Number 1: They’re absolutely tiny, breakable and yet super adventurous.
I was not prepared for just how fragile 8 week old kittens would seem. Everyone talks about how resilient cats are and to be fair, by the time these girls were three months old they seemed invincible, but in those first few weeks they didn’t seem resilient at all. They were tiny and delicate and yet incredibly clumsy and I wanted to wrap them up in cotton wool and not let them out of my sight.
Number 2: They will literally get everywhere – including behind the kitchen cupboards.
I should have known. I’m sure people told me the kittens would get everywhere. In fact, I remember reading article after article about kitten-proofing your home. I naively thought I’d be able to quickly stop the kittens getting at the plants and I thought we could train them not to chew the wires. I did a quick scan of the bathroom and the kitchen, looking for gaps they could fit through, and concluded we had no worries there.
In reality, they were unstoppable. They played with, chewed and scratched EVERYTHING. They’re so intrigued by everything that, for a little while, every day is a new adventure. We started with a couple of the doors closed and then gave in and opened them all at once. They had no issues getting up high, in spite of being so little. In fact, up high was exactly where they always wanted to be. They investigated every nook and cranny and on one occasion Mambo even ended up behind the kitchen cupboards!
Looking back, if we’d stuck to our guns and kitten-proofed one room at a time, gradually introducing them to more spaces as they got older as all of the experts advise, life would definitely have been much more manageable.
Number 3 – They will poop or wee on the bed when they are unhappy with you.
We had it easy with the girls in the beginning. They were absolute angels and took to the litter tray straight away.
One year in and we’ve learned the hard way that if your little ones are feeling off, upset or just want to feel closer to you after an absence, your bed is their first port of call.
Worth noting here that whenever a kitten or cat starts doing their business in a new place, you should check-in with your vet to be on the safe side.
But on every occasion we’ve done this so far, the girls have been given the all clear and we’ve been forced to conclude they were just simply feeling off.
Number 4 – You can buy them all the toys you want, but they will play with socks, string and cardboard before they play with anything else.
There is nothing more exciting to them than a brand new cardboard box. And they will play with socks for hours, especially if they’re fresh out of the washing machine and hung up to dry. They play with anything that dangles and shoe laces, string, or dressing gown ties are a real winner too!
Number 5 – It’s worth it.
When they’re pooping on the bed, wrecking the furniture and demanding play time, all of the time, it’s easy to wonder whether it’s worth it.
But it really is. It’s worth it for the first time they come for cuddles on your lap, or run up to you as you come through the front door. The first time they join you on the end of the bed at night time or look at you with recognition.
It is worth it for how much you learn from the experience, especially if you’re a worrier like me: I hope that if I’m lucky enough to have human children some day, I’ll know to take it in my stride more and have a little faith. And to be better prepared too.
I wish I could go back and tell the Bronwen who worried so much in those first few months to breathe and have faith. They grow up fast and eventually all they really need is food, water and a clean place to poop.