Opposites Attack

The more I study my two kitties, Jinx and Milo, the more I am convinced that they are from two different planets. Talk about polar opposites! If I had gone out of my way to find two more dissimilar cats, I don’t think I could have done a better job.

Jinx is laid back and mellow. She gets nervous and agitated by loud outdoor sounds, such as garbage trucks and fire sirens, even though they are a pretty frequent occurrence in our neighborhood. Milo is unphasable. He is a Type A personality, always eager to play, to chase, to discover! The only time he is still is when he’s sleeping. Jinx, on the other hand, prefers what is familiar and what she knows is safe. Here are some more differences I’ve observed…

Because I believe declawing is cruel, both of my cats have the sharp, destructive claws that they were born with. Jinx meticulously manicures her nails on a scratching board. Milo, meanwhile, makes a scratching post out of whatever is handy: the mattress, the fuzzy toilet seat cover, the rubber ball I was using for physical therapy, the once-handsome “pleather” armchair in the living room… you get the picture. Sometimes I get brave and attempt to snip the tips of his sharp claws, but he hates the clippers I bought for him. I’m lucky if I can clip three toenails before he squirms out of my grip.

Jinx doing her nails
Jinx doing her nails

Then there’s feeding time. Jinx is a choosy eater. Her mealtime method is to approach her food carefully, examine it, sniff it, then lick it cautiously. If it tastes good, she’ll eat it with the best of manners, chewing her food thoroughly and stopping when she is full. Milo can best be compared to a garbage disposal with whiskers. He inhales his food. Cat food, people food, any food, every last crumb! I have keep a watchful eye on these two when I feed them together, to make sure that Milo doesn’t take over both bowls before Jinx has her fill.

Even when it comes to purring, Milo and Jinx are once again at opposite ends of the spectrum. Jinx’s purr is very quiet, barely audible. I liken it to a newborn infant softly snoring with the sweetest baby’s breath. Milo’s purr, on the other hand, sounds more like an idling motorboat. It doesn’t take him long to reach maximum volume.

Hi! Love me???
Hi! Love me???

Lastly, my two furpals (I prefer this term of endearment to the hackneyed “furbabies”) have very different ways of showing affection. Jinx is very much a “giver.” She will approach me at her leisure and lovingly rub against my my legs with her luxurious fur. Since she is not normally the most demonstrative cat; it is always a surprise and an honor when she jumps into my lap, eager to be stroked for a few minutes. Conversely, Milo is constantly demanding and “in your face.” He can be a bit obnoxious in his need for attention, and his jealousy of Jinx.

Not knowing the origins of either cat– preceding their time at the SPCA– I can’t psychoanalyze their behavior and blame it on their very early kittenhood. I can only deal with these two very different cats as I know them now. And “now” is but a temporary state… As they are continuously evolving.

2 cats in a row

Advertisements

A Jinx and Milo Update

When I  started this blog, I was very worried about my black cat, Jinx, as she was putting on weight, growing lethargic and acting generally depressed. I’ve since made some little changes in her diet and daily routine, and I am happy to report that she is doing much better!

Let me backtrack a bit and give you some Jinx history… I adopted her from the local SPCA when she was just about a year old (she’s almost 5 now). Her original name was “June Bug,” but I knew that would never do. It was too “cutesy” for such an intense girl. After throwing around ideas like Elvira, Spooky and Raven, I decided that Jinx was perfect for her (with Elvira as a middle name). They told me when I adopted her, that they’d had to keep her separated from other cats at the shelter because of her temperament. She was mean to other cats, a bully, I suppose.

Jinx curled up

When I first moved into my new apartment, I was working two part time jobs. I hated the idea of Jinx being alone for so many hours. If I knew it was going to be an especially long day, I would ask a friend to stop by and feed her and give her a few minutes of attention. Of course, I’ve always been of the philosophy that two cats are better than one. I thought she would appreciate a feline buddy… if I chose wisely. I ruled out other females right away. Two dominant Queens under one roof would surely spell disaster! I figured my best bet would be to get an adult male, with a strong personality of his own. Maybe an orange Tom, like Morris. Wouldn’t the orange fur and black fur look nice together? Like Halloween all year long!

But then… Milo happened. I found him on Craigslist, in the “free” section. It was placed by a military couple, both of them in the Army, and they just didn’t have time for this needy little five-month-old kitten. He came with everything: litter box, toys, food bowl, cat chow, and papers showing that he’s had his shots. (Oh, and this adorable Star Wars collar!) How could I say “no”???

Star Wars Collar

I was worried that Jinx might be mean to the little guy. But she was intrigued. She wanted to make friends, but Milo was having none of it! Tiny as he was back then, he hissed at her and chased her off! Over the next few months, as Milo grew, he continued to bully Jinx, especially at feeding time. Also, I have to admit that I spoiled him rotten. He was such a cute baby, and a natural “poser” that I was taking pics of him all the time. Poor Jinx must have started to think that I loved him more.

Upside Down, Boy You Turn Me Inside Out

Lately, I’ve been making sure that Jinx and I get some one-on-one time at least twice a day, without Milo butting his little head in. The extra coddling, plus the switch to mostly canned food, rather than all dry, has made a big difference. Jinx is more active, even a little playful at times. She’s been giving Milo a run for his money, rather than just giving in to him. They don’t seriously fight, but they “box” and swat at each other.

Milo Jinx grass meeting

I still hold on to the hope that they will be buddies one day. I do love to see kitties snuggled up together for a cat nap! It still might happen. 🙂

A Cat In The Window

I love the sight of a cat in the window.

From the outside... It is such a delight to see one or both of my cats silhouetted in the living room window, when I’m coming home from anywhere … Nothing says “welcome” like their furry little faces, anticipating my return. Someone is happy to see me!

