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Sunday, 20 November 2016

Introducing Bramble & Blossom

After 7 months living in our new house, we finally got some furry friends to keep us company! Everyone, meet Bramble and Blossom the kittens.



The New Arrivals

Bringing Bramble and Blossom into our lives has completely changed the atmosphere in the house. It's no longer quiet and empty, but full of play fights, jingling toys, kitten meows and purring! I have always lived with pets, so moving into a house without one was a hard adjustment at first. I always knew we were going to get some eventually, but I wanted to wait until I had got a new car and we'd been on holiday. So for David's 27th I asked him if he'd like them for his present, and he obviously said yes.


Adoption & Cat Protection

For about a year, I have been researching the best way to get a kitten. The two cats I had growing up were given to us by my Mums friends, but we don't know anyone whose cat has litters. That being said, you'd be surprised how many people don't get their kittens neutered, which brought my attention to Cat Protection. When we decided we were ready I went into my local vets to get some advice, and they spoke to me about fleeing/worming/neutering/vaccinations etc. Before I left they gave me a card for my local Cat Protection and said there were loads of kittens that needed homes in the area. I always assumed Cat Protection and other animal adoption charities were just full of adult pets, but turns out I couldn't be more wrong! A lot of people don't bother neutering their kittens, and then they are shocked when their cat has a litter! Like...are you serious? So many litters are dumped with Cat Protection, or worse, abandoned somewhere! 

I gave Cat Protection a call and they arranged a home visit to check that we were in a suitable location to adopt (i.e not in a flat or by a bypass etc). The lady that came over was happy that we'd provide a loving home for a cat, and was pleased to know that we wanted two. We then got a call that evening telling us about an adoption day they were having that weekend where they were bringing all the kittens to a local village hall. So that Sunday we headed down, and it was the most therapeutic afternoon ever. We cuddled so many little kitties, but ultimately we fell in love with 2 kittens from different litters. Although they recommended we adopt from the same litter, they didn't mind as they were confident their siblings would be adopted that day anyway. Although they did warn us it might take a while for them to get on. The first kitten we came across was Blossom...

Blossom


This is Blossom, a semi long haired tortoiseshell. We decided to name them Bramble & Blossom because the new estate that we live on is built over the old allotments in our town. All of our roads are named after fruits, so we wanted to keep with the theme and we thought they suited their colouring and personality. For example, Blossom is a spring chicken. She's delicate and beautiful. 



She was super super shy in the first week, and although she wasn't keen on sitting with us or letting us cuddle her, she would always sit close by to keep an eye on us. She hated Bramble. We weren't sure whether it was because she's 3 weeks older than him, but she was very hissy and swipey with him at first. She had grown up in a barn with her Mum and siblings, and wasn't used to being around humans in a house, so she was a bit wary. Slowly but surely she came out of her (tortoise)shell and soon enough she was the fussiest one of the two! She loves a lap cuddle and will paw at your for a stroke and a kiss. She lays on her back and loves a tummy rub. And with Bramble, she's like an older sister and she adores him. They clean each other and are constantly play fighting. Then we moved around the hall and spotted a tiny little grey ball of fuzz....

Bramble


This is my baby. He's tiny and adorable. He's fruity, feisty and squidgy! He's so delicious and I just want to eat him. Bramble is a grey short hair with a little white bow tie under his chin. As he's growing you can see some lighter tabby marks appearing on his side, which is so adorable. He has the fuzziest coat, compared to Blossom who is super silky. He is really confident, and you can tell he was used to being around humans in his old house. 



When we first got him he was really affectionate and needy, but as he's getting older he's becoming more and more independent. He's showing real Tom Cat characteristics like sitting above us on the sofa to claim the alpha male status, practicing his stalking, wondering around the house alone and unfortunately he has marked his territory once or twice in the bedrooms! To combat this we shut them on the ground floor in the day and when we go to bed to focus their attention on the litter tray smell, which has actually worked! 

The Cost of a Kitten



Kittens are obviously a financial commitment, and we waited 7 months to see if it was a doable situation for us. We were confident we could afford two, and we made sure we did all of our research before hand to prepare. So if you are thinking of getting a cat here is what we spend on them.

