When you decide to bring home a kitten, all you see kisses and rainbows and snuggles. But the reality is a little different.
What you don't consider about kitten ownership after you bring them home is what will follow in the upcoming weeks, months, and maybe years; depending on how strict your training is.
When my first cat ownership journey didn't pan out, I opted for a different plan. I decided that I would embark on the magical journey that is getting a seven-week-old kitten. There has been a lot to learn in two weeks, and here are the most important take-a-ways from this marvelous journey.
Kittens sleep a lot. At first.
The first two days, my new kitten Duncan spent a lot of time snuggling and sleeping. He woke up to eat and poop, and maybe play for a minute, but then he was fast asleep again.
Then they turn into a teenager overnight.
He was awake more and wanted to play more. He didn't want to snuggle though; he wanted to be nearby, but was suddenly embarking on this rebellious era where he was far too cool to snuggle with mom.
I was allowed to scratch his belly and play, but not snuggle. This mom-rebellion was only partial, as he still followed me everywhere I went.
Then they become master escape artists.
I had spent the better part of Duncan's first day home painstakingly crafting a beautiful safe area for him. I built him an exercise pen with his litter box, food and water, and tons of toys. He loved his little playpen. He actually cried to be put back in when he was out exploring, and would sleep soundly overnight in his safe haven.
I came home from work, four days after bringing him home, to a little cat loaf asleep on the couch. Wait...the couch?! How did he get up there?!
You start to ask "How did you get there?" all the time.
This kitten is always getting himself into places that perplex me: on top of the bed, the computer desk, out of his play area, or locked in the bathroom. I don't know what means he uses to travel, but it's constantly getting him stuck.
This is why it's so important to kitten proof. Make sure than any and everything that could pose a danger is up and away. Even if you think something is safe, double and triple check.
Then they learn about their tail.
All of a sudden, they realize they have this incredible toy that is attached and following them at all times.
It doesn't matter if they're playing with a different toy, asleep, in the middle of eating or you're asleep at 3 a.m., every second of the day is a good time to play with their tail.
Then they learn to bite.
Consequently, Duncan learned what a spray bottle was the same moment he learned to bite. Right now, his teeny little needle-sharp teeth don't hurt too much, but they will when he's bigger.
Consistent training is key, and so is making sure there are always toys for him to bite instead of hands. The behaviors are cute now, but if you don't stop them they will continue when he's a full-grown cat.
They also find their voice.
And their attitude. The first week, Duncan spent the majority of it running from my Chihuahua. Now, in full brother mode, he hisses at him and puffs up like a tough guy.
He's also found his very tiny, squeaky voice and protests whenever mom decided he needs an infinite amount of kisses and love.
In the two weeks he's been home, he's grown from a sleepy ball of purring fluff to a tiny, feisty house tiger.
But its not only the destination that counts, it's the journey along the way.
All images via Samantha Bubar.