Monday, March 19, 2012

Cry Havok, and let loose the Kitten of Khaos!

Over the course of the months that I've had this blog, I've had various 4 footed family members in and out of my home.  2 have remained consistent -Merlin and Stormy, my pound rescue cats who have been with me for 6 years now.  In the meantime, I've had a few dogs who came and then went again, a couple of kittens who weren't hardy enough to survive even with good care, a lot of love, and plentiful food.

Even when I was short of it myself, I always keep the furbabies fed First.  I can go without for a lot longer than they can, for the most part, and being domesticated rather than feral, they have been bred to be dependent on humanity.  Merlin & Stormy both tend to "supplement" their cat food diet with mice and birds, but all of the kittens I've had during this time were too small to be allowed outside.  And the dogs - well - they were dogs, and catching their own supper simply wasn't going to happen in the space of my rather limited back yard.

I have once again succumbed to my love of all things 4 footed, furred, and domesticated (at least that don't fall under the category of Rodentia) and have once again taken on a kitten.  Actually, I took Havok on several weeks ago, but this is the first time I've had time to sit down and write anything concerning the whole thing.  One of our regular customers on the shift I work had a pair of litters during the holiday season - 1 on Thanksgiving, the other on Christmas Eve.  9 kittens total between the two litters, of which exactly 2 were male.  Not being a Complete idiot (and not wanting the hassle and expense of either an unwanted litter, or taking one in to have it spayed before such could happen while living on my rather limited budget) I opted to take on one of the two males born in the Christmas Eve litter.

It took me a couple of days to decide on a name for the little guy.  Nothing really seemed to fit, and I'm not much of one to pick names randomly or because they're popular with the rest of the world.  So I waited until he started showing his true personality, after he got comfortable with the idea that this was now his home.  And as expected, a name presented itself in short order.  His playful tendency to lie in wait and stalk the older cats - and strings, the catnip filled mouse which Merlin has abused so greatly over the years - my ankles - made me decide he has a bit of a warlike nature.  He's aggressive, in that cute, baby, kittenish way.  So I was sitting here a few days after getting him, nursing the bleeding wound on my foot and ankle from another sneak attack, and muttered to myself, "Cry Havoc and let loose the dogs of war."  Then I paused, blinked, chuckled, and amended myself to "kitten of chaos."

Now back in January (Jan. 2nd, to be exact) my boyfriend James dropped me off after work and went home, only to find that his very pregnant Wolf / Husky hybrid Rayne was going into labor.  We had 9 kinds of hell this time Last year trying to get rid of all of the unexpected and unwanted litter she had at that point, and had tried to keep her from getting tagged again This year to no avail.  Best laid plans of mice, and all that after all.  She ended up with a much smaller litter this year than last - only 5 pups rather than 9 - and only 1 female out of the group rather than nothing But females like we had to contend with before.

The lone female out of Rayne's litter, along with one of her male sibs (the one who looked most like her - go figure) were claimed and picked up by the time the group was 6 weeks old and 90% weaned.  The other 3 males - all black furred with various small portions of white markings - were not so easy to find homes for.  And the longer they were around over at James's place, the more attached to them *I became, even though I'm only over at his place one day a week. 

Don't get me wrong - he and I see a lot more of each other than simply once a week.  We work in the same place, on the same shift, with the same days off.  He is my ride to and from work every night that we're on the clock.  We simply do not live together, and on our days off, I spend 1 day with him, and the rest here at home catching up housework and laundry and errands.  It works well for us, since it means we get to spend a lot of time together without it being Too much time together, and still leaves each of us our own space and alone time.  We agreed when we started seeing each other than living in the same house isn't an option at this point, while we work at the same place on the same shift.  Every couple needs time Away from each other, even if it's just that 8 or 10 hours a day while they're at work.  Otherwise it rapidly becomes too much of a good thing, and you really begin to get on each other's nerves.  So we maintain our separate spaces, and spend on of our days off together doing stuff as a couple ranging from mutual foodie explorations of the 1600+ restaurants in the OKC metro area (we have some surprisingly good places to eat around here!) to movies to prowling through antique stores together to watching Food Network cooking competition show marathons since we're both spectacular cooks.

But I digress.  Back to the point about Rayne's most recent litter born in January. 

By this point, the remaining 3 males had all gotten old enough to be completely weaned and to have developed rather distinct personalities, giving us an opportunity to start thinking about naming them.  Necessary, really, when we're (still) looking for homes for 2 out of the 3 remaining pups so that we aren't constantly having to do the whole "the fat one" or "the aggressive one" or "the blue eyed one" to refer to them to each other.  Speaking of which, if you happen to know anyone who would like a puppy - 98% wolf, the other 2% split between Husky and Sheppard - please, feel free to let me know.   PLEASE?

I basically fell in love with the blue eyed scamp who was the calmest - and most people oriented - of the trio.  He has the most stunningly blue eyes that I've seen on a dog (wolf hybrid or otherwise) in years, and I took to calling him Blue because of it.  Which set James and I discussing names for the pups.  Which brought up "Ole Blue Eyes" or "Sinatra" as a final name for this lil guy.  Of course That got us into a discussion about names for the other two as well.  One of the two is a food dish bully, and semi-vocal, with a rather wide white strip down his face, a bit of white on his belly, and 2 white paws.  The other is completely black except for 4 white paws, with no markings on his face or upper body at all, rather aggressive (he's the alpha of the 3 when they're all together) and particularly vocal all the time.  He howls, he barks, he growls, and he yips.  Almost constantly.  He's the talker - or singer - of the group.  Based on markings, personality, and the fact that I got the ball rolling with calling my lil furball Frankie, Blue, or Sinatra alternately, the other two ended up with the names DeanO (for the fat one) and Sam.  Depending on how old you are, how much of a music buff you are, and how much of a 40s to 60s trivia buff you are, you should recognize the references.

So my house is, once again, a menagerie.  But that's OK with me.  I like animals more than I like most people on any given day.  I can Trust animals.  They offer unconditional love, loyalty, companionship, and amusement, all while asking nothing of us except to be loved and kept fed.  They offer comfort when we're sad or depressed.  They keep us from being lonely.  They are always happy to see us when we get home from work or going out, without expecting us to sympathize with their rotten day if they had one.  They listen to our hopes, fears, and dreams without judgement or rumor mongering or gossiping about us.  They'll never lie to us, cheat on us, betray us for no reason other than being evil - after all, pets only tend to get Mean if they're abused or Raised to be that way - By Us - and it only comes as an instinctive self protection response if WE do something to Deserve it.

Anyway, Merlin and Stormy seem to have become rather stoic about the parade of other cats and dogs in and out of my life.  They're both very laid back, and accepting of sharing their space - and their human - with other 4 footed foundlings.  Havok hasn't been quite so amiable about sharing space with a DOG of all things, though he gets along well with the older cats, and he's beginning to realize that Blue isn't going anywhere, so he might as well get used to a smelly dog being part of the family.

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