Another use for a high chair:

Good heavens, that high chair is so filthy I almost dread posting these pictures lest the health department cite me for inappropriate food handling practices. Of course, the cats in the kitchen wouldn't be looked upon very highly either.

For those who have been asking, I think we have finally settled on names for the cat children. The girl (in the picture above, she's in the front) is Nellie - but sometimes we call her Maggie. We seem to be using those two names interchangeably at this point and they both fit her fine because she ignores them each equally well (she is a cat, after all). The boy is Barker. Benjamin Barker, to be exact. I personally, don't think either name works for him but when we try different names on him they don't fit either, so I think we're going to leave his name as such. When we call them, we just say, "Here, kittykittykittykittykittykitty," anyway. The Caterpillar just calls them, "No, no, no, no, no!" So it doesn't really matter what their names are in the end.

And yes, we can tell them apart - most of the time, anyway. They have slightly different shaped faces; hers is more round and she fits the applehead definition better. His is slightly more triangular in that wedgehead Siamese way. It will be interesting to see what they turn out to look like as they grow up. They have slightly different coats - his is shaggier. But the real difference is in their personalities and you can tell which cat jumps up on the
bed in the morning even before you open your eyes. She is the rowdy - the one whom curiosity will one day kill. She'll be the one we find perched at the top of the closet hanging from the bar or inside the dishwasher. He is the love, which would be nice if his version of being affectionate didn't involve trying to stick his head inside your nose while you are sleeping. They also purr differently. His purr is like a finely-tuned motor, "Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr." Her purr, however, goes in fits and starts, "Purrrrrr *pause* purrrrrrrr *pause* purrrrrrrr *pause* purrrrrrr."

They've been a ton of fun so far.

I also promised some folks the adoption story.*

*I just wrote what's below and am now coming back to this point to say, "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here" because, oh my goodness, did I ramble on, and I don't really have the wherewithal to edit it down to something that might be entertaining or efficient to read so you may just want to skip it altogether. As Thomas Jefferson once said, "I'm sorry for writing you such a long letter. If I'd had more time, I would have written you a short one."

When we started looking for the kitties, I had a couple of ideas for my wish list. I did not want a pure bred cat from a breeder. I also did not want a cat from a pet store. So that left getting a cat from a rescue, a humane society or another pet owner. I really wanted a kitten. Partly so the girls could have the experience of watching a kitten grow up, but mainly because my theory about animals is the same as my theory about kids. When you watch someone else's kid, you are also watching all the habits and baggage that comes with them. Everyone has Stuff They Can't Deal With and therefore stomp out of their kids at a young age. But my Stuff and your Stuff is not the same Stuff. So when I'm around my own kids that I've raised, they're less likely to push my buttons with Stuff I Can't Stand. Similarly, when you adopt an older animal, you're also adopting all their behaviors, experiences and baggage. That's fine if everyone in the house is an adult and can learn to deal with the unique personality traits of a cat who bites too easily because it was treated too roughly, but when there are children in the house, that's a little more iffy prospect. If they all grow up together, they all learn from an early age to deal with one another and the bad habits they acquire are usually bad habits we can all live with. That's my theory anyway and no one ever disregarded a perfectly good theory just because it wasn't true.

I originally was looking for one kitten and that was all I really wanted to handle for now. I like the idea of having two cats so they can keep each other company when we're gone during the day, but I thought I'd just get one now and a couple of years down the line consider another. I also thought it would be great to have a Siamese, since I'd had Siamese growing up but I'd been scouring Siamese rescues all over the country for months and I learned two things: kittens are hard to come by and it's amazing how many tabby cats they have listed as Siamese. Not that I was completely dead set on getting a Siamese and nothing else, but there are plenty of tabby cats right here in my neighborhood, so shipping a cat from Colorado that they called a Siamese but was really a tabby seemed like overkill.

Finally, after several months I gave up on the Siamese idea - I just couldn't find the right cat within a fifty miles radius so I just decided to look for cats at our local humane society. That's when I saw the cutest little Flame Point Siamese kitten and decided I had to know more about her. I clicked through her information and found that she was at a Siamese rescue not twenty miles away from my house. I emailed the woman and learned she wasn't involved in the Siamese rescue network and she'd been right there all this time. So I scheduled a time to come see two of the kittens she had at the moment, the Flame Point and a little Snowshoe.

Here's the thing about people who love animals so much that they are willing to take in scores of strays that aren't even theirs: They are ka-ra-zee. I'm not really trying to dis them here. I think there's a special place in heaven for folks who are willing to love and care for a whole bunch of God's creatures. I consider myself an animal person and I couldn't do it, so I think people who do are a breed apart (no pun intended). But, and I've heard this experience from many others who have adopted pets from rescue families, they get a little attached to "their" animals and then start acting like they have the power of God in a bottle and and can only choose someone to adopt the animals who is at LEAST as good a pet owner as themselves... and since there is no one as good as them, that's a difficult proposition.

I went to this woman's house to meet the kittens and took The Caterpillar with me so I could gauge how they'd react to her. We talked about my experience with cats, did I know about Siamese and how they were different, the set up of my house, how I intended to keep the animal safe from the children and vice versa, did I believe in declawing them, would I let them go outside, what kind of litter and food I liked to use... I felt like I was on an episode of Law and Order: Special Animal Unit. I met the two cats and loved them both, but I really liked the idea of the Snowshoe more than the Flame Point - mostly because she had told me that another family had already put an application in for the Flame. So I filled out the paperwork to adopt either... four pages of paperwork that required a complete accounting of cats I'd owned in my lifetime, how long they lived, how they died, a letter from my previous vet and three references from other animal owners who could make an assertion about what kind of a kitten (not "cat" in general, but "kitten") owner I would be.

Then, I heard nothing. For weeks.

Finally, I emailed her and asked if she had everything she needed and/or was someone else applying for the kittens too. She responded that no, no one else wanted the kittens and that the first family who had applied for the Flame had backed out. But she was wrestling with the dilemma of whether or not to give one of the kittens to our family because one kitten she felt was too timid and would be afraid of my children, while the other kitten was too rowdy and rambunctious and might scratch my children. I said, "You never met Lizzy, I see," but she didn't find that amusing or reassuring. So we waited. And waited. And waited some more while she wrestled with her conscience and consoled herself with the fact that she had ten other cats in her house and none of the humans living there had any olfactory sense left.

Then two things happened. One, she finally contacted some of the people on my reference list and both my vet and my other references came through with ridiculous and glowing praises about what a way I have with animals and how any cat would be lucky to have me as a cat mom and how I could deal with a difficult animal's behavior and you better put on your cowboy boots if you want to read the rest because it's going to get pret-ty deep in here. And two, she found out that she was getting six more cats that week.

So we went back to her house - this time, the whole family - and after a twenty minute car ride where I instructed The Dormouse NOT TO SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THE SMELL IN THIS WOMAN'S HOUSE IF YOU VALUE YOUR LIFE JUST DO NOT BREATHE IF IT BOTHERS YOU, we walked in and met two little Seal Point brother and sister kitties. I've always been partial to the Seals and they seemed to be completely at home with the girls so we decided that Providence was telling us we needed not one, but two cats and these were the cats for us. And suddenly, perhaps because we had previously been deemed worthy, or maybe because she realized she had to get rid of at least a couple of cats or they all might gang up and eat her in her sleep, she let us walk out with them that day without even a "What are you going to feed them?" I did however, have to sign an agreement that included, among other things, If I decide not to sterilize the cats when they are old enough, I promise to pay a $500 breeder's fee (each) and If the cat gets lost I promise to look for it.

And the rest is history.