Suggested Prereading: Welcome to Our Quadruped-Centered Life

It’s been a year since we took the leap into cat parenting, and what a year it’s been. When I reread Welcome to Our Quadruped-Centered Life, I was aghast at just how duped I’d been. I confidently published that post two weeks after we adopted the kitties, which I now know means that this chimp was acting the chump. Shortly after that post went out, Cheddar decided to reveal his true self. Finding and releasing his inner kitten, he showed he was not the chill, calm pat of butter I’d made him out to be, but in fact just as bonkers as his sister.

I may be calm now, Daddy, but give it two minutes . . .

At about the same time, Mango began showing her more relaxed side. It was as if the two had concocted a hilarious gag in which they would switch personas, not unlike Fred and George Weasley, just to trick us and give themselves a side-splitting laugh.

Don’t put me in a box (heh, heh). I have a varied and complex personality. The acute observer will notice the many moods, the many shades, the many sides of Mango Cat. (The acute observer will also notice that I lifted that line from that other chimp/chump: George Costanza.)

Those first weeks and months I waffled between two basic emotions: adoration (for the cats) and worry (for my furniture, my window shades, my carpets, my nasal cilia—which I feared might shrivel up and die—and my sanity). They made me laugh a dozen times a day, but just as often made me silently lament, “Oh my God, what have I done?” while breaking out in a cold sweat over the lifelong commitment I’d made.

Cheddar is a skilled manipulator, quickly discerning which of his behaviors drive me crazy – like sitting atop the TV – and putting them on vivid display whenever he wants something (food – always food).

My mantra for many months, mumbled below my breath like an incantation, was “Kittenhood will end. Kittenhood will end.” And lo and behold, over the course of several months, as playing decreased in inverse proportion to sleeping, it did end. Of course, were the cats able to construct a post about their first year with us, it wouldn’t say, “Kittenhood has ended.” It would say, “Chimp training is completed.”

Ha! Duped you again, humans. Chimp training is never completed!

But even though the husband man-chimp and I are still in training, I’m going to go out on a limb say that their personalities have largely settled. Drawing on my extensive cat-parenting background, I’ve decided that some cats are climbers and some cats are cavers. And though Cheddar sometimes goes high to annoy me (like every single night in the hour before his dinner), they both have a propensity for caving. Cheddar loves a good box, bag, cubby, or hidey-hole:

And though she’s generally more mature, like a high school sister who rolls her eyes at her brother’s middle school antics, Mango can get in on the caving action, too, though her preference, weirdly, is for waste paper baskets.

The bun wants it made clear, however, that she was, is, and always will be the reigning champion of “boxing.”

Cheddar, though, is a champion of Cuddle with a Chimp time, particularly in the mornings when it takes every ounce of willpower I have to put him down and go to work.

Getting my maternal itch scratched

But when not being held like a fuzzy baby, he likes to sleep in some interesting positions:

Mango is more stereotypically catlike when it comes to having chimps touch her. She wants it when she wants it, and when she does want it, it’s less about cuddling and more about heavy petting. It can best be described as a purr-laden, squirming, writhing, full participation lap dance that pushes the boundaries of decency and makes the husband blush with embarrassment.

She can easily jump this half door, but prefers to have it opened for her like an empress.

They still get into trouble from time to time, mainly for being places they shouldn’t be. “Off!” “Out!” and “Scram!” are frequent interjections in our household.

They’ve also taught the bun some naughty behaviors. She never showed a lick of interest in going upstairs (which isn’t bunny-proofed) or to the basement (ditto) until the cats came along and taunted her with their free-roamin’ lifestyle.

The bun never hopped up here until the cats demo’d the technique.

But usually the cats are just as darling as can be.

Cat TV was tuned to the Frustrated Predator Channel this day.

Though not the BFFs I’d hoped for, they get along well with the bun. Well aware that cat-rabbit cohabitation isn’t always successful—and, indeed, can be deadly—we are especially thankful that we have a rabbit and cats with the right temperaments for a harmonious coexistence.

Mango crowds the bunny keeps the bunny company while she eats.

Cheddar will sometimes roll over and grab her hoping for a fun little tussle, but the bun tolerates exactly none of it. We’ve given her permission to give him a swift kick to the face, but she’s too good natured for that—she just hops away. Thankfully, Cheddar has the decency not to follow, but we’re starting to think he’s using the maneuver to commandeer the bun’s primo lounging spot. What a cad.

Paws off, feline!

