I’m sorry, I’m thinking about cats again.

So you must have seen it… that hilarious staged video of a young girl making an eHarmony video? She gets very emotional about cats and they cut and edit the video and create a crazy song about cats?… No? If not, you have to watch it….

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sP4NMoJcFd4

So that explains the title!… ‘WE LOVE CATS!’

This blog post is about cats, or more specifically cat in flats and our cat being like our child. Rukia is our little babe. She is our daughter and a little princess. Like most cats she owns our flat! We are simply her servants! Although Rukia is her official name, she gets called ‘ella’, ‘mi niña’, ‘monkey girl’, ‘princess’, ‘prince’ and ‘moo moo’. She is part of our life and she is a Cramuel!

So, let’s start from the beginning… I was living in a shared house with 5 other gay guys in Cambridge! Yes 5! The landlord and his boyfriend had two cats. Several months after living in this shared house one cat fell pregnant. She had 2 beautiful kittens which I called ‘Gizmo’ and ‘Toni’. Gizmo was named after the famous Gremlin and Toni was inspired by the Frosties mascot, Tony the tiger. As she was a girl though we spelt it with an ‘i’. I fell in love with Gizmo especially, he was naughty and daring. A real character. A few months after they were born, Gizmo and Toni were sold to friends of the landlord. MY HEART WAS BROKEN! I knew deep down this would happen but I was so happy having them around the house, I was really, REALLY sad to see them leave. Before this happened, the other cat ‘Lily’ also fell pregnant. After Gizmo and Toni were sold I promised myself I would not get attached to the new kittens!

Lily had a litter of 4 kittens. Beautiful grey and white kittens. I upheld the promise I made to myself – I WOULD NOT GET ATTACHED! And for a few weeks it worked. I avoided them at all costs! After a few weeks though they started becoming adventurous and climbing on my lap and running around the house. I fell in love – AGAIN! I named them ‘Smokey’, ‘Yoda’, ‘Rukia’ and ‘Renji’. Smokey was ash coloured all over. Yoda, well… looked like Yoda in facial features but was grey and white striped. Renji was also striped but browner. Renji was a male character from a popular Japanese manga I liked called ‘Bleach’. Rukia looked just like Yoda but a girl. Rukia is another character from Bleach, but female (and bad ass!).

A month or two later, Smokey and Yoda were sold! I WAS DISTRAUGHT. I couldn’t do this again so I bought ‘Rukia’ from my landlord impulsively one evening. I decided I would rather live the rest of my life responsible for her than I would saying goodbye. Shortly after, I also bought Renji for my very best friend Katy for her birthday. Possibly the best present I have ever given her. It turned out Renji was actually a girl, so after adoption Katy called her ‘Tily’ after he mum Lily.

So began the story of Rukia and Me. Rukia’s full name was Rukia Kuchki. In the manga she was this beautiful but deadly girl and a secret softie. Rukia is exactly the same! She fits her name perfectly. It was clear early on that I had imprinted on Rukia, and even now I think she considers me her father. She would climb up my jeans and t-shirt and sit on my shoulder as I cooked. She would sit and play for hours. You could never shut a door on her. She wanted to wonder around but she had to be able to get back in to my bedroom to see me. If not she would cry for hours at my door. I quickly got used to sleeping with the door open and she would sleep in my room with me. I could (and still can) pick her up like a baby and cradle her. I can wrap her around my chin and call her my ‘cat beard’. She is so trusting. As long as she is the focus of attention, she is happy!

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This all sounds like the perfect little kitten. But early on she did live up to her deadly name. She would kill rats, mice and birds. She even took on pigeons 3 times her size! She was a killing machine. Whilst still living in the shared house where she was born, we had to put a collar on her with a bell. It was an early warning for all of neighbouring creatures! It helped!

We lived this life for about 1 – 1.5 years. Then The Cramuel’s happened… Rukia now had to share me.

I was spending a lot of time around Samuel’s when we first dated. Several days at a time. I would just go home to get clothes and make sure Rukia was OK. My flat mates were great and looked after her. But I felt very bad being the absent father. I was also paying to rent a room I was hardly in. That’s when me and Samuel decided I should move in.

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Ironically Rukia was the first to move, about 2 weeks before me. It made sense as I had to finish a full months tenancy but as I was always around Samuel’s, so she moved in first. The move was OK! I know most people recommend that you keep a cat indoors for 5 weeks before letting them out. However, Rukia is very clever. The first few days she disappeared into hiding. She often cried, I think because she was totally unfamiliar with her surroundings. She would cower and skim walls and skirting boards and tentatively explore. We careful watched her as she adjusted. Thankfully Samuel works from home a lot and could keep an eye on her. After 3 days though you would have never known she just moved. She was strutting around the place like she owned it! However, coming from a house with a garden (which she was always in), being stuck inside clearly aggravated her. You could see she wanted to escape. So, after adjusting so well we braved it and let her out. She was absolutely fine!

