I was hanging out in the living room on a Saturday afternoon in April when Dan called from the front yard that he had something for me. I heard a teeny yet pathetically insistent “mew!” and in came Erica with a cat carrier, which she opened to let two wee little gray fuzzbutts out.
“Ohhhh, little puddin’s!” I exclaimed. (I know, I know, but I couldn’t help it!)
Amelia and Ella, she’d named them, and they were so identical that it was impossible to tell one from the other just by looking. But, ah, like Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, it was impossible to confuse them once you’d gotten to know their personalities!
Erica had trapped their mother, barely out of kittenhood herself, at the studio, and the pregnant teenaged homeless ho-bag of a Momma Kitty had had the two lil’ fuzzbutts in a cage in Erica’s garage just four weeks earlier. Momma Kitty was decidedly NOT going to be integrated into the Kitty Society; she did nothing but cower in the back of her kitty habitat and yowl and hiss.
But despite the fact that their mom was a mangy teenaged hooooor and they were little bastards, a lack of social skills wasn’t going to be a problem with Amelia and Ella. We arranged to have a couple play-dates with the Puddin’ses, to see how they did at our house, and how they did away from their mother. If they seemed okay, they’d come to live with us in a week or so.
Oh, they did okay.
Despite the fact that there was next to no variation in stripes or coloring to discern Ella from Amelia, they asserted their different personalities immediately. Ella, ears back, knocked aside some stuff on a table shelf to crouch and observe, not freaked out, but not 100% comfortable just yet. Amelia, on the other hand, barreled around, nosing into this and that, exploring under things and clamoring around on the bottom rungs of the coffee table.
Eventually, the two engaged in what remains their favorite pastime: kicking each other’s asses.
They may look cute, but don’t let that fool you. They are two dangerous hellbeasties! We also discovered that, perhaps due to their dubious parentage, they are both batshit crazy. The name Ella seemed far too sweet for the glaring, vicious little monster that raced across the floor to attack her sister, and within the hour, she became Zelda instead. (Amelia remained Amelia, but earned the nickname “Bruiser” immediately.) That first afternoon, they galloped around the living room floor, struggled to get up and down the couch and the big armchair, hid and pounced on each other from behind table legs and corners. Kittenishly intent on their adventures, they did side-steppy-twisty-head attacks on each other, occasionally making a detour to one of us for a little pet or scritch before another round of butt-wagglin’ ATTAAAAAACKs, Amelia headstrong and into everything, Zelda tentatively in and out before committing fully to a maim-and-destroy. When they tired out, it was like two wind-up toys winding down, and they dropped where they were and sacked out, not purring yet, but very content.
Erica had to take them home to their homeless wild beast of a mother that night, but it was pretty clear that our family was expanding again. We hit Collar & Leash for supplies, and set up The Ultimate Kitteh Condo in the laundry room. We had another playdate the following morning, and laughed ourselves silly over the girlses’ dorky antics. We sneaked over to Erica’s garage nightly to visit the Lil’ Pudds, and as soon as they saw us, they’d come a-doingin’ over to the door of their cage (while their whore mother hovered in the background and hissed and spat), begging for cuddles before rushing off to attack-maim-kill each other again. By the following weekend, they were, at 6 weeks old, fully weaned and ready to try a couple overnights away from their mother. Soon, Zelda and Amelia set up camp in our living room, unwilling to venture much further for the first week or so, but perfectly willing to trade in their antisocial slut of a mother for THTM and me.
They started by taking over the living room and turning the couches and chairs into Kitty Forts (and having a couple accidents on the “Chubby Cheeks” [tm Gram], which made us cranky – and made us have to cover everything up with plastic for a week or two – but they learned quickly). They indulged in riotous play with their favorite toys: paper wads. (Even the sound of a piece of paper being crumpled up will bring both of them galumphing into the room, eyes wide, waiting expectantly.) It took a few weeks for them to get up the nerve, but before long they were exploring up and down the stairs, first having to be coaxed by their Papa at the top of the stairs. When the library steps were positioned just right, they would cautiously attempt to climb up into the window seat, Zelda carefully picking her way up step by step, Amelia gathering her nerve, then galloping up the two steps and leaping under the third, both falling more than half of the time. When she was about 2 months old, Amelia developed a very pathetic and whiney meow, became a voracious snuggler, and started purring. Zelda only meows if she gets accidentally locked in a closet (which is her own damned fault), but once she started purring, she motorboats even more than her sister, with a prancy-kneeding action. Amelia, we discovered quickly, has quite a, er, um, farting problem; it’s mind-boggling how such a huge, room-clearing stench can come from such a little teeny kitteh! Zelda is a licker, and will happily give kisses to toes and fingers, grabbing on with a paw (claws sheathed!) to hold on until she’s good and done if you try to move. Zelda also sleeps in funny positions with her feetses curled up, which has earned her the nickname Zelda-Roo. They both are insane little demons, and sometimes we suspect we should have named them Lindsay and Paris instead of Amelia and Zelda.
So now we’re a family of four, and accordingly, have all sorts of new and stupid things we say and do with the kittehs. We talk to them in Cat Macros. I make up dumb songs and sing to them. THTM plays dorky games with them. We call them stupid names. They try to sneak up on us when we’re in the shower or going up or down the stairs. We spend Quality Snuggle Time together every morning. And the Lil’ Puddin’ses got attached to us very quickly, plus they’re both nosy enough to always want to be where the action is, so they follow us from one room to the next; if Momma’s in her office working, they gotta be under my chair (or in my lap, as per ‘Melia’s preference, rollin’ and curlin’ ‘til she’s butt-up, purring like a maniac and making happy-blinky-kitty faces). Their Papa moved the armchair from downstairs up to his office, and it’s still the site of many a Kitty-Scrabble. When I had surgery (more on that in another Blather) in July, the two spent the better part of three weeks next to me on the couch, only moving when Papa fed them. When I’m out of town at a conference, they park themselves next to Papa to snuggle while he watches telly or reads. They find sunny patches to bask in, or curl themselves up in weird nooks or corners... the window seat, behind a couch cushion, on a stack of folded towels (and Zelda has to first scratch and scratch her Place of Resting before settling in).
We can has kittehs!
So forgive me. I’m going to do the horrible, cheesy, annoying New Parent thing and inundate y’all with PICTURES OF OUR NEW BABIES! WITH LOLCAT MACRO CAPTIONS NO LESS! HA! HA! HA!