We headed over to a cage full of active little jet black and sable kittens where the woman was allowing passersby to play with and pet them. She told us she had a special deal for us. These kittens were destined for the local pound; where they do their best but still manage to euthanize more animals than they adopt every year due to the sheer volume of animals abandoned in a city this size, so on that day she was giving away those kittens free of charge. In fact they weren't even her kittens, an elderly friend had been keeping them after their mother had been run over before they were weaned. She had bottle fed them to keep them alive and now that they were 6 weeks and into more mischief the lady could not continue to tend to them. Sadly the decision was made to find them proper homes or let them go to the pound. You can't fault the old lady, she did what she could and was probably making the right decision to part with them as she had cats of her own to tend to. At any right Malcolm's mind was made up right then and there and it didn't take much effort to convince the man-thing and I either. We were getting a kitten.
We set about purchasing the necessities for our new little friend while Malcolm selected the perfect specimen from the litter (or rather our new pet chose him as they often do). The cat lady examined and proclaimed our choice to be a male, and we were off to the car with huge fluffy flakes of snow falling down upon him as he huddled into the fabric we had purchased for the school project. After some discussion we settled on the name Inigo. Of course as these things usually go . . . we began to have doubts about the cat lady's assessment that Inigo was a male. . . . in fact she was wrong. Inigo is definitely a female, but the name is still funny and it's still hers. We quickly discovered a few other things about our new family member as well. She was, and remains an extremely active high energy cat. The kind that likes to sit on your shoulder (earning her the nickname 'parrot kitty') & make robotic bird-like keening noises as opposed to the standard meow. We began googling for ways to keep her entertained as the usual kitty fare was not cutting it. We found many articles talking about cats with greater needs for play, those that tended to be rougher and more demanding of their human counterparts. One breed in particular was noted for these traits and also having strange vocal patterns and even riding around on their owners shoulders, greeting them at the door. . and a number of other weird things we had attributed to Inigo's particular upbringing. It was the Bombay. We googled Bombay kittens and hit the images tab. Sweet baby cheesus! That's our cat!
Inigo; severely pissed off at my attempts to capture her with her eyes open :P
With the exception of a few wrongly placed images on that page. . . yeah. Bombay's are known as black patent kitties with copper eyes. They are extremely high energy, needing constant attention from their owners and often behave more like dogs than cats. They're densely muscled hunters of the domestic landscape that attach themselves to their people like velcro, and it's the truth. I cannot walk anywhere in the house without Inigo being under foot. Which has led to me nearly breaking my neck on the stairs more than a few times in the dark of the night as she slips between my legs. She is now approximately 10 months old and though physically nearly fully matured she is still more active than the average kitten. Constantly stealing objects from around the house to hunt and fetch, and finding trouble whenever boredom sets in. It's a challenge to keep her occupied, not because she loses interest in her toys but because they still never seem to be enough activity for her. When she's entertained and fulfilled she's docile and friendly. . but when she's bored and under-stimulated. . there is hell to pay. The claws come out and every movement in the home must be tracked and attacked. She is not behaving in an aggressive vicious manner. She is playing and interacting the only way she knows how, but that doesn't make it hurt any less when her claws sink into your ankle from under the cover of your bed. She climbs on any and everything and jumps about like a kitty possessed. She needs near constant entertaining.
So this weekend we devoted some time and research to finding ways to better fulfill Inigo's needs. We started by purchasing a new litter box to handle her aggressive kicking and digging and some more kitty treats, while on the hunt for the two items we had settled on as necessary habitat requirements for our active little friend.
#1 - A cat tree. A nice tall piece of furniture all her own for scratching, climbing, chewing, jumping, and sleeping upon.
#2 - A new interactive toy for high energy cats.
Cat trees are found plentiful in pet stores across the city, but they come with some pretty hefty price tags. We've seen them in the size we want anywhere from $200 and up. This weekend the best we found was on sale for an incredible half price and still $119 plus tax. I had brought some shipping tubes home from work so the decision was made . . . we would make our own. So far we have spent $10 on sisal rope for the scratching post and $12 on a ridiculously dense shag carpet to cover the platforms. We will scavenge the platform and base from discarded wood and build the supports from pvc the man-thing can salvage on the cheap from work.
in progress material shot
I promise more pics will be posted as the project progresses! So far the materials seem to be a hit with Inigo. The rope was immediately attractive and she's fascinated by the deep pile of shag. Hopefully the finished cat tree will give her a healthy outlet for energy and save us a good couple hundred dollars while we're at it.
Of course with the extra savings from the cat tree we were able to splurge on item #2, the toy she needs to keep her entertained and active while the humans are working and schooling all day long. Enter the Bergan Turbo Track! This thing is the internet darling of cat toys! Even the negative reviews of this toy are rated 3 stars and favorable to say the least. I had to search high and low to find a couple of reviews stating that it just wasn't a hit with any cats. We were unable to purchase this specific toy at any local retailers so we ended up ordering 3 of them from Amazon.com. It was a little pricey to have them shipped from the states but we are really anticipating great returns of enjoyment & entertainment from this one!
This toy looks epic!
I cannot wait to get this thing in the mail and set it up in any one of it's many configurable fashions, fun for the whole family; but most importantly . . . fun for Inigo. If any thing can keep her busy while we're not around this thing will! Anything that moves is infinitely fascinating to her, tracking., chasing, wrestling. . . . check, check, and check! Even if she uses it only 5 minutes out of every hour, that's 40 minutes of all out play while the humans are away! Cannot wait to see her go at it! It's going to be a good week to be a cat in this house!