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Not much notable happening during this time except THE FLEAS! OMG, the fleas were terrible. We battled with them for about a year. Rukia did occasionally have fleas before I moved in with Samuel. But here she got them all the time. We brought the best de-flea treatment and applied it like clockwork. They were getting more and more out of control and we kept finding flea eggs on anything material based. We brought spray and aerosols and frequently decontaminated areas. A few times I even sprayed the entire house from top to bottom. Still they came back! It was definitely the dark days. We decided to start showering Rukia. As you can imagine she hated it! She smelt great though (we washed her with Treseme) but cried the whole time. We never did get it fully under control, as many fleas as we killed, she picked back up again. We think she got them outside in the garden because the minute we moved out to our current flat, the fleas disappeared and we haven’t seen a single flea or egg since! She was also very naughty and scratched the wall paper in the hallway!

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Then we moved again, the second time in Rukia’s 3 years on this planet. This time to a flat! She did the usual hiding and tentative exploring but this time we didn’t have to worry about letting her out! We are on the 4th floor! This is something we worry about for 2 reasons; 1) is the lack of outdoor activity harming Rukia and 2) will she ever jump? She seems pretty content though. We play with her and let her explore the hallways and she loves watching the world go by from the balcony. I think the key is stimulation, Rukia requires much more attention now. But lazer pens, tunnels and towers are great! I think she is happy. Previously she had been bullied by other cats when she ventured outside but now she owns this place. What she lacks in outdoor action we try to make up with love and toys.

There is one thing about Rukia which I think a lot of cat owners can relate too…. she vomits ALL THE TIME! So much that I often call her ‘pukia’. We were forced to strip Rukia’s diet back to certain cat food brands and types. Rukia is very fussy. She likes jelly cat food which has been in the fridge. She likes fish flavoured biscuits and she LOVES Weebox cat yogurts. She still vomits though. We also found smaller portions and clean bowls help reduce vomiting. It is possibly the most frustrating thing about Rukia. She has vomited in some really awkward places, like in-between wood floor panels, down walls and over furniture.

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If you have a cat and any of this sounds familiar… perhaps try our top tips below!

CATS IN FLATS:
1] Towers – Rukia loves her tower. She sleeps on it and its the best scratching post and saves almost all of our furniture from becoming claw sharpeners.
2] Lazer Pens – You’re tired but the cat isn’t. Lazer pens are an easy way to entertain your cat without having to get up!
3] Variety  – If you can, allow the cat access other area’s. We let Rukia roam the halls and for a good 6 months we even let her call for and visit our neighbours (who adored her, but they now have a cat which Rukia hates lol).

CATS THAT PUKE:
1] Give them dry food – we notice Rukia is 10 times more likely to puke wet food over dry
2] Small portions – we notice that when Rukia eats, she barely slows down to draw breath. Smaller portions and more regular feeding help us control how fast she eats
3] Clean bowls – keep all food bowls clean. It seems when Rukia has old food, it definitely leads to vomiting. Oh and hairs too. A hair in the bowl is not good!

CATS WITH FLEAS:
1] Showers – cats hate them but so do fleas. Water can kills fleas just as well as chemical treatment
2] Change – change the environment. They may be from the garden or another neighbour’s garden
3] Persistance – Don’t give up. Keep tackling them everyday if possible. If needed seek help from the professionals

NAUGHTY TRAITS:
1] Change your voice – cats can’t understand what you say but they regonise how you say it. Change the tone, pitch or volume. They will understand
2] Water – it’s no surprise cats hate water. A small spray can tell them off, minus the guilt
3] Be consistent – if you don’t want the cat on the table, tell them off EVERY TIME. They will get the message

SPECIAL CONNECTION:
1] Get them young – Rukia was born in my house. It’s the closest bond I have ever had with an animal. I know some would argue that plenty of cats need homes, which is true, and you shouldn’t encourage everyone to get the kittens… but I have never had a cat like Rukia and I think we are so close because she has known me since birth
2] Pick them up as kittens – Get them used to affection and hugs, it becomes the norm
3] Let them get away with some stuff – pick your battles, we let Rukia rule the roost, but in return we get kisses (well… when she feels like it lol)

Craig

 

 

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