Saturday, April 25, 2009

Wild Ratio Swings

Since Valentine's Day, our cats-to-humans ratio has gone from 4:2 (the Chaka-Koko-Meeper-Emmett standard) to 5:2 (plus Bowie) to 8:2 (Bowie plus her kittens). As of yesterday morning, we're back to 4:2. We put Bowie and her three new kittens out in the garage. We enjoyed having the kittens in the house; they're still in the Cute phase, while being a month or so from the Cute But Underfoot phase. But we thought it'd be easier to put them outside sooner rather than later, so they wouldn't get adapted to life inside. If they did, it'd seem a bit cruel to put them outside. And, the longer they stayed inside, the more likely we'd get attached to them and let them stay inside. Eight cats inside is too many, even for us; four or five is the solid maximum.

People who don't own cats don't know that having friendly, well-adjusted cats in the house takes a lot of energy. I'm not talking about task-oriented cat maintenance, the changing of litter boxes and feeding; that falls under the major heading of Household Chores. If you have cats, and you want them to be happy, you need to pay attention to them. You can't just ignore them or treat them like pests. And if you want them to be well-adjusted and friendly, you need to do it at least partially on the cats' schedules. If they want attention, you need to pay attention to them, at least most of the time. I know cat owners who disagree with this, but they tend to have cats who are surly, skittish, or invisible. And we don't have the time and energy for eight cats. If we kept the kittens inside and adopted them, we'd pretty quickly find ourselves with a house full of unhappy, surly cats....

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