Monday, September 20, 2010

like bowls of porridge

We have four foster kittens now, and they have very distinct personalities. That's not always the case. I've been volunteering with the kitten rescue for six years now, and over that time we've had a lot of kittens come through here. Most of them blur together and are forgotten, no matter how crazy we were about them at the time. Many litters all seem to share a single personality. I remember one particularly mellow and attractive litter of half-Siamese kittens, whom I never learned to tell apart from each other but adored, and a litter of orange kittens given to me as a mark of kindness, for they were so cute that everyone who saw them wanted them, but who had such terrible, terrible personalities that I actually said of them, "I never thought I would say this, but I hate these kittens." I was so glad to see the back of those orange kittens when we turned them in.

Two of these current kittens are too loving and too tame. One of them in particular drives us crazy, so hyperbonded to people, always leaping on us. These two kittens have to be locked out of our rooms at night, because their exuberant love and need of people will not permit them to let us sleep at night. "Licking my face," shuddered the Sober Husband after the one night these kittens were in our room. "Going after my face all the time. I couldn't sleep." These two are like dogs in cat form.

Over the years we've only seen one kitten who was as crazed about people as these, the kitten we remember as "Dee Dee, the cat who loves too much." You'd think that we'd have all pleaded with the Sober Husband to let us keep Dee Dee, a black and white kitten who pestered us with her affections to the point where the children were constantly trying to fob her off on each other, but we didn't. She loved too much; she drove us crazy. But we remember her and talk about her still, and I put up an album of pictures of her on Facebook.

The third kitten is a remarkably inert one, a soft, fluffy kitten referred to as "El Rabbito" by Iris and "Ranch Dressing" by Lola. This kitten would be a perfect store cat, the kind of large, lazy cat people love to pet but who is so lazy that he never tries to leave the store.

And the fourth is a terrified little tabby, who was found at the SF dump and who is so terribly shy. There's an outstanding reward here most days for finding that kitten, who is a remarkably good hider, so I can force some more socialization down her throat. She accepts being handled with no resistance once she's captured, but as soon as she can, she slinks off into a tiny space. Our progress with her has been glacially slow and small. I was optimistic when we got her, because I thought the pesky, over-loving pair of kittens would set such a good example for her, but it's an example she's not about to follow.

It is just like when we had "Dee Dee, the cat who loves too much." We had another foster kitten at the same time who didn't care for people, and we worried about her. "I wish we could take some of the love out of Dee Dee and put it in that other cat, and then they'd both be perfect," the children and I said repeatedly.


GodsKid said...

Since it worked for you in the past, maybe it's time to sleep in the same room as the shy, hiding kitty. Or assign a kid to sleep there! You know, make like Tom Sawyer with the fence, and tout how much of a treat it is to sleep with the scaredy kitty. :)

the Drunken Housewife said...

I've been doing that every night I can... but it's glacial progress, glacial. Tonight she's out in the open, resting on the couch, so that feels like big progress.

Dread Pirate Davi said...

When you described Dee Dee, it was as if you were describing my seal-point Siamese, Simi the Spazmatic Kitty. He is like a dog in all ways. Affectionate to the point of obnoxiousness, playful, attention-seeking, loves to rough-house, etc. Oh, and quite the licker. If I let him, he'd probably lick my face until there was no skin left. I friggin' love this cat, even though his affections drive us up the wall sometimes. I wouldn't have him any other way, and I'm sure whom ever picked up Dee Dee (as well as whom ever ends up with your current rambunctious pair) is now a very happy cat mommy or daddy. =)