Saturday, January 22, 2011


I decided that I wasn't giving a very good impression of Bit, our little gray kitty, since most of the time when I mention her name it's because she is tormenting Romeo.  So...  it is time for a spotlight post on Bit.  Because yes, she does pick on Romeo, and has needled him past the point that he wants ANYTHING to do with her, but she still is, most of the time, a very sweet cat.

Many of you have heard the story of how we adopted our first three cats.  We'd been without pets in our lives for so long that we went to the local shelter to get cats after we'd only been moved into our house for a few days.  We got Charlotte and Bit on a Monday, then went back on Thursday to get Annie when I couldn't stop thinking about her.  Well, Bit was our first "pick."

There were so many cats in the shelter that it was heart-breaking.  I doubt that any one of us likes seeing those sad, scared faces in cages, uncertain of their future and not understanding what is happening to them.  I'm not sure of why, but the cat area was PACKED with people that weekend.  It was difficult to navigate through the rows of cages there were so many people...  and I do know that is a good thing!  The shelter volunteers and staff were baffled, but of course pleased, as well.

Jeff noticed Bit, at that time 3 months old, in a cage by herself, so we put her on our list of cats that we wanted to meet. She was so tiny and cute and lost-looking... and he noticed that she was polydactyl!   I was chosen by Charlotte almost immediately, evidenced by the fact that she reached through the cage bars, hooked me with her claws, and yanked me towards her.  So Charlotte went on the list.  I knew that we were probably going to take every cat that we met, so I insisted that we not add any others to the list unless one of these two most definitely did not work out for some reason.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, the cat area was totally crowded with people anxious to adopt, so there were no cat meeting and greeting rooms available.  The staff hesitantly suggested that we use one of the rooms on the dog side of the shelter, and to get things moving, we readily agreed.

They brought Bit in first, and before I'd even sat down in the provided chair, she'd darted out of the volunteer's arms and climbed up onto Jeff's shoulder for protection... the barking dogs had her very unnerved.  I remember meeting Jeff's eyes from across the room and knew that there was no way in hell that he was NOT going to take her home.  The following picture wasn't taken at the shelter, but shortly afterward.  Jeff's shoulder was one of her favorite perches until she started to get too big for it.

She was, and is, daddy's little girl.  We also call her the "pretty, pretty princess," because that is what she so clearly thinks that she is.

That is not to say that she doesn't enjoy some good "mommy time" as well.  She tends to prefer to snuggle up to me at night... my theory is that I tend to pick a position and stay in it for the rest of the night, while Jeff thrashes about sometimes.

As a kitten, she was alarming to me.  It had been a very long time since we'd had cats, but for me, even longer since I'd had a kitten in the house.  I'd completely forgotten how much chaos one can spread in her wake...  There were many reasons that we went back to get Annie that Thursday.  Mostly because I had done some research and found out that Annie'd been at the shelter (with stints out in a foster home) for over a year, and I started to feel bad that she wasn't getting chosen by anyone.  All because she was shy with strangers, not because she was a bad cat.  But another reason is that we quickly learned that Charlotte was NOT going to tolerate any kitten shenanigans, thank you very much, and did not want anything to do with Bit.  But if Charlotte wasn't entertaining Bit, and we couldn't, due to work, chores, or whatever, who was going to keep her out of trouble?  I knew that nothing was guaranteed, but Annie's description on the shelter's website said that her former foster mom had said that she was good with the other cats.

Luckily, Bit and Annie became best friends, and almost immediately.  Annie was considered a "young adult" at the time, since she was not quite two years old yet, but she still had enough of the kitten in her that she wanted a playmate.  And yet most of the time, her comparative good sense kept Bit out of trouble.

Most of the time.

A friend of mine had recently taught me how to knit, and I had a project that I was working on.  I tended to lay it down on the edge of the stairs when I needed a break, so that I could later either grab it and take it upstairs with me, or easily get it to put in my work bag.  The knitting project lay there, safe, for the better part of two weeks.

Bit found it one fateful day, and ate almost two feet of yarn, swallowing it whole.  We didn't realize it had happened until later that night when I saw about a foot of it hanging out of her rear end.  So off we went to the all night emergency vet.  The vet was able to... ahem...extract the yarn without resorting to surgery, and sent us home with instructions to just make sure that she continued to eat, drink, and eliminate properly.

Lesson learned.  I picked up my yarn, and did a sweep of the house to make sure that I didn't have any other yarn remnants lying about.  Then all of it got dumped into a big tupperware box with a lid and put into the back of the closet, with the door closed.

But a month later, Bit managed to find, up in the attic (which has easy access to the cats, alas) a ball of string/twine stuff inside of a box, on a shelf.  She drug it out of the box and proceeded to strew it all over the attic.  And eat about a foot of it, of course.

