Suggested prereading:

We’d been toying with the idea of adopting a cat for a good year. After a lot of research and many discussions, and taking into consideration the safety and security of our house rabbit, my sketchy history with felinekind, and all the personality traits I wasn’t willing to tolerate, we landed on three inviolable rules:

  1. Shorthair only
  2. One single, solitary cat
  3. Absolutely. Positively.  NO. KITTENS.

Then we broke two of them.

Meet Jekyll and Hyde, our new short-haired, five-month-old kittens.

Can you tell which one is Hyde?

In fact, their names aren’t Jekyll and Hyde, but they very well could be.  Jekyll (whom we actually named Cheddar) is the dream cat of even the most nervous, unsure first-time cat parent (by which I mean me).  Gentle, calm, loving, quiet, and utterly unflappable, he is the antithesis of your typical kitten (as far as I know—where cats are concerned, I know nothing).

He bats lazily and uninterestedly at the string toys and crumpled up bits of paper that drive his sister wild. There’s no startling rush of movement, no spastic flailing on his back, no zipping around like Dash Parr on Ecstasy (speaking of drugs, Quaalude would have been a fitting name). He’s the willing victim, not the instigator, of any feline tussle sessions. And when it comes to lap sitting, he’s a born champion. After just a few seconds of necessary position-testing, he’s an unmoving lump of furry warmth.

There’s Cheddar, always on defense. I’m going to have to get used to this rowdy behavior.

Contrast this with Hyde (actually called Mango—what can I say? I like food), the female counterpart to Chill Cheddar. Never were two feline littermates more unalike (again, what do I know?).

It says right on the bag: “This is not a toy.” Does Mango heed safety warnings? No, she does not.

The sticky, crunchy peanut butter to Cheddar’s smooth jelly, Mango’s the active one—a 24/7 purring machine. If something rolls, she’ll bat it. If it dangles, she pulls off a vertical leap that would make Nike® rethink its Air Jordan™ contract. Give her a wadded up scrap of paper and she becomes the Wayne Gretzky of the feline world, batting that sucker back and forth like a puck, across the kitchen and into the dining room, over and around chair legs, and occasionally straight up into the air. I have to remind myself that it’s a good thing she can self-entertain.

Don’t listen to my mom. Have you noticed that in both photos of me so far I’m sitting still?

When not vying for the Stanley Cup, she’s a toddler with ADHD, constantly squirming in my arms, unable to sit still. If someone’s going to get scolded for being on the counter, it’s Mango. Using the furniture as a scratching post? Also Mango. Nor does she follow the time-honored tradition of sleeping 18-20 hours per day, as the universal cat manual says she’s supposed to.

The truth is, it’s a miracle this post got written at all. Every time I sit at the computer to write, Mango’s in my lap, on the keyboard, in front of the screen, batting at the cursor, in my lap, sniffing my drink, in my lap, chewing my zipper pulls, getting picked up and moved elsewhere, back on my lap . . .

You make a better door than a window, Mango.
Some days, when the planets are aligned just so, she hangs in this desk cubby for two minutes, allowing me to get half a paragraph written.

In case it’s not perfectly clear, let me put it this way: if Cheddar and Mango were human teenagers, Cheddar would spend Saturday nights studying at the library, whereas Mango would be escorted home by the police for underage drinking and disturbing the peace.

Tinfoil and double-sided tape deter most cats. Mango, though, thinks they have the most satisfying mouth-feel.

In fairness to Mango, though, she does give me several laughs a day.

It’s true. Even the calm one goes bonkers for shoelaces in the morning.

But what of the bun-cat relations, you’re surely wondering. Indeed, that is the crux upon which this entire interspecies experiment rests. After extensive research, we expected several days—if not weeks—of baby steps and slow introductions.  In the end, though, it was about 24 hours before they reached a détente.  I had specifically narrowed my cat search to felines described as easygoing, gentle, “loves everybody—dogs, cats, humans.” We started out with “scent handshakes,” then moved to introductions with the cats caged and the rabbit roaming free.  Soon we decided to try one-on-one free-roam, water bottle aimed and ready, but never needing to be deployed.  It’s been a few weeks now, and they have agreed to a peaceful co-existence, with some affection thrown in. Cheddar has even been seen grooming the bun, who took to it like it was the most natural thing in the world (and then, when Cheddar wasn’t looking, proceeded to clean all the cat slobber off her head).

Peaceful harmony
Love-fest
Both want into the office. Only one has the skills to achieve it.
We think, come springtime, this will be a daily occurrence.

I still don’t like the smells emanating from the litter box, and nail trimming is a skill we have yet to acquire, but on the whole, we’re one big, happy family. Remember that 90’s-era TV show Party of Five? That’s us now.  If I haven’t been great about reading and commenting on your posts lately, now you know why: I’m a little distracted at the moment.

I hope you can forgive me.


I’m a tabula rasa, open to all your best cat-rearing advice.  Fire away.