We’ve all experienced change as we’ve adjusted to our tri-species family, and this she-chimp is no different. In fact, I’ve probably changed the most. I’ve dealt with every manner of feline grossness and I’m now largely inured to hairballs, cat fur, and diarrhea. And though it’s often a two-chimp effort, we don’t think twice about nail trims anymore. Scooping poop? All in a day’s work. Changing the litter box? Just one of Saturday’s many chores. Cat flatulence? This, too, shall pass. Even an inadvertent faceful of cat butt, though not encountered with glee, doesn’t repel me the way it once did. It reminds me of when I was youngster returning home from a babysitting gig. I’d tell my mom I didn’t want kids, to which she invariably replied, “It’s different when they’re your own.”

I finally get what she means.

The only thing that still ranks high on my Cat Revolt-o-Meter™ is getting sneezed on. Though our purr-babies seem to sneeze in singles, when one comes, it’s fast and furious. They have no wind-up, and without that “Ah . . . ahh . . . ahhh” before the “choo!” we chimps have no hope of protecting ourselves.

Though our new additions complicate the travel picture a bit, I have no regrets about adding another species of furball to our household. I’m (mostly) glad their kitten stage is finished, but I’m so grateful I got to experience those fun and frenetic months. And as for adopting two cats when my strict rule was just one?

Best decision this chimp ever made.

The Three Amigos
Wish I could give credit (or better yet, take credit) for this poem. It’s a FB screenshot.

55 thoughts

  1. I loved every word of and photo in this post. My sweet cat Isidore was never able to jump because of an illness when he was a kitten, so I’ve never experienced the cat on the top of the refrigerator and other high places experience. I love that the bunny is too good natured to swipe his feline siblings when they are bugging him. Their interaction is precious.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OMG….I’m dying. If you lived closer I’d be over every day to soak up all of that kitty cuteness. The squirrel video! The giant rabbit buddy! You make me miss the days our house was full of pets. They are A LOT of work and responsibility… but oh, the joy we receive is well worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Damn. Move closer. You could come over every day AND be our petsitter when we travel!
      Actually, I thought of Lord Dudley when I took that squirrel video. We’d been given some bird seed to scatter on our doorsteps (a Swedish tradition, I think?) on New Year’s Day. It never dawned on us that the squirrels would come out en masse (tough luck, birds) to devour it. We got at least an hour of entertainment (and the cats an hour of frustration) over that.

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  3. You do you, Cheddar and Mango 😀 Of the cats I’ve owned, my ginger one was always the one with the quirkiest personality, lying in funny positions and following me like a dog. After a long walk, I’d just sling him over my shoulder and carry him back and he’d just lie there the whole way. He was also the best hunter. Is your bunny house-trained?

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    1. Over the couple of years that the idea of getting a cat was growing, the husband (who grew up with cats) really pushed for a ginger. We’d heard that their personalities were really great, especially the males. This has turned out to be very true (and I love slinging Cheddar over my shoulder! He doesn’t seem to mind, either.)
      This is our fifth house rabbit over 25 years and they’ve all been litter box trained.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow, that’s awesome! I never knew you could litter box train a rabbit. I had one that wouldn’t even hold it when he was being held by us. Also, I love that you could sling Cheddar over your shoulder too 🙂 I didn’t know if it was just mine that let you do that. He was a male.

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  4. What adorable little kitties and rabbit! I wish I wasn’t allergic to cats because I really do love them. My daughter desperately wants a cat. I keep telling her, when you’re an adult you can have all the cats you want, just put them in another room when I come to visit.

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    1. That’s too bad about your allergies. Purina has recently come out with a variety of dry food called Live Clear that is supposed to reduce the allergens they put out (interesting science behind it). But boy, is it expensive – almost double the cost of the regular dry food. Still, it might be enough that your daughter doesn’t have to put them in another room someday. (And maybe by then the price will have come down. 🙂 )

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  5. Who said cat-owners, weren’t trainable? I know, people think it’s cats that aren’t. Now that you’ve caught on to their personalities I bet you’re watching all the cat videos out there. We had cats growing up and I would love one or two now but it won’t work with our life yet. I’ll have one vicariously through you 😊Maggie

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    1. Yes, two months in Bolivia and then on to Brazil… even the most aloof cat would be mad at you for staying away so long. And think of the petsitting bills!
      Actually, my thirst for cat videos was nearly insatiable before we got the cats. Now, not only do these critters take up too much of my time, I just watch them instead! 🙂


  6. Love this! We, too, have a cat and a bunny and they get along just fine (our bunny quickly showed the cat WHO is boss!) The part about the sneezing…seriously, those cat sneezes are deadly! Last night as we were all snuggled up watching TV the cat sneezed and my husband jolted in his recliner, proceeding to launch the remote across the room! Everyone survived, but jeez!

