Category Archives: Family

The Second King

The Second King

We finally got Offa a friend.

Months ago we started entertaining the idea of getting another cat to keep Offa company, because we knew he probably felt bored or lonely especially when we were out of the house all day. At the time, he was showing signs of being territorial and unwelcoming towards other cats that happened to wander onto our balcony or outside the front door, so any plans to have another cat had to be shelved.

Recently we started thinking about a second cat again, and were on the verge of going to the SPCA or PAWS to look into adopting one. But then, on Saturday, I got a call telling me about two Scottish Fold kittens — brothers — who were up for adoption, so I took one. And that was how Costa came to live with us.

My Scottish Fold, Costa, short for Constantine. Taken with BlackBerry Bold 9780

At only three months and six days old, Costa — short for Constantine, a name I decided on after reading about the ancient high kings of Scotland — is the tiniest, skinniest bundle of energy. His build, the shape of his face and his markings make him look a little bit like a giraffe, so I hope he will fill out soon and gain some weight. While it was no trouble getting him accustomed to his surroundings, the biggest surprise was Offa.

I was initially terrified that Offa would not like this new addition, and was hesitant about putting the two of them together in the living room. And indeed, he started off a little apprehensive, especially when Costa decided to take one of Offa’s furry toys for his own, and when Costa started exploring places in the house that Offa has staked out for himself. It was also a bit of a chore having to take care of Costa and make sure that Offa knew we weren’t abandoning or punishing him by taking in a new kitten.

The first meeting. Taken with BlackBerry Bold 9780

But thankfully they’re both only almost exactly a year apart, because barely two days later, Offa appears to have more or less accepted that Costa will be with us from now on, and started playing with him a little more last night. I suppose it’s a little difficult for him to resist a kitten who walks right up to him to lick him on the nose.

Having Offa has made it much easier for me to know what to expect with Costa, even if he is so much younger. I’m realizing now more than ever that having a cat is not unlike having a child, as my mother has so smugly pointed out many times. And now that I have two cats, plus a boyfriend and a brother all living under one roof, it’s rather like having four children *, I’m happy to stop here. It’s enough for me to have one cat lying on my chest every morning and a new kitten clinging to my neck all day.

And kneading everything in sight, if he had it his way:

* Yes, living with men is like having children, and I dare anyone to say otherwise.

Offa: My two-way learning process

Offa: My two-way learning process

Yes, that is Offa in one of his extremely playful moments.

Offa has been with me for a week. And in this past week — 8 days, to be exact — I’ve learned a great deal about cats and taking care of them, to the point where I think I actually prefer cats to dogs now. From observing Offa and all the little things he does, I can see why it’s so easy for people to have cats as pets, despite the mythical perception that cats are ungrateful and arrogant.

The thing that people have to realize about cats is that they are remarkably fast learners. I found this out when I shut Offa in the maid’s room with his bedding and food and water on his first two nights here. I was worried about him being scared and not knowing what to do all by himself in the room. Afham assured me that he would be all right, and he would figure it out for himself where his litter box and food were. Sure enough, by his third night, we could already leave him out in the living room to sleep where he pleased, and he never soiled any other part of the house.

Another thing Offa has also learned — and now exploits to his great advantage — is that he is loved to death. So he has learned that I have a habit of hugging and petting him first thing in the morning, and now, if I’m preoccupied with making breakfast when I come downstairs in the morning, he’ll remind me that I’m supposed to pet him first by purring and mewing incessantly and putting his forelegs around my ankles.

One thing that I haven’t been able to teach him, however, is not to poke about my food. He likes to lie on the dining table because the granite is cool, and he insists on getting up on the table even during mealtimes, which results in him sniffing about my food and me trying to swat him away. He also hasn’t learned that my mug is off-limits, so at times I catch him with his head in my mug and drinking happily away from it.

King of the house

King of the house

So we got ourselves a cat.

Yes.

A cat.

I, who have never really been a cat person primarily because I had dogs my whole life, am now the owner of a cat.

I always talked about having some sort of pet after I moved to the new house, because I had grown up with dogs and I missed having that calming presence that only animals can give. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get a dog, because there wouldn’t be anyone at home enough to care for it, so I decided I would get a cat — a Scottish Fold, or a British Shorthair.

Or, because I was ambitious, both. But because I had to be realistic, I settled for just one — for now, at least. And I got this very handsome male Blue Brit — a British Shorthair — at Ikano Power Center’s Pet Safari on Thursday night. I named him Offa, after the 8th-century King of Mercia, because, as Becca puts it, I ‘can’t just be a normal person and name him Blackie or Whiskers’.

So far Offa has been fairly easy to deal with. I wanted this breed particularly because they’re supposed to be more independent and able to do without too much attention and human contact, which works well for me because I’m out working all day. I also find it an added bonus that they’re not a very vocal breed, because I’ve always dreaded having a cat that just yowls and yowls for no apparent reason.

Offa is still trying to adjust to his new surroundings, so initially I had to carry him into the living room so that he wasn’t cowering in a corner of the maid’s room, where I’ve housed him, all the day long. However, he’s now much less timid and running and leaping all over the house by himself. The poor thing got into a fight some time ago and injured his tail, so now it looks like it’s been tied at the end where the fur is just beginning to grow back. Hopefully it won’t be long before he’s completely comfortable in his new home.

First look!