The kittens have been growing practically before our eyes, and getting tamer and friendlier. Pearl learned to purr first, then Socks (who was initially surprised by the strange sound) caught on.
We set up a “tiger pole” for them and they learned to climb it (and more importantly, how to get down another way than falling off) and they have gotten lots of exercise racing up and down. They both learned to enjoy being petted, picked up, and snuggled, although Socks still is a bit skittish when he sees someone reaching for him. Once you have your hands on him, he starts purring immediately.
Pearl is really 100% tame. She loves to be the center of attention and if anyone tries to play just with Socks, or pat him, she has to butt in. He’s less outgoing, or less aggressive, and so we reluctantly decided they would do better if they went to different homes. They are adorable snuggling each other and playing together but he has visibly hurt feelings when Pearl is getting more attention than he is.
They came here about a week ago — it was just too awkward scheduling prospective “parents” to meet them at someone else’s house. Lucky has not been happy — he skulks outside the door of the room where we put them, and we had to put a mat in front of the door to keep him from sniffing and reaching under the door, and then put a weight against the mat so he couldn’t roll it away. When I catch him there, he trots away very quickly with sort of a “I certainly have no interest in whatever is going on in there” attitude. I have been lavishing lots of extra attention on him to keep him from feeling too jealous. Topsy and Jemima have not been interested in the kittens at all.
One of the main features of our guest room, as far as the kittens are concerned, is the disassembled bed. The mattress and box spring are leaning against the wall, long side vertical. They climbed up there almost immediately.
After checking on them several times, and finding them still on top of the mattress, I began to wonder if they could get down. I tried to entice them down and found that they really had no idea how to climb down. So I set up a ramp from the top of the mattress to the dresser. Pearl tried it immediately but it was too steep. I added a few books and that made it manageable — still a little slippery but OK. She wouldn’t try it again until she saw Socks navigate it, though.
That has been one of the most fun aspects of this whole project — seeing the way they learn from each other. Our cats do that too, occasionally, but these guys are at an age where they’re learning something new every day, or every hour. We brought in a “cat dancer” — little bits of cardboard tied to the end of a long flexible wire — and Socks loved it instantly. He chased it and gave crazy leaps after it, but Pearl was initially baffled by its unpredictable movements. She watched him play with it for about a day and then she had it figured out.
We have found good owners for them, I think — people who really want them, will keep them indoors, see that they get any medical attention they need (including spaying/neutering), and where they will each be the only pet. Socks went to his new home on Saturday and Pearl this morning. I so wish we could have kept them but it would not have been possible to give each of 5 cats the kind of attention they deserve, even if Lucky would have stood for it. We will miss them. We’ve been spending at least an hour a day with them for the past 5 weeks (and much more than that since they’ve been here). I have other uses for that time, but it’s hard to see them go.