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    1. I WISH our bun would stand up for herself more. He’s only got 2 pounds on her and as sweet as he is, Cheddar needs to be shown who’s boss every once in a while. Fortunately, Mango’s not afraid to give him a swat every now and then to keep his “me first” attitude in line.
      So funny about your remote launch sneeze attack. I can totally relate. 🤣 I always scream and jump. The husband looks at me like I’m crazy, but it startles me!


  7. They are certainly masters of finding some interesting spaces to crawl into. I had to chuckle at some of the places they found. And the picture of the cats and the bunny all looking out the window together is fantastic. 🙂

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    1. Thank you! That picture made this year’s Christmas photo card. People couldn’t believe it – they thought it looked staged. And it kinda does, but it was totally natural. They love to gather in front of that sliding glass door when it’s open, and as soon as I got that picture last spring I was like, “This is totally going on the Christmas card!”

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  8. Oh, how I love cats! I’ve had both cavers and climbers, and the cavers are always the more chill ones. Cheddar’s sleeping positions made me laugh out loud. It’s great that all three of them get along so well.

    I do miss the kitten stage. Sydney is so old now, her pep is long gone. But it was fun while it lasted.

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    1. If cavers are more chill than climbers, that totally explains these two. Cheddar is a bit of both, but Mango rarely climbs and she’s the more chill of the two (except when she gets “crazy eyes” right before bed some nights – what the husband calls “the mad half hour”).
      I saw a picture of Sydney in one of your recent posts and I forgot to tell you how cute she is. Is she a Tortie?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. She’s a calico, actually. I had to look up the difference. Calicos have a three-color combination: white, black, and red-orange. Torties lack the white. Learn something new every day!

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  9. I laughed my way through pretty much just this entire post, mostly because of the hilarious places and positions the cats managed to find themselves in. They’re so stinking cute! We’ve talked about getting a cat one day, but for now we will enjoy the antics of Cheddar and Mango

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    1. Their lounging choices are definitely a mystery.

      It’s such a relief to be able to be out in the garden, or even run a few errands with all the kids out and about and know that everything will be fine. We put the bun in her “rabbitat” when we’re gone for long periods and overnight, but that’s more about her needs and wants and not about a worry over cats hurting her. We did that long before we got the cats.


  10. Oh man, I loved this post. I love the way you write, I love the cats, I love the bunny… It’s all just a giant plateful of “D’awwwwwww!!!”

    I will say the cat on top of the TV gave me a slight heart attack… and, initially, I completely missed the cat hiding behind the kitchen drawer. They are sneaky little troublemakers, but the snuggles go on for dayyyyyyysssss!!!!

    Given our love of prey-crazy German Shepherds, cats have never been an option for us, so thank you for this awesome post. It sorda helps scratch the itch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks – you made my weekend!
      Our cats were described as “loves everyone – dogs, humans” when we first adopted them, but it’s been long enough now that it might take some doing to get them comfortable with a dog again. And it would have to be a dog that doesn’t view them as an hors d’oeuvre. Sorry, Thor!


  11. So cute! Cats are adorable, but it’s true that, with any domestic animal, they require a lot of work! Even if they’re famous for being self-sufficient, you still have to deal with feeding and cleaning up after them, as they aren’t THAT autonomous, haha. What a year it’s been for you, but a challenging and rewarding one all the same!

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    1. Indeed – lots of work! And yeah, I think that idea of cats not needing anyone is kind of “old school” thinking, although there are probably some cats that are more like that than others. Ours – especially Cheddar – are very “chimp oriented” and love to be by their humans. Whatever room we migrate to, they migrate there a minute or two later. Just moments ago I was typing comments on here with one arm pinned to my side as Cheddar lounged on me. 🙂

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  12. Your fur babies are super adorable! There are very few things more adorable on the planet than a sleeping cat. Even the most mischievous cats appear like innocent little angels when they’re curled up sleeping in your laundry basket

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  13. And this is why I enjoy blogging so much. Posts about cats, I’m here for it. Yours have trained you well. We had two cats for years, and they were bosses from the git go. Neither, however, ever sat atop the TV like Cheddar. Also, love the half door. I thought about one of those when we had the cats, but you have confirmed what I suspected, the half door is not a barrier for a cat.

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  14. Ha. I wish I could sleep like your cat. As a light sleeper who can only sleep in certain conditions, I’ve found ‘anyhow sleeping’ to be a valuable skill. I’ve heard it’s trainable, but I’ve yet to discover how.

    Love the sibling photos of all your furries! I am now grateful to have a doggo instead because she can’t climb anywhere she wants, so I don’t need to work so hard to hide food from her, lol.

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  15. Too cute! Glad they all get along, bunny and kitties. The video of watching the squirrel reminded me of my own cat, which I got when she was older. One day, after intense bird-watching, she launched herself into the window and broke it! Dazed for a few minutes, she was ok, but the window was expensive to replace.

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