If it has done absolutely nothing else, taking care of an infant kitten has convinced me, beyond the vaguest shadow of a doubt, that I should never, ever, ever reproduce. Because you know that instinct that tells most mothers not to eat their babies, that makes them actually enjoy dealing with poop and messes and all that? Yeah, utterly lacking here. umbran
says it's hormonal, and if she were actually flesh of my flesh I would feel differently, but I think he's just trying to make me feel better.
Moxie is still adorable, of course, and I still love her. And she's getting bigger, and starting to look and act more like a cat. The only problem is that some of the things we think of as normal cat behavior - like, say, eating solid food, or using the litterbox - are learned behaviors. And with no other cats to teach her, she is in the process of failing to do either of these things.
Bottle-feeding a teeny, half-pound, semi-functional infant, and helping her go to the bathroom because she's too small to do it herself, is charming and pathos-laden and acceptable, at first. But after a few weeks, and after that kitten triples in size and is clearly quite capable of doing anything she darn well pleases, it loses both the charm and the pathos, and rapidly becomes both frustrating and frightening. You find yourself worrying whether she will actually ever figure either of these things out, and engaging in activities you never thought you would, like holding said kitten over the litterbox as your other cat uses it, saying, 'See? Uncle Percy knows how to pee in the potty like a big boy!' before realizing that 1) she can't understand a word you're saying and 2) you might just be going utterly mad.
There is also the small problem that a longhaired kitten with problems that revolve around food going both in and out can generate more mess in less time, pound for pound, than any other life form on this planet, as I discovered last night. After a long, frustrating, and mostly unsuccessful attempt to get her to eat some solid food that left both her and I liberally coated in Science Diet Kitten Turkey and Giblet Entree, I washed her in the sink (much to her chagrin), cleaned her playpen and put down a fresh towel, and set her in there with a fresh dish of food for the night. She promptly walked through the food, then knocked it over, tracking it over her entire sleeping area. I sighed, wiped her feet, took up the towel and put down a clean one, then went downstairs to get a second dish for some formula for her. Then I went back to her room, bent over to set down the dish, and realized that she had, in the three minutes I was gone, peed right on the middle of her clean towel.
I believe that was when I started making strange noises, and commenting on retroactive abortion. umbran
tried to placate me with some homily about motherhood being a tie that binds; I retaliated that that was only true because so many of the substances involved were unreasonably sticky and/or gloppy.
She's doing better today; she actually ate without one of us having to pry her tiny jaws open. If I can convince her that the little sandbox in her room is not, in fact, just a teething tool, we'll be golden. In the meantime.... it's a good thing she's cute.( Photographic proof of said cuteness hidden here.... )