The Hellhole

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A pet post...

I'm amazed and pleased at the dynamic in the Bowman household. All the pets get along and interact in such sweet and funny ways.

I got Finnovar the cat fifteen years ago, from my mom. He is technically a Bombay, which you get by crossing a black American shorthair and a sable Burmese. But there was evidently contamination somewhere a few generations back because he and one sister came out with some white markings. My mom wasn't worried about the girl because someone at work wanted a sweet little girl kitty and didn't care about the pedigree/defective part. "But I don't know what I'll ever do with the boy!" she lamented. "For one thing, he's the runt - I think he's too little to thrive, actually - and for another, he's not just mean, he's NASTY." He was, indeed, a hamster-sized kitten and the first time I went down to see them, I said, "Oh, what a darling little fellow!" and he made a teeny tiny kitty-spitty hiss at me.

I was instantly smitten.

I begged for the kitten. Mom was reluctant, citing my allergies but later it emerged that she TOTALLY didn't want me to take him for other reasons. She was sure the runt was too tiny to live, so tiny that there must be something wrong with him. I'd take him, he'd die, and I'd be crushed. I begged and begged and finally my dad said (actual quote), "Let her have the damn thing and we'll deal with the fallout later!" So I got him. He stayed tiny for quite some time; for ages I took him shopping and all sorts of places - he fit, except for tail, into the palm of my hand - and then it was like he heard of this new concept, "growing" and thought, "I'll look into that!" Eighteen pounds and many years later, he is healthy, beautiful, scornful and pure evil - everything a cat should be, and I love him so.

When I got Sprocket, I worried about how Finnovar would react, but it turned out to be very good for him. Having a rambunctious playful puppy in the house forced him to do more than just lay around getting fat and lazy. Even when The Finn was tired of playing (Sprocket never is) he had to run and jump/climb somewhere that Sprocket couldn't get to him, and I think the activity really helped his overall health and well-being. Also, he loves to mess with Sprocket. Sometimes I put Sprocket's hair in a top-knot (he looks like John Belushi doing "Samurai Delicatessen") and it is a favorite game of Finnovar's to lurk on furniture and then WHACK! the top-knot as Sprocket is passing.

For ages, that was the extent of my (now our) pet household. We go to this fabulous Mexican restaurant a lot and at the end of the shopping center where it is located, there is a pet store. I would never buy from this pet store as I fear puppy-mill ties (I don't know this, I just suspect based on the variety of breeds they carry, and - well, it's a store not a breeder) but that doesn't stop me from wanting to walk by it every time we go to Frontera and SQUEEE! over the cute puppies. One day there was a little guy who was black and tan, marked exactly like a Doberman, but fuzzy and tiny. I couldn't imagine what he was, so I went inside and read the label on his crate. It was a long-haired Chihuahua, something I previously did not know existed. I started Googling images and fell in love. Did some research, found an EXTREMELY reputable breeder and, even though I went intending to get a girl doggy, we got Mister Fusspot.

I'd wanted to add a girl, true, but I fell so very much in love with Mister Fusspot, both his looks and sweet little personality, there was no question. I worried about how he and Sprocket would interact, both being entire males, but there has been nary a growl. Mister Fusspot was very reticent and we had him for probably 3 weeks to a month before he ever approached Sprocket or Finnovar. Now he loves them and loves to play, and they romp and wrestle.

Sprocket and Mister Fusspot are very different in how they interact with their humans. Sprocket wants attention, but he wants to be played with; he wants me to throw toys, play tuggers with toys, wrestle with him...if I pick him up to hug and scritch, he will allow it for a few minutes but it's not long before he wants to get down and grab a toy. Mister Fusspot, on the other hand, is a TOTAL cuddlebug. He wants to be in my lap, or next to me, or being petted and loved. I like this because no one is jealous. Sprocket doesn't care that Fusspot gets more petting, as long as there is a hand free to throw a stuffed animal.

