It was ever so surreal during the journey to bring her home. All the cats I've known, from family pets to other peoples', have always freaked out in cars. Amy didn't seem to care, I put my hand into her carrier and she nestled up against it and as I stroked her she purred herself to sleep. Given the situation, she was surprisingly calm. More recently we had to take her on the bus to the vet for her second injections and apart from a little scared, she was fine then too. She is certainly a resilient wee animal.
The story of how she came to be in the animal shelter was a sad one, someone getting a cat for all the wrong reasons and mistreating her before finally wanting rid. Thankfully she seems very happy in her new home with us. Our common ancestor, something like - Maelestes gobiensis (a shrew like creature) - would have been proud to see a couple of it's branches of evolution were getting on so well more than 70 million years later.
Well it would if it had a human brain and could use it for more than just evading being eaten by a dinosaur.
Like the reactions to travelling, Amy's initial reaction to the house was out of the blue - but again in a nice way. We had prepared our expectations for the worst but she took to the place like a fish to water. First she wandered around the rooms claiming them all as hers with a quick rub here and there. Within a matter of 20 minutes she was showing us her fancy footwork playing with her toys.
On the form at the animal sanctuary we'd answered the question about length of time willing to allow for the animal to settle in as 'As long as it takes', it turns out 'As long as it takes' in this kitten’s case was shorter than the time it took us to drink a cup of tea whilst keeping an eye on her. It was great to see her playful side, somewhat ninja like at times!
Saying that, when she's being very playful she has had a few 'You've been framed' moments already. The speed she can pick up running around the house chasing her toys and screwed up paper balls sometimes has to be seen to be believed. At a guess - like all kittens, she also has her 'meaner' side. This Youtube video below had us almost in tears laughing - especially the part where he dons the overmits - it's a song entitled 'mean little kitty' by Cory Williams and is about his pet kitten named Sparta. He certainly experienced a kitten like our own and loves it just the same! after all they're just being kittens even if you are a human chew toy.
We didn't name our kitten after a city state famous for it's military superiority though, we called her Amy Farrah Meowler - named after a character called Dr Amy Farrah Fowler from the very funny US TV show 'The Big Bang Theory'. The name 'Amy Farrah Fowler' basically has the meaning: Beloved Joyful Birdcatcher. Though she is an house cat and won't be catching any birds unless they fly into the house, she is instead a 'Meow-ler. Saying that she doesn't meow often, only when she wants something and it doesn't look like it’s forthcoming. The good news is she's already begun to respond to 'Amy', I'm reliably informed that names ending in 'Y' and 'ie' are easiest for cats to learn.
As far as personality goes, she is like her namesake, a clever one! Where most cats I've known would be timid, Amy see’s only more opportunities to play. And when she's being mischievous, she knows just what to do. I'm sure at times the look in her eye is one that says "you think you’re using kitten psychological behavioural modification techniques on me! Nuh Uh! Muwhahaha, I shall reverse condition you back my human!". I wouldn't be surprised if one day to get away with something she put on the Super Mario theme tune for me and cooked spaghetti with hot dogs cut up for Norngirl.
Her playfulness, though boisterous at times is often very instinctive but ever increasingly adaptive. At the moment, to hunt a ball of paper, she'll first gather intelligence:
Then leap out at her target it least suspects it, before chasing it around the room and carrying it back in her mouth to somewhere she can lay down and toy with it. If you use more than one ball, she'll do the same for each and line them up together like they're mice. She's also very stealthy. If she wants to sneak up on you she will.
If a human is stood up and doesn't want to play there is a 2 second window to call her bluff, tell her 'No Amy' and move on without hesitation. If not done within that 2 seconds she'll proceed to play chicken with you. She's a master strategist at this game - well except the one time she got ahead of herself and did a back flip in some sort of confused strategic retreat, bless. Her pouncing at feet is her current specialty, only to be outdone by her first mini-beast kill when overnight she left a very large house spider curled up dead in the middle of the floor. Norngirl was very pleased with her for this mind you as she doesn't like spiders. Amy for the next couple of days became known as Amy 'Spider killer' Farrah Meowler.
Luckily the playful and sometimes 'mean kitty' moments are almost always followed by the amazingly cute - sleepy kitty moments.
Like a light going out, after a good couple of hours of play time she'll regularly jump into her spot on the sofa where she'll just curl up & drop fast asleep. Most of the time though her routine is to go from manic playful to affectionate, you give her a stroke, she grooms herself for a minute then the light switch moment as she curls up into a ball or stretches out on her back and turns herself off for a couple of hours. It's very cute and it was like that from day one. Within just a mere matter of hours of being in the house with us she'd found a spot of her own on the sofa and was asleep slap bang in the middle of us!
We were expecting to have to coax her out from hiding places but nope, it was like she'd always lived here with us. Can't blame her, she'd found herself a home and was going to enjoy it damnit! Good girl yourself Amy lass.
Her daily routine so far is to be all purry, cute and out for affection first thing in a morning before being fed, once she's had her fill of breakfast it's then play time.
She will run about the house in a mad half hour before settling down in her room on top of some draws where she has the best vantage point out of the window to watch us head to work. What she does other than make a mess during the day we're not sure though given her fondness of technology she might be a 'Stewie' of Family Guy fame like creature, plotting her quest for global dominion.
We leave classic FM on low on the radio for her for some company, she seems to like it, or at least doesn't mind. If anyone has any better suggestions for cat radio, do let me know!
On an early evening, again after food and a mad half hour, her favourite place to spend some human interaction time is on Norngirl. AFM quickly adopted Norngirl as a motherly figure (Like Amy Farrah Fowler took to Penny as her 'bestie') and will spend lots of time as close to Norngirls head as possible, usually preening and often trying to lick Norngirl's skin too. It's cute but having seen where the cats' tounge has been, Norngirl wisely opts for the human form of washing.
At this point it's back to play which is when we normally play with her the most. It's can be quite a work out for us as well as the cat, she soon learns patterns when you're playing with her so it's a challenge to be random enough to keep her interested in the toy and not your feet.
Though she plays with the bought toys during the day, her favourite things to play with (apart from our hands and feet) are of course the packaging those toys came in. What else! She loves rustling brown paper, cardboard boxes and anything paper based that is scrunched up into a ball.
Food wise, she's quite picky, the vet (probably trying to sell the stuff) recommended dry food only but (on advice of more independent books we've read) we feed her 2 high protein (kitten specific) wet meals a day and access to dry food the rest. She likes strong flavours and smells, seemingly the stinkier the better, but only eats small quantities at any one sitting. If anyone can give us some better scientific advice, please do, the internet seems more divided on this topic than the extremes of the Northern Irish Assembly on the subject of national identity.
Then, as I mentioned already, comes the usual stuttering of the motor as she runs out of fuel. She enjoys some pampering and some self grooming before falling asleep on one of us or in between us. Later on around midnight we set up her room and fill her cat hot water bottle with some warm water and put her to bed. Her bed being a cat bed but placed on an office chair as the first night when she had a choice of the two she slept on the chair itself.
So yep, so far so good, she now has her routine and we've got used to the change in ours. At her check up she was in pristine health and growing purrrfectly.
Looking at my hands right now, like Norngirl's too, they've taken plenty of collateral damage these last few weeks, but it's been worth it. We've also learnt the advantages of using a blanket when she's showing her kittytude and it's certainly helped, as did clipping her claws. All being well, she'll grow from being an awesome energetic little kitten to be a big friendly clever cat. That’s the theory anyway!