Friday, June 26, 2009

Introducing Artemis!

Last night I went to the home of a family in Kiryat Moshe whose cat, Vanilla, had had a litter of kittens. The kittens were now 9 weeks old, recently weaned, and looking for homes. They'd been raised mostly indoors but allowed to wander outside when they wanted.

The litter had four kittens in total, but when I got there two were absent: the one female, Spotty -- who had gone AWOL about an hour earlier -- and a male named Blondie who the family were planning to keep, and who was roaming around outside. Since I preferred a male cat (after having been told they are easier to care for and more affectionate), it didn't matter to me about Spotty or Blondie. I focused my attention on the two male kittens who were sleeping on the couch.

I had brought a toy with me, and one of the kittens, named Blackie after his beautiful black and white stripes (you can see this family is quite literal in their pet naming) woke up and had the time of his life with this toy. He scampered all over the apartment, playing with the little stuffed mouse. It was quite entertaining.

Meanwhile his brother, Angel, would not wake up. He simply refused to be bothered. I could totally get that, but it was no way for me to evaluate his personality or energy levels. So I said I'd take Blackie.

In the few minutes after I chose Blackie, a few things happened:

1- Spotty was found in a cabinet and turned out to be nowhere near as pretty as Blackie. A weird mixture of stripes and spots, and something clearly wrong with one of her eyes.
2- Blondie came in from outside.
3- Spotty and Blondie were quite curious about the toy, and tried to get a view.
4- Blackie became extremely possessive of his toy and would hiss at the other cats when they tried to approach him.
5- Spotty licked my fingers so sweetly. Awwwww!
6- The owner was talking about what a nice personality Spotty has.
7- When I went to pick up Blackie to put him in the kitty carrier, he hissed at me and tried to scratch.

I decided that Blackie can stay with this family, and keep the toy, because he's a lost cause! And so Spotty came home with me.

I have renamed her Artemis, after the Greek goddess of the hunt. The name was Liza's idea, and suits this cat nicely.

She is twice as old as Siggy was, and twice as large. When I brought her home, Liza said "she's huge!" Our guest, Liz, who never met Siggy, said "She's tiny!"

She's also so much more energetic that only now do we realize how sick Siggy must have been from the day he arrived. Siggy would just walk around the apartment, begging to be held. The most energetic thing he ever did was climb up the bedskirt in Liza's room to her bed.

Artemis, meanwhile, chases her balls of aluminum foil, she chases the bottle cap she found, she chases her string, she does pushups on the dining-room chairs (because she just can't quite hoist herself up enough to the seat), and she eats without being prodded. She also is fond of naps in air-conditioned rooms, preferably curled up next to a human. And she likes being held for a minute or two and petted, but after a little time she decides she has other things to do. In other words, she's a normal cat - and quite a delightful one at that.

The vet came over today and pronounced that Artemis has worms (normal for a cat who'd been outside a lot) and an infection in her left eye (which explains why her eye looked yucky and she has guck around her nose), but all that can be healed.

What I like to say about Artemis is that she's no beauty queen, but she has a great personality. :-)

Pictures and video to be posted next week.

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