T found some baby pictures of the boy cats and I am on a rampage of nostalgia, remembering them when they were wee little kittens.
We went to visit them — and their equally fluffy mother cat — and brought them home the same night. They were little grey puffballs then, small enough to fit on T’s lap together with room left over.
I remember thinking — saying, even — that I couldn’t wait for them to grow into their personalities, because at that point, they were… mostly babies, adorable but not really doing a whole lot except being hyper and adorable.
Drake & Gatsby had been such personality-filled old men that having these little infant kitties around again was, well, weird.
But they pretty quickly developed or showed us personalities, probably even before we named them (They were Thing One and Thing Two for a while, or Lefty and Righty for the arm that has a full white sleeve (As you look at them, if I recall correctly.).)
Theo missed his family. He’d run all up and down the house looking for them, and if he lost Oli, he’d cry for him. It made it easy to find them; I just had to find one and wait for either the other to cry (if I had Oli) or the one I had to cry for his brother (if it was Theo).
While they don’t care about mirrors as adults, as a kitten, Theo kept looking around the back to see where the other cat – presumably another littermate – was hiding. It was both adorable and heart-breaking.
I don’t think he remembers his other siblings anymore, but if Oli goes outside without him (if Theo is outside WITH Oli, Oli is more likely to run off and hide in the hedgerow), Theo will stare out the window and make worried noises.
Our house is sort of rambling and definitely old (for a house in the US; ~150 years old), so losing them was a real concern. They were so tiny! We taught them to come for food right away, and their names (well, the short forms), although they don’t come to “here, kitty kitty” or even know that that’s supposed to be about them.
I was more mindful with them as kittens than I was with Drake – or with kittens we had when I was growing up. I tried to (still do) use the same words for the same things, so they know more words than most cats, although, being cats, they still choose not to answer when they don’t feel like it.
And we absolutely handled them all the time as babies. Like any time they wandered by. Oli & Theo not only tolerate being carried around, they like it – and Oli asks for it. And both of them will sit on T’s lap (I like to sit cross-legged, you see, and they think that makes the lap Wrong. Also, T is skinny and tall and I am less of both of those things & thus have less lap 😉 )
The one thing I regret in their early development is that I appear to have taught Oli to scream for his supper.
Which he does.
Even as I’m opening the can of food and taking him to his bowl.
Can’t win ’em all, right?
They’re still adorable baby kitties, 7-1/2 years later.