Our baby is growing up. We first kept Edison in the half bath, which seemed to suit his size and activity level. He spent most of his time, when we there to witness it, in his house or behind the toilet. The room stayed pretty tidy, so we figured he wasn't too active when we weren't around. As he gained confidence and physical ability (e.g., being able to jump up on to things), he began to outgrow that little room. We'd find a mess in there most mornings.
There was such a mess in there this past Monday morning that I figured he needed more space. I first set him up in the pc room with the baby gate at the door. I figured that would allow all the cats to smell and hear each other w/o physically interacting. I supposed the adults could jump over the baby gate if they really wanted to, but I didn't think they'd go to that much trouble. I didn't think he could jump over the gate. But he did. I went to check on him and couldn't find him. I looked around and found him up-upstairs, eating dry food out of the big cats' bowl. I don't mind him being near the others if it's supervised, but I didn't want him mixing w/them unsupervised for a few reasons. (1) I want to make sure no one gets hurt, even inadvertently. (2) I want them to be introduced slowly, not just thrown together, so they can get used to each other. As anyone with cats knows, cats are not big on change. Sure, you could just throw them together and they'd probably be fine, eventually, i.e., after the shock wears off. Some cats are very adapatable. Nosey was only confined for one night when he first arrived. He's very deferential and submissive to the alpha cats, though, so they didn't see him as a threat, he didn't see himself as a threat, and everyone got along fine. Having a bunch of indoor cats means they've got their hierarchy all worked out and Nosey fit in very well and very quickly. The others seem to find this little kitten an annoying oddity. (3) I don't want Edison to be able to roam free bc there are some places where a curious kitten could get into trouble. E.g., the baby gate came from the door to the basement, so with the gate gone, Eddie (and the adults) could get into the basement. The worst that would probably happen to the adults is that they'd get dirty, but a curious kitten could get into all kinds of trouble down there what with all the old wiring, ways to get behind the ugly panelling, paint supplies, tools, and all manner of assorted junk. (4) I also don't want him to find little hidey holes where he can retreat and from which it's difficult to get to him. That would allow him to stay away from the other cats and us as much as he wants and that would interfere with his socialization. (5) I want him to slowly learn the lay of the house. He's been in a few different rooms already, with supervision, but I want him to feel comfortable with parts before he gets let loose in the whole house. That way, if he feels threatened, stressed, etc., he knows where he can go that feels comfortable and familiar. (6) He's yet to get his rabies shot (he'll get it around 12 weeks). Statistically, he probably doesn't have rabies (and I certainly hope he doesn't, what with my hand having been on the business end of his teeth), but you can't be too sure. And although he appears healthy, he could carry disease; he's too young to be tested and get reliable test results. So I don't want any exchanging of bodily fluids going on under my watch. That sounds obscene, but there it is.
So, while Kevin was away (in FL for 'work') most of this week, I ceded Kevin's den to little Eddie. Edison had been in the den before, hanging out w/Kevin, so it wasn't totally new. He settled right in, taking over Kevin's chair. And Smudgie's blanket! Kevin got the blanket as a freebie from the WWF and Smudgie really took to it, probably bc he knows how well he looks on it, what with its rich green contrasting with his plush white fur.
He's got all the essentials: box, eats, water, toys, plus room to roam. He even has a choice of wine with his meals. With Kevin away most of the week, I needed to make sure I spent time with Eddie; playing with him, handling him, etc. You mightn't think it, but properly raising a kitten is very time consuming! The socialization is probably the most important part so that, not only can you and your kitty physically interact (i.e., snuggle, play, etc.), but you can also do all the stuff a kitty needs: nail clipping, ear cleaning, teeth cleaning, medicating, cursory tactile exams so you're familiar with its body and maybe notice any changes, e.g., lumps. Dolly's lack of socialization when she was but a young lass means that it's extremely, exceedingly difficult to get her medicine in her. And that just sucks. It's very frustrating to have something available that will help her, but be unable to get it into her bc she doesn't do handling.
Anyway, this week I've gone with the 'quality time' approach with Edison: I go in, get out a toy or two, and play play play until he starts to tucker out. (That was often my strategy back in the day when babysitting: tucker 'em out until they can't help but go to sleep when they're supposed to so no whining about staying up late at bedtime.) That can take a while with a kitten. It takes about 5 minutes with an adult. Kittens play hard and they sleep hard. I brought his house to the den, but he seems to prefer hanging out on his blanket (formerly Smudgie's blanket) on his chair (formerly Kevin's chair). That's where he sleeps these days.
The last picture of him is a little fuzzy, but he's just so cute in it that I'll include it here anyway. It's a close up of the one above, when he was falling asleep after a playfest and he was soooo tired he couldn't even keep his head up and eyes open to watch me take his picture.
BTW, cat blogging here is now on Fridays!