Adopt kittens in pairs, they said.
It’s not more work, they said.
Raising two kittens is like raising one adult cat, they said.
They were obviously not neurodivergent.
Can neurotypicals please stop romanticizing taking on more than you can without straight up implying that neurodivergent people shouldn’t take on anything if they’re disabled?
Oh, you say, then why did you adopt a kitten??
Because where else was she to go? I wanted the chance to bond with my cat sooner rather than later. I also didn’t want her to be impregnated by her brothers because I decided to wait too long??
Galaxy, along with her siblings, was dumped on a guy’s property in Ben Wheeler.
It’s like I have a sign that says drop your unwanted pets here.
He cares for the adult cats and dogs, and gives away the kittens. Let’s call this guy Bob, because it’s easier to reference and I don’t remember his actual name?
Going by the vet’s age approximation based on her lack of incisors, the age she and her siblings were dumped would have been about five weeks. At the time, I was stressed from moving so I didn’t realize how long I had been saying she was five weeks.
Bob gave my grandmother and me dibs.
She decided to take the white cat with orange tips, the black calico, and the orange tabby. I actually requested to have two — she’d designated the white one mine, and I wanted the solid black one — but she said one was going to be a handful. I ultimately did adopt two — the white one and the black calico. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I don’t find white cats especially beautiful and that I’ve a soft spot for black cats, because she thought the white cat one was so me. She also thought the white cat was a girl, but he was not.
The black calico was called a tortie when I took the two kittens to the vet. I named her Galaxy.
The term kitty spice latte originates from her brother, the white cat with orange tips, because my first thought when I saw him was Christian girl Autumn + pumpkin spice lattes. I was actually going for a Spice Girl name, before I knew he was male.
Bob’s brother adopted the black male kitten.
The white cat, who I named Narumi, then Supernova (Nova) because I didn’t want to have to constantly explain the Japanese name to white people living in small towns — then Leo, because Nova sounds too much like no and he just responded to it better. He looked a lot like the Meowth Pokemon, but I disliked that as a name.
Behavioral + territorial issues
Leo’s coloring was perceived as Siamese coloring. I’m not one for stigmatizing cat breeds or anything, but his behavior raised a lot of red flags for me as a neurodivergent person who has also experienced a lot of trauma.
- He demanded constant attention and would misbehave in order to get it.
- He was vocal, while I was in autistic burnout and spent a couple weeks unable to speak most of the time.
- Although I did train it out of him via redirecting him to scratching posts, he clawed my legs and used them as a scratching post.
- Subtle changes in my personal appearance caused him to freak out. I have dissociative identity disorder, and alters have different body chemistry. Cats can sense subtle changes in body chemistry, so even the most minor of switches caused him to freak.
- I have year-round allergies. Every time I coughed, sneezed or blew my nose, he jumped into the scaredy cat pose, and attempts to bond started over.
- Just having moved into my second apartment, I would obviously be unpacking and getting furniture. After I let them into my room after building and making my bed, he went bonkers until I got the red plaid throw blanket out of the dryer and could suckle it to sleep.
Human = territory
The final straw was his jealousy. He’d attack my phone and water bottle while they were in my hand, but I was more concerned for Galaxy. I tried to spend equal time with the both of them, but Galaxy had imprinted on me and Leo wanted nothing to do with me after I so much as pet Galaxy. He would straight up attack her, and she would snarl at him to let her go in vain. I’m not a fan of spraying cats with water, but it was the only thing that got him off of her. He would stay on her for a good five minutes. I’m well aware of when kittens are play fighting versus when the aggression is real.
Christmas Eve, I realized I couldn’t do it anymore because the whole thing was stressing me out and causing me to cry. I was terrified of him most of the time. I couldn’t separate them due to living in a one-bedroom apartment, when I put him in the bathroom, he’d cry and I’d just feel terrible. That night, I shut myself in the bathroom because I needed time alone to consider whether I was making the right decision. He’d been wanting outside, anyway, trying to run out the door every time I opened it.
I was hesitant until I opened the bathroom door — Leo hissed three times and jumped into the Halloween cat pose before running into the bedroom. My trauma responses were triggered, and I just started crying. Galaxy approached me and just sat next to me.
I’m sure Christmas Day was as traumatic for them as it was for me, but that’s a story for another post. Leo initially was going to be my grandmother’s barn cat, because she was interested in him after learning he was male, but Bob’s brother wanted another kitten and decided to adopt Leo. He thinks Leo is beautiful, and he also owns a Chihuahua, so he’s used to needy pets with spice.
A pair of kittens may not get along at all
This is probably a one-of-a-kind story, but it still bears worth sharing in this post because
- kittens in a litter can all have different fathers, thus making them half-siblings, and
- not every pair of kittens who grow up together remain friendly.
Bonded pairs are not promises that kittens will get along with each other once their personalities develop and they reach maturity.
When kittens are rescued in rural Texas by people who know reliable people to adopt kittens out to, they’re unlikely to be kept long enough to determine which pairs are bonded. Lots of people don’t think about that kind of thing — nor do they take their pets to the vet. On farms, it’s more or less survival of the fittest.
It’s not necessarily neglect, especially since the people who dumped the kittens at five weeks were the ones who neglected the kittens.
Difficulties of owning multiple cats, regardless of your space size
Litter box woes
- Unless they go outside, changing the litter box quickly becomes a twice daily act at the least.
- Litter box ratio: 1 litter box per cat + 1
Twice the work
I don’t know who these people are that are saying two kittens are equal to the work of one adult cat, but no it is definitely not!
What you teach one kitten, the other will learn. Likewise, whatever bad behavior one does, the other will pickup. Even if you train the bad behavior out of the first cat, it will pick that behavior right back up from the second if the second takes longer to learn the better behavior.
You have twice the poop to scoop, twice scratching posts to find places for, and twice the cats to prevent from escaping their indoor cat flat.
Triple the expenses
- Vet bills of Kitten #1
- Vet bills of Kitten #2
- Vet bills of when kittens hurt each other, because it does happen + medical expenses for your ringworm
Cats are territorial. As explained above in Galaxy’s story, humans are territory. If you have a larger space, you may be able to combat this easier, but having a bigger home doesn’t promise a solution to the territorial woes of adopting two kittens instead one.
What was your experience in adopting kittens in pairs (or not)?
How does your neurodivergence affect your life as a cat parent?
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