Siamese Babies Turned One
(SF Bay Area, California)
Christoper looks like he's smiling
Here is an update on our little lynx point rescue cats, one year later: Christoper and Zoey.
They've become the joy of our family since discovering them in a feral litter last year.
Years ago I had a male blue-point Siamese who lived for 20 years. He died when I was 30, and I was devastated for over a decade. I never planned to get another cat, as the loss was unbearable.
But last year a friend posted a picture of a kittens from a feral litter on Facebook, and I saw a sweet face that I fell in love with at first sight.
I decided on the spot that it was time to love again. My 3 kids were almost teens, including my twin daughters.
I called my friend, and said that I'd take in the Siamese boy that needed a home, to which she said sounds great, but it's a girl. I was so sure it was a boy, as the expression on his face was all boy. Against all logic, (I really hadn't planned to ever get another cat), I told her I'd just come by "just to look."
That's when she said that I was welcome to come look, but just as a heads up, I should know that there was not one Siamese in the litter, but TWO. Identical twin sisters.
Gulp. I really did not want two cats. And definitely not two girls. I really had my heart set on just looking at the one Siamese. The boy. Who reminded me of my first cat.
Well, I decided just to go look. Just to see. I had such a strong vibe from the one picture that I felt I had to go look. I would just look, and I would be strong. And I would return home with either one boy, or zero cats.
When I got there, I picked up the one from the picture, who I recognized immediately, and I told her I was certain this was a boy. He had (and still has) the look of a little boy tiger. The other Siamese had had petite facial features, like a little girl.
Nope, she said. The rescue clinic looked at them and said they were both girls. Twin sisters. Did I want one or both?
Hmmm. I think there's a mistake, I said. This little guy feels like a boy, looks like a boy, and plays like a boy. But, maybe my cat instincts are rusty. It's been over a decade since I held a cat. These two were so small, they had no clear signs of gender yet. Everyone (but me) agreed they were both girls.
Against all my good judgment, but following my heart, I considered taking home both little 2 pound bundles. I called my husband who was previously adamant about getting no more animals. He said, if I want them, go ahead and get them. WHAT? That's not at all what I expected to hear.
Oh well, I thought. Although I'd only had a boy kitty previously, and I came today to get a boy kitty, these two little ones were so gorgeous and funny and adorable. I couldn't possibly leave one or both behind.
So I took the two kittens with me. Genders aside, I figured it was meant to be.
I went straight to the vet to get them de-wormed and cleaned up. My daughter picked out two pink collars from the display.
But low and behold, one more surprise awaited us. After examining both kittens, the vet told me the were indeed...a brother and sister! We put back one pink collar.
A don't know why it mattered, because at his point I was already head-over-heels-in-love with both kittens, but I did a happy dance and bounced around the office with glee. I got my boy kitty after all. By following my heart and my instinct, I was rewarded. And after all these years, I still had my cat vibe fully intact! Yessss!
That was a little over one year ago. And each day with these two is literally more joyful than the previous. But, having cats now is so much different than it was 30 years ago when I had my first cat. I was 14 then. I'm three decades older, and a lot wiser now. I've raised three children and learned that not everything that people tell you about what's best is accurate. In fact, most of it is not. (Think of how nutritional guidelines for humans has evolved. We now know so much of our health depends on what we eat, how much we eat. We even know we can prevent disease with certain diets and cause disease with others).
And just like people doctors, vets only know what they learn in medical school. And what they learned wasn't always the latest or the best info.
My first cat lived 20 years, and it still wasn't nearly enough. I needed these cats to live longer. I realized I had some homework to do to figure out how to maximize their life spans, so I did months of hard core research to study up on feline health advances. My college days have really paid off in knowing how to research and study, because as it turned out I had A LOT to learn. Animal health has come so far since my youth. Most of what I knew from before was erroneous. And understanding the truth could make a huge difference in the life span of a cat.
**************************************************My top 5 lessons learned this past year since owning cats again:
1. Always get kittens in pairs. It's better for everyone, and the joyfulness of their sibling interactions and cuddling is exponential.
2. Cats belong 100% indoors. Again, thousands less in vet bills. And extended lifespan.
3. Budget for lots of fun toys, tall climbing posts and window and/or wall shelves. Especially fun are toys that are on a stick! I used to think it was more important how clutter-free I kept my home. Now I realize its critical that cats have lots of places to climb and scratch, clutter be damned!
4. Not all vaccinations are created equal. Do your research instead of blindly following the guidelines. If your cat is 100% indoors, as it should be, you would be wise to consider giving only the shots that are needed. Understand whether your vet uses "live" vs "dead" vaccines, and know the difference. Never allow a killed (adjuvanted) vaccine to be injected into your cat, as you increase their risk for tumors. Recombinant live vaccines are safer. Weigh the risks of each vaccine and carefully assess which ones are worth the risk. Search Google for "feline vaccination safety."
4. Cats are healthiest on a canned (grain-free) or raw meat diet. Dry kibble is *never* necessary and eliminating it from your home brings immeasurable health benefits. And you will pay thousands upon thousands less in vet bills due to the elimination of degenerative disease. I previously believed that the convenience of dry food meant it was a must. But now I realize that it causes disease and a shortened life span. Cats are carnivore and feeding them carbs makes them sluggish, fat and ill. Learn about feeding raw, and your cat's life may very well be significantly extended. If you can't do raw, there are a lot of canned options that are head and shoulders better than dry. Search Google for "raw diet cats."
5. Its an important part of their overall health to keep cats teeth impeccably clean. Brush them if you can (there are how to videos on you tube). Get them cleaned yearly at the vet. And find lots of things they can safely chew on to simulate brushing. My big tooth health "discovery" is that chicken jerky (which is only marketed as a dogs treat) is our cats all time favorite. Just be sure you're getting 100% meat, nothing added, especially no carbs or veggies. You can find them everywhere: Trader Joe's, Petco, Walmart, Walgreens, PetSmart. We normally buy Colorado Naturals at Petco because they're not made in China, but there are a lot of brands with various types of jerky treats for dogs that work well for cats. For more info, search Google for "cat teeth cleaning."
Educate yourself on animal health, and understand the value of optimal nutrition. There are a lot of web sites and books on the topic. If you're interested, search until you understand. Your cats health will be better for it.