Kitties’ note: Mama’s been having kind of a rough day today, and she said the only way she could manage to help us write our column was if we had a happy question to answer. And lucky for us, in the wee hours of the morning, this letter came through!
Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
I found two beautiful kittens on the side of a highway. It took me nearly an hour to get them in my car. When I got them home one was very nervous and the other jumped right into my lap! Now it seems they’ve grown to adore me … well, so I think. Every night they sleep with me. They constantly lick me. Not just that; they are always following me, walking under my feet. When I walk in the door they act if they havent seen me in weeks! I wake up to them licking and purring in my ear. What does this mean?
Siouxsie: Well, Stephanie, what it means is that you’ve got two kittens that are absolutely, madly, blissfully in love with you.
Thomas: All these behaviors are things that cats do with their mothers. Apparently you rescued them so young that they’ve imprinted on you as their mother and/or as a sibling.
Dahlia: Sleeping together helps kittens keep warm and helps them feel safe in a great, big world. And the fact that they’re sleeping with you says they see you as a protector and a friend, too.
Siouxsie: You did a wonderful thing by rescuing these kittens, because they certainly would have died if it hadn’t been for you. I tend to believe that on some level they know you saved their lives.
Thomas: Now, there’s one behavior you might want to try to modify a bit, and that would be the walking-under-your-feet thing. That could be a problem if, say, you injure your leg and are having trouble walking, and they keep darting back and forth and under your feet when you’re already in pain and don’t have as much control over your movements.
Dahlia: If there’s a specific time when they are most likely to walk under your feet — perhaps when you’re making their meals — you might want to carry a toy or two with you and toss the toys, one at a time, as far away as you can.
Souxsie: They’re kittens, so they’ll chase anything that moves.
Thomas: If practiced regularly, toy-tossing could help them “forget” to walk under your feet after a while.
Dahlia: This technique can also help if they get into the unfortunate habit of dashing for the door as soon as you open it.
Siouxsie: Otherwise, just relax and bask in the love that your two little refugees are giving you.
Thomas: We’d be remiss if we didn’t put out a little reminder on the importance of proper veterinary care, including making sure your kittens are spayed or neutered before they reach sexual maturity.
Dahlia: What you do now to ensure their good health — from vetting to feeding the highest-quality food you can afford to give them to providing exercise and intellectual stimulation — will result in many happy years with your sweet babies.
Siouxsie: Good luck, Stephanie, and please write back if we can answer any questions you have about keeping your kittens healthy.
Thomas: If you’ve read this far, you’re going to get an extra-special treat. We want to spread some smiles and make you melt from the cuteness, so here’s a video of Dahlia and me gettin’ our groom on.
In a reader? Go here to see the video.