Then, at the beginning of the month, we got Esme from the same breeder. Last evening Lynda (the breeder) sent me all the info to get Esme registered with the AKC, which I did, and to my happy surprise I learned that she and Fusspot have the same sire! I didn't know that at the time; I just picked the cutest one. Since we don't intend to breed them, I am thrilled that she is actually, as we've been referring to her anyway, his baby sister. Esme will be spayed at six months; the health benefits are substantial so I don't feel any qualms about it, like I do about neutering males. Something about lopping off little bits of them just bothers me, I don't know - I think it should be my responsibility to - er, be responsible, so all our boys are entire males.

But anyway, Esme in the house! Unlike Mister Fusspot, she is utterly fearless. The evening I brought her home, I set her down and she immediately ran over and leapt upon Sprocket. He was not pleased by this. At first he was very unhappy about having her here; he even snapped at her a few times. Now, he doesn't approach her for play, but when she bounds up (or on) him with a toy, he'll grab the other end and play tuggers with her. She and Mister Fusspot wrestle, romp, chase and tumble constantly, so there was no problem there. Finnovar looks at her with kind of resigned disgust; the other day, she was scrambling for purchase with her paws as she had his tail in her mouth, trying to haul him off. He looked up at us and it was completely apparent what he was thinking: "Y'all see this, right? You see what's happening here. Notice how that little thing is still alive? I shall expect extra treats and my favorite wet food this evening."

I think that Esme may well be the first dog raised on Cheezburger, because the boys know "treat" and respond to the word, but Esme hears, "Esme! Recieve your nom!" and "Nom nom nom!" Then when she's chewing on something forbidden like Alan's magazine or my ears or a PS2 controller cord (that happens a lot) she is told sharply, "No! Not to nom!"

I'm very happy with the way the family dynamic has worked, how they all have such different personalities and the ways they interact with each other. Now, off to kiss some tiny noses!


  • Great story! You have a happy little household. :-)

    By Blogger Nancy, at 12:09 PM  

  • I have been amazed at:
    1) Survival and thriving of the Finn
    2) Tolerance of Finn for the doggy members of the household
    3) How much I love my grandcat and granddogs! (grandparenting is much easier than parenting!)
    4) The different 'personalities' the 4 exhibit...Sprocket is the happiest doggyboy I have ever known..he has NEVER had a bad day!

    I am a believer in re-incarnation, and I plan to 'come back' as one of Helly's dogs!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:14 PM  

  • Nice story about your kiddies - I'm glad Finnovar gets along with your dogs. Our Big Fat Kitty is really disgruntled with Jayne and Zoe but that doesn't mean he won't roll around on the ground with them.


    By Blogger Topcat, at 12:02 PM  

  • I love the "Noms" - if you were on Facebook and you were playing SuperPoke Pets (which I KNOW you would love), you would love Leigh-Ann's "Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom" ceiling cat is watching you habitat. See, almost worth signing up for it, huh?

    I'm not very good at speaking LOLCat, but I love when Flickr greets me in LOLCat. It makes me feel all squishy inside.

    Thanks for answering the 65 questions. I like when I get to learn new things about pals. Oh, and more pictures of baby Esme, please. I love animal babies. I'm a total sucker. We have five foster kittens and four of them have homes already, but what do we do? We NAME the kitteh that doesn't have a home yet. We shan't keep Tippi, but she was just asking for a name - the tip of her black black tail is a tiny bit of white. She's adorable. But, we're hoping she'll go home with one of her siblings.

    We're also fostering two 4 year old siblings. One looks just like a chubby older version of Bunny (shhhh, don't tell the others, but she's my fave) and she's soooo sweet. Her brother, is a little bit more standoffish, but he's a nice big dude. One of their parents died recently and the other one isn't healthy and can't take care of the cats. Several people have offered to take the girl, but we want them kept together. We think siblings, especially after going through something traumatic, should be adopted out together. Plus, they LIKE each other. How can anyone break them up??? So, they're living in our guest room right now. Do you know anyone who wants sweet 4 year old cats?

    We happily sent Cody/Kevin on his way a week ago and things are going we expected. His new parents love him, and the dogs dig him, too. But, we knew he was awesome from the beginning. We were just so happy to be the matchmakers and know for sure it was going to be successful. Yay!

    Er, more Esme pics!

    By Anonymous FlippyO, at 7:55 AM  

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