53 thoughts

  1. Congrats on your additions to the family. There’s a whole lot of cute going on here. Soon you’re going to learn that cats are interior designers at heart. They force you to move stuff around to suit their whims.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Enjoy your new kitties! They are so beautiful! I look forward to seeing your travels with them. My advice before travelling with them is make sure you follow all rules to the letter, especially when it comes to transporting them. They are there for a reason

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never owned cats, but I will say that your choice of names (Mango and Cheddar) are really cute! I wonder how it goes having cats (who are carnivores) with a pet rabbit: how have you fared so far in that? Any case, they look like wonderful additions to the family!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It really depends on the personalities of the cat/rabbit. Also, if the cat has a high prey drive or has spent part of its life hunting outdoors (i.e., a barn cat), it’s probably a nonstarter. Our last bun would never have tolerated a cat or dog in the house, but this bun is bigger and braver and has experience getting along with cats. It’s going well. If anyone’s not faring well it’s me… with Mango. Good grief can she be needy and clingy!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your bunny is larger than your cats! I was not expecting this. Shenanigans aside, they are adorable and look like a fun addition to the family. I laughed pretty hard at the shoe tying video.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, she’s a good 8.5 pounds, where as the cats are 6.5 and 5.5 (for now). That was another criteria I was looking for: small cats. Mango is driving me nuts once again today (all access to the office is closed to her so I can write this), so I’m glad she’s giving someone a laugh. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Very cute cats. I look forward to more updates because we all need a little cuteness right now (and for evermore). I was reading this post on my phone, not wearing my glasses. I was trying to figure out why, in the photo of The Husband at the desk with Cheddar in his lap, he was wearing a court jester shirt. The cat was blocking the bottom half of the argyle pattern and all I could see were white pointy bits coming down from the neck. I zoomed in and figured it out, but thought that might make you laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You got cats!!!

    Love the names, too. And the fact that they can peacefully coexist with your bunny. I didn’t even know that was possible. I will say this: getting two was smart. When I adopted Sydney (15 years ago!), they tried to get me to take her brother, too. But I hadn’t owned cats in a while and wasn’t even sure I could handle one at the time. Later, we tried to add a kitten, but that experiment was a bust. Sydney is a solitary cat in her old age, but I do wish she had a companion.

    Looking forward to more videos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      rom what I’ve read, cat-cat introductions are harder than dog-cat and rabbit-cat introductions, though I’m sure there are instances in which those don’t work out, either. It really depends on the animals. I have a colleague who got a kitten to introduce to her older cat. I swear that kitten lived in the bathroom for a month while they were learning to tolerate each other. Sheesh!

      Yeah, I’ve read/heard a lot that getting two cats (especially if they’re young) is best for them and they’ll get in less trouble. I’m all for that! Some rescues won’t adopt out single kittens. The one we adopted from would have, but I’m (mostly) glad we got both. Mango continues to drive me nuts, but it’s amplified because the husband’s been upstate since yesterday and I’m parenting all 3 animals on my own. Ugh, I can’t wait until she’s out of kittenhood! Any advice is very welcome, fellow cat parent! What have you done with them when you and Tara have gone on extended travels?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s the thing about Sydney: she gets along great with dogs. It’s only other cats that get her riled up.

        Traveling is SO easy with cats. We’ve left Sydney alone for over a week (having a friend or coworker stop by once or twice to check on her and scoop the litterbox, of course). Just buy vacation feeders and you’re golden!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Most excellent! And double trouble to boot. See? You were a cat person all along and didn’t know it. I’d like to think Lord Dudley Mountcatten had something to do with your decision, but I won’t tell him because it would go to his head.
    You tin foiled your couch! 🤣🤣🤣
    Welcome to the wonderful world of feline rule.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. They’re adorable! I had a cat in college, which is when I found out I was allergic to cats. I got allergy shots until she passed away several years later but unfortunately no more cats for me. It’s funny because I had other allergies at the time and after several years of immunotherapy all of my other allergies went away except for the cat allergy. Glad your bunny gets along with them (and it’s reciprocal)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Yes, she’s the biggest we’ve had – almost 9 pounds! I could do one-arm curls with her, but she hates being picked up. The cats are about a pound different from each other, so my 2-arm curls would provide wonky results. 😂💪😺

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Cuteness overload! Congratulations, they are both so adorable! A kitty cat makes a wonderful addition to any household, and I very much love their names! I’ve been trying to persuade the husband to take on a kitty for nearly two decades to no avail! I love cats and have always been totally convinced that only a cat (or better yet, several cats) would make my life complete. Given my failed attempts, I still firmly believe that there’s always hope — you just need to find the right answer to your partner’s objections and/or the right cat. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are cute, but I really must put out a new post about them because the “calm one” duped us. He’s as wild as his sister and much naughtier. Your husband should read my two posts about hating cats. He’ll relate to the first one, but the second one (the learning to not hate them) might turn him, perhaps a little? 😉

      Like

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