1. We bought them both for £80 from Cat Protection which is probably the cheapest way to get kittens. We'd always recommend adopting for the reasons that it saves a cat, but ultimately if we had bought these two from Pets For Homes online, we'd have paid about £200 for both of them which is stupid!
2. All in all we spent about £150 on their starter things. This included a litter tray, litter, toys, food, carrier, beds (which they don't sleep in!!) and bowls. You could probably get all this stuff much cheaper but we went to Pets at Home so it was obviously the pricier option. One interactive toy we bought from Pets at Home is a round wheel which has two balls inside that they can push round and it also acts as a scratching post in the middle. They play with it together all the time and we'd really recommend it even though it was about £20 (see below).

3. Weekly costs now include their food at about £6-£7 and another £3 on litter.
4. We have to worm them once a month which costs about £4.
5. We have signed up to a flee treatment subscription with Pets at Home for £8 a month which posts their flee drops to our door!
6. It will cost us about £100 in December to neuter them both.
7. Their vaccinations were paid for by Cat Protection (another good thing about adopting). But next November we'll have to top them up and every year after that, which will be about £30 each.

8. Insurance at the moment is covered for a month, but when we have to start paying it will be around £20 a month for the both of them.





Tips and Tricks We Have Picked Up

As i've had cats growing up i've learned a couple of things about raising them, but we have learnt some new things too!

1. Don't play fight with your hands. Always use a feather/ribbon/string on a stick, because they need to learn that your hands are for cuddles and affection. 
2. Don't spent a fortune on them for beds and entertainment. Just cut some holes in a cardboard box...HOURS of fun!


3. Keep an eye on their toilet habits and what you are feeding them. Their tummies are very sensitive.
4. Don't over exhaust them. Short bursts of playtime is good and then let them explore and sleep.
5. Speaking of sleep, don't disturb them if they are sleeping. It's important that they are rested.
6. If they are (sorry) pooing and weeing outside of their litter tray it can be for many reasons such as; the litter tray is too close to their food, they don't like sharing, you bring a new strange smell into the house, they can't locate the tray because they are upstairs or they are stressed. Try and figure out what the problem is and tackle it early on. Also, white vinegar and water sprayed onto the carpet is a good and cheap way for removing the urine smell, meaning they won't go back to do it again.
7. Hissing and clapping to stop a kitten scratching furniture is meant to emulate what their mother would do to tell them off.



Introducing Them To Ernie

We don't have any pictures or footage from this meeting because it was pretty stressful. We decided to keep Ernie downstairs on a lead with my Mum, and I carried the kittens down in my arms. We had read that if you are holding the kittens, it shows the dog that they are not a threat, therefore the dog is less likely to try and attack them. Ernie didn't realise they were real at first, until they saw him and started howling and hissing!! That made Ernie frightened and he started barking loud and trying to get to them, so Mum held him tight on the lead and stroked him to comfort him. The kittens then tried to escape from my hands and I was left with some pretty gnarly slashed wrists! They scrambled upstairs and Ernie was traumatised! He was crying and barking, pulling on his lead in a desperate attempt to chase them! Once he calmed down we brought him into the lounge where the kittens were hiding under the sofa. He knew they were there and wouldn't stop barking. We managed to calm him down a little again, and slowly Bramble came out and made himself known. He sat on the top of the sofa in protest! He was letting Ernie know that he was the king of the castle (again...typical Tom Cat). Ernie still didn't stop whinging, and eventually we let him climb onto the sofa. He sat nose to nose with Bramble, with about a 2 foot between them. Every time he shuffled closer Bramble would howl and hiss as him. Eventually he got too close and Bramble hissed a bit too viciously for Ernie's liking and he retrieved, yelping in fear. This was good though, the kittens had let him know that they were boss and Ernie wouldn't be hurting them- he's just super curious now. We managed to scoop Blossom out who eventually let me cuddle her, and Ernie even came for a sniff, although he p
barked the whole time. Once Ernie was gone, the kitten were a bit shook up, although we'll bring Ernie round again soon and try again!

If anyone has any tips and advice for us we'd love to see your comments below. Also, if you have any questions if you are thinking of getting a kitten then please ask!
Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed the post.




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