliding….
And of course, they don't just love the windows. Mama Millie wants out, and the kids are pretty curious, too.

Day Two awaits, and more photo ops.

Maybe Thursday I’ll go to a movie and talk through my review with them…..

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the new additions! Your menagerie looks quite a bit like mine: 1 female, 2 brothers (all from same mother, but different litters; all rescues from my complex's grounds). I find 3 litterboxes aren't quite enough (the rule of thumb is 1 for each cat, plus one extra). I don't have that much room, so there are only 3. Good luck with them, and, from a certified TNR p/t cat rescuer, thank you for rescuing, and for rescuing more than 1. If you want to get a dog, around now would be the best time so they get used to each other and don't overterritorialize. I have a small one of those, too...but intentionally adopted a cat-tested darling from a local shelter. Unfortunately, I can't train him to use an indoor box, but most little doglets I know do....(By the way, decluttering is a good idea; a lot of the time the kits "declutter" for me. Now where is that dustpan?)