What do you do when you have the opportunity to have a kitten for as short or as long of a period as you want? There are a couple of things to take into consideration when this happens… actually, no there aren’t. You say yes, especially when said kitten looks like this little furball:
This is how Hobbes, who my boyfriend and I fondly refer to as our “rent-a-kitten,” came into our lives via a friend from work.
I have to admit, I didn’t know that much about cats when I took him in. I’d heard all the typical stereotypes, that they can be little monsters, that they are fiercely independent, and that they sleep a lot. During our time with Hobbes, I learned that yes, cats can be all of those things, but our little guy was so much more!
Here are five things I learned about cats while caring for Hobbes:
1. You can buy them toys, but it will be pointless
I joke about accepting Hobbes without any thought because he was so cute, but anybody who knows me knows this is a lie. I’ve been nicknamed ‘Cautious Christina’ for a reason, I over-prepare for everything and do not take my responsibilities lightly.
As a result, it was very important to me that Hobbes be happy with us. I diligently cleaned his litter box twice a day, got up extra early in the morning to play with him on days when I’d be away at work, and bought various pet items and toys to make him comfortable.
The toys and accessories went mostly unused. The pet bed? He preferred to lie on my chest. Or above my head on my pillow. Or on the back of the couch, or basically anywhere else. His favourite toys? Not always the ones I bought (although he conveniently was a big fan of the balls with bells in them during the middle of the night). However, an old shoelace, empty toilet paper roll, or scrunched up ball of paper? Best toys ever.
One of his favourite toys to this day is the seal from a juice container. ‘Nuff said.
2. You can train a cat!
People talk about how independent and aloof cats are and act like you can’t train them, but I’d have to disagree! You know those Whiskas Temptations commercials where the cats come from far and wide when you shake the bag of treats? I suspect they’re not that far from the truth.
When Hobbes was a kitten, my boyfriend trained him to stand on top of his scratching post for a treat (he eventually got too big to continue doing this). I even managed to teach him to sit! I won’t lie, I was pretty proud. Snapchat evidence was sent to friends.
3. They create trouble in ways you never would have expected
They say that cats are curious creatures and Hobbes is no exception. We tried many, many times to discourage him from jumping up on surfaces in the kitchen but he is nothing if not persistent. One day, despite our best efforts, he jumped up on the stove and singed one of the pads on his paws. What ensued was a trip to the vet where he returned with a wrapped up paw and a “cone of shame”. He was not pleased but managed to avoid the stove for at least a few days after the incident.
4. They are highly entertaining
People talk about how cats just sleep all day. It may be because Hobbes is young, but he is definitely active and the stuff that he gets into is a never-ending source of amusement. For example, Hobbes has a strange obsession with water sources. He never shows any interest in drinking water from anywhere other than his water dish, it seems he just likes to monitor areas where water comes from. He could easily stare into the toilet for several minutes. Any and all water sources must be investigated, including sinks and bathtubs. Not sure where he is? Just flush the toilet, he’ll come.
He’s also a big fan of bags, boxes, staring out the window, and alternating between destroying and wearing my slippers.
5. There’s nothing like a good cat cuddle
While Hobbes was a kitten, I tried to create a routine with him so he would know what to expect. One of these things was morning playtime, which was an attempt to burn off some of his energy and keep him active since I would be away at work during the day. Except that I myself am not that active in the morning, and eventually it got to a point where instead of playing he would climb on top of me and purr and purr and purr.
The new routine became “morning cuddle time”, and he’s kept with it to this day, meowing in the morning to let you know that it’s time. Some might think it’s annoying to wake up to a cat meowing for attention, and while on occasion I’ve found that I do need more sleep and morning cuddle time needs to be delayed, I have to say that there’s nothing like having a bundle of fur purr next to you in pure satisfaction.
Hobbes has since returned to live with my friend where he has other animals to play with and additional water sources to investigate, but we look forward to his occasional visits and morning cuddle time (which, during his most recent stay, I learned can easily turn into morning, noon and evening cuddle time). I learned that, like his namesake from the comic series Calvin & Hobbes, he is mischievous and a little bit of a troublemaker, but at the end of the day is a big bundle of love who just wants to be your best friend.