Back to the emergency vet we went... again without having to resort to surgery.  But this time, the vets were looking at us kind of oddly.  One kindly suggested that we might want to try to keep her out of yarn and string.  Umm... yeah.  I think that I was paranoid about her getting into some kind of string that I'd completely forgotten about for MONTHS afterward.

 As she gets a little older, I worry about her less.  She seems like she might be growing into her common sense.  I don't invite tragedy by leaving yarn lying about, but I don't worry that she's going to magically open one of my drawers and eat something that she shouldn't.

We think that she has some Maine Coon in her, though of course there is no way to really be certain.  We have no idea of how she got to the shelter, who brought her in, or why.  But I did see a picture of a Maine Coon that could have been Bit, in the face.  And after some research, we learned that her kittenish behavior (even as an adult), her trilling noises, even her tendency to flop over onto her side without looking at what she is flopping on to (with some hilarious results, I might add) are all traits shared by many Maine Coons.  That and the fact that she's polydactyl.   She's kind of small for one - at a little over age 2, she is still only a little over 8 pounds - but we did read that Maine Coons don't reach their full growth until around age 5.  Maine Coon people, is this true?

When I had my gallbladder taken out a year and a half ago, she was my constant companion.  I can't think of too many times that she wasn't perched on my lap or at least next to me while I was recovering.

She's an awesome cat.  My only complaint about her is that she is so bent on making Romeo's life a misery.  As long as we keep the two of them separated, she's an affectionate, gentle, compliant cat (well, as compliant as cats can be.)  I look forward to hearing her excited trill when she first sees me when I come home from work.  If she's TRULY excited to see me, the trill is punctuated with her bushy tail shooting straight up into the air like an over-caffeinated exclamation point.

So now you've gotten a glimpse into our lives with Bit.  It's never, ever been dull.  For those who read my previous post about wallpapering and cats, yes, she is the kitten in question.  She's so very sweet...  I think that I'll go in and pick her up for cuddles now.


  1. I've written about the dangers of string for cats before -- many pet owners don't realize it can be fatal. I'm so glad it turned out okay for Bit and she didn't need to have surgery. She's a beautiful kitty.

  2. O hai! Ur kittehs are very cyoot. :)

  3. I loved reading about Bit! Still sorry that she constantly bothers Romeo, but she does sound cute. I loved the story of going back and getting Annie. Thanks for sharing! I needed an "awww" smile this morning.

  4. I always love to read how kitties and their families come together.

    The way you ended up with more than one is sort of what happened with us; we saw pictures of two, wanted two and got three because we just couldn't leave the third one there by itself.

    And then we got two more after that, almost the same way...not being able to leave one by itself.

    And one more (to finally make 6) came--but he came alone.

    We do think they have more fun when there are more than one to play with.

  5. Me loved reading about Bit! She would get along well with my new companion, the Brat Kozmo? me came to visit after reading about you on PBU.
    Pneleope TheCatFromHell

  6. We had a Maine Coon and one who was at least half. I often laugh because it seems we chose a breed of cat who is like having a dog in a cat's body, while the Greyhounds are like having a cat in a dog's body! :P

    Flopping over, well, Alex once leapt into the open toilet (thank heaven it was clean) and several times into the bathtub with me. This always resulted in GREAT indignity on his part! He also once stood up to a really obnoxious toddler at our house (whose parents refused to rein him in) and just boxed the kid silly while standing up on his back paws. He'd just had enough! I can still hear his funny "me-ow-ow-ow-ow" as he trotted between the doors in the house, wanting outside and angry as heck that it had not stopped raining or snowing outside yet when he got to the other door! He was a funny cat! I predict you'll have many funny stories of Bit. Alex lived well past twenty years old and died a funny old man, still sassing us to the end. He simply passed away due to old age, sleeping in his sunny spot.

  7. We loved that story! Bit is so sweet! We are happy you went back to get Annie too. They are all very lucky kitties! It does sound like Bit is working hard at using up some of her nine lives, though...!

  8. Your kitties are precious! The story about Bit and the string reminded me of a cat we had once that ingested a needle and thread. Fortunately, it passed with no complications, but I've always been careful since!

  9. Bit sounds like quite a handful! Also a big sweetheart. The naughty ones are the funnest, I think.

  10. Hi. Just popped over from PBU.

    Bit sounds like a great cat! Maybe in time she will get along better with Romeo. Having a happy harmonious fully integrated household is a joy. I think I take for granted that my four cats all get along wonderfully!

    The stories about the yarn are certainly good reminders! My Maine Coon has a boot lace that he carries around everywhere like his security blanket. He loves it. Thankfully he nor the other cats have tried to eat it!

  11. I liked the story about how you picked Bit. It is so heart breaking to see all the cats at the shelter and know they have little chance of getting a home. Especially the adult cats which is why I now have 3 adult cats at home. On the other hand they keep the three dogs in line!

  12. Enjoyed learning more about Bit!