2 cats in winter window

From the inside… I enjoy observing my cat perched on my bedroom window sill, staring intently through the glass, thinking deep cat thoughts. Is she remembering a former life? Seeing mystical things that human eyes are incapable of detecting? Planning to conquer the world?

Window Jinx5 side eye

Probably, all of the above.

Black Cat Blues

Things are looking up. Frozen February has meandered into a more merciful March. The North Country’s seemingly never-ending stretch of sub-zero and single-digit temperatures are slowly rising to double digits. And inside the cozy, winterproof apartment that I call home, spirits are improving among the furry natives.

When I last posted here (okay, so this is only the second post in this blog), I was very worried about my beautiful black cat, Jinx. She’s been utterly dreary, and on edge, plus she has gained some weight. I have followed the veterinarian’s advice, putting both cats on a mostly wet (canned) food diet. I can’t tell if Jinx has lost any weight yet, by looking at her, and I don’t have a scale in the house. But I would think she’d be losing weight, because she almost never finishes her food! The vet said the cats should be eating the equivalent of two tuna fish can sized portions (or three Fancy Feast sized cans) per day. Well, Jinx will not finish a can of Fancy Feast, or a half-can portion of a larger can of Friskies, or what have you. She eats a tiny bit, taking her sweet time, and leaves the majority on the plate. Refrigerated leftovers are not met with much enthusiasm.

Milo, meanwhile, is a lean, mean, eating machine. He eats dry food, he eats wet food. He finishes his own food, he hogs Jinx’s food. If I don’t do the dishes quickly enough, he’ll can be found in the kitchen sink, licking the pots and pans. The only thing he doesn’t do is get into the garbage. You’d think I never feed this guy, the way he cries when he smells food that he can’t have (as in, my meals).

It’s also concerned me that Jinx has spent almost every minute of the day here:

cats and charcoal 003

She has been sleeping her nine lives away in this red bin, meticulously kneading a “bed” for herself on the old blue blanket pictured here. I’m happy to report that this morning, she’s instead sleeping at my feet, curled up on a brown tote bag. She was more active than usual earlier today, which I was glad to see. I’ve made sure to give her lots of extra attention. It seems to be making a positive difference. Her lack of appetite still concerns me, though.

Milo is behaving a little bit better. No harassing Jinx this morning… but it’s early. Don’t want to “jinx” things. (Pun intended.) He’s snoozing at the foot of my unmade bed. Yeah, I’ll get to that… eventually.

He looks so innocent...
               He looks so innocent…

An Introduction to Jinx and Milo

I am a cat person. Always have been, although I never “owned” a cat until I was in my early twenties. Being an apartment renter is the only thing that keeps me from becoming a “crazy cat lady.” Well, that and the fact that I hate scooping smelly litter boxes. (How can two kitties possibly produce so much poop?) Also, while I’d love to have three cats, the two I live with now barely get along. Let me introduce you to my two “kids”: Jinx and Milo.

beddy-bye kittiesThat’s young Milo on the left, and the beautiful Miss Jinx on the right. This adorable photograph of the duo is almost as rare as a Bigfoot sighting. They never cuddle up like this… like, NEVER EVER! Here is a picture snapped during the same photo session that more accurately portrays their day to day relationship.

CHOMP!!!!

Here, you see Milo attempting to swallow Jinx’s head. Sigh. She used to be such a feisty cat, tough, and just a teensy bit evil. I was worried when I brought Milo into the household (he was a wee kitten, just five months old at the time) that Jinx would be mean to him. Au contraire! Jinx was very interested in the new arrival, but Milo immediately hissed at her, like a poisonous snake, ready to strike. He treated me the same way too, at first, until it occurred to him on the third day that I was the chick who feeds him. That magical morning he just ran into my arms like I was the love of his life.

But as for Jinx… Where is the love? They are OH so jealous of one another, it’s pathetic. I can’t pay attention to one of them without the other acting out in some way. In Milo’s case, he gets destructive, clawing the bed, the couch, the seat cushions, etc. Or, he’ll simply go after Jinx, chasing her throughout the house. Poor Jinx, on the other hand, has reacted to the situation by getting depressed. She sleeps all day. While it’s true that felines tend to slumber for 12 to 14 hours a day, I noticed an increase in her normal sleep habits. I’ve tried giving her extra attention lately (with Milo purposely kept out of the room), and it seems to help a little.

I also noticed she’s been putting on weight, although her diet has not changed. I give both cats an “indoor formula” dry cat food, plus wet canned food a couple times a week. She used to be so skinny, and now she’s become a little chunkster. Jinx was also thirsty a lot. I began to worry that she could be diabetic. Fortunately, a vet checkup ruled that out. The doctor told me to put her on an all wet food diet. She said that dry cat foods contain 30% carbohydrates, and that cats cannot digest carbs properly. I was worried that an all-wet diet might give the cats diarrhea, but the vet said that no, once they got used to it, they’d be fine. At 10.6 pounds, Jinx is a little overweight for her small stature. About 8 pounds would be healthy for her, according to Dr. P. She advised me that the weight would be slow to come off. I’m not so sure, because she is so finicky. Either that, or she just has a small appetite. I feed her separate from Milo now, because she likes to eat slowly, whereas Milo is a speed-eater. And when he finishes his portion, he’ll nudge Jinx aside and eat hers! And she just lets him!

So, that’s what I am dealing with. Your advice and comments would be much appreciated!

I look forward to bringing lots of fun, interesting, and sometimes touching cat stories to my WordPress audience!

Crazy eyes! Milo better watch his back!
Crazy eyes! Milo better watch his back!