The plan was to wait at least six months before considering getting another pet.
As you know from previous posts I made here, my husband and I lost our dog, Nigel, at the beginning of October. I miss him so much.
Anyway, we lasted less than a month before we got Finley.
Finley is a moggy tabby kitten. We adopted him from Cat Adoption Team. As of this post, he is 14 weeks old, and he has been with us for about four weeks.
Finley is my first experience raising a kitten, and I wanted to try and chronicle some of what it’s been like so far.
As for his “origins” story, he and his four littermates were orphans, just like it is in so many novels. They came from a more rural area 250 miles away from here, transferred from the local humane society to CAT. They were placed in a foster home together until they reached what was considered an adoptable age, past eight weeks and weighing enough to be neutered/spayed. All the kittens were adopted by Instagram followers of their human foster mom except Finley, then named Mickey. So, when we* decided to look at the adoptable cats and kittens at CAT “just for fun,” we discovered his profile.
* Full disclosure: it was my idea to do this.
The way his foster mom described him in his CAT profile made him sound like the perfect kitten for us, and, so far, this does seem to be the case. I think he’d be the perfect kitten for most people.
Basically, once I read through his profile, I couldn’t say no to him. I’ve read elsewhere that kitten personalities may not reflect their adult personalities, but I guess I was willing to take that chance.
I submitted an adoption application.
The next day, we went to the local Mud Bay and got our first round of cat purchases, including a cat condo, and tried to prepare our home for life with a kitten.
Adopting Finley was probably one of the more impulsive things I’ve done.
I suppose there was the option to back out at this point (and future points), to revert back to our plan to wait, but instead I kept buying cat things.
The foster mom approved our application within a few days, and, after a few days more, we had Mickey, aka Finley, in our home. I ended up choosing the new name. “Finley” reminded my husband of Chuck Finley, an alias used by Bruce Campbell’s character in Burn Notice, so he was OK with it. How I chose it is less inspired than that; I went through a list of popular boys’ names on Behind the Name. I narrowed my choices down to “Finley” and another. “Finley” just seemed to fit.
Now that he’s been part of our lives for four weeks, it’s feeling more like this is just the way it is. We have a kitten with all the accompanying joys and responsibilities. The uncertainties don’t feel as vast as they had in the first couple of weeks, when Finley was getting used to this new, strange place, and I was getting used to having a kitten. I quickly appreciated that the experience is always much more confusing than the how-to books and websites can ever prepare you for. The expert advice inevitably misses the nuances of reality.
To close off this post, I thought I might include some of my kitten supply choices, which I did my best to research (links are for reference, to Chewy.com and Amazon.com. I’m not affiliated with either of them). I’m only including ones that are working out so far:
Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Unscented Clumping Clay Litter
[UPDATE 16 December 2021: I’ve discovered that the litter is depositing quite a bit a dust in the vicinity of the box and, no doubt, beyond. This appears to be an issue with clumping litter, in general. Nonetheless, I’d like to try some other brands to see if I can minimize this.]
[SECOND UPDATE 22 December 2021: the dust from Dr. Elsey’s was pretty horrible, six weeks into its trial. Now I’m trying Boxiecat Premium Clumping Cat Litter. It definitely has a “premium” price. However, it appears to less dusty than Dr. Elsey’s, enough to warrant continuing with it.]
Litter scoop: DuraScoop Original Cat Litter Scoop
Litter bags: beyOndGREEN Compostable Cat Litter Large Waste Bags
Litter box: Stainless Steel Litter Box, by Litter-Robot
Litter mat: PetFusion ToughGrip Gray Cat Litter Mat
Handheld vacuum cleaner (to pick up litter): Dirt Devil Scorpion Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Food: Purina Pro Plan LiveClear Kitten Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Cat Food supplemented with Purina Pro Plan Focus Kitten Favorites Variety Pack Canned Cat Food to add more moisture in his diet. I hope Purina Pro comes out with a wet version of its LiveClear line. My understanding is household cats who eat dry kibble as their food source are prone to urinary tract issues because they aren’t getting enough fluid. PET recommended a combination of both kibble and wet food for kittens, kibble for nutritional content and wet food for the fluid content. That’s what I’m trying at present.
Water fountain: PetSafe Creekside Ceramic Pet Fountain. I splurged and got two, one for each level of our place, to make sure he was drinking plenty of water. I’ve dismantled and cleaned them a couple of times already because the surfaces started to feel slimy. My overall plan is clean twice monthly, change the carbon filter monthly, and change the foam filter every two months. Cleaning them is a pain.
Mat for water fountain and food dish: Amazon Basics Waterproof Anti-Slip Silicone Pet Food and Water Bowl Mat and SmithBuilt 24″ x 16″ Large Dog Food Mat (already owned this one).
Cat condo: Vesper Base 32-in Modern Cat Tree & Condo
Scratcher: PetFusion 3-Sided Vertical Cat Scratching Post (got two of these, one for each level)
Tunnels: Frisco Peek-a-Boo Cat Chute Cat Toy and Cat Tunnels for Indoor Cats, one for each level.
Cat wands: PURRfect Leather Bouncer Wand Cat Toy (the best of the three), Ethical Pet Cat Prancer Fleece Frenzy Wand Cat Toy, Frisco Bird Teaser with Feathers Cat Toy
Wool toys: Feltcave Cat Mouse Toy and MEOWFIA Wool Ball Toys
[UPDATE 22 December 2021: he lost interest in the felt balls. He still really likes the mice.]
Cat carrier: We purchased a small one from Mudbay, which I’ve not seen elsewhere, and also MidWest Day Tripper Dog & Cat Backpack from Chewy.com.
Nail clippers: Zen Clipper Pet Nail Clippers. I’m still having difficulties clipping his nails. I’ve tried to do it while he’s sleeping, and I doubt I’m clipping off enough.
Other purchases: Mambe waterproof furniture covers for our chairs and sofa, plus stretch-fit furniture covers for extra protection against claws; a waterproof mattress protector for the bed; Nature’s Miracle products; cat grass.