Saturday, January 09, 2016

how the florida gingersnaps came to be

Ponder and Greebo.

The Florida Gingersnaps are a reaction to the loss of my Lucy (whose photo still adorns the header of my blog) and Max back in June 2015 combined with coming across John Scalzi's Ohio Scamperbeasts on his blog Whatever. John Scalzi had also lost two pets, both cats, and his new kittens, named Sugar and Spice, were replacements. A reasonable one-to-one replacement I might add.

But why Gingersnaps? Because they're both gingers, and because gingersnaps were my daughter's favorite cookies back when they were little little characters themselves.

When I first lost Lucy (the cat) I never intended to replace her with any other animal, especially not another cat. And that's the way it stayed until October, when my oldest daughter's newest cat (which she'd rescued) delivered a litter of five kittens; three female calicos and two ginger males. Mom, going by the name of Sunshine, is an all-ginger female. It's funny how genetics works, and how the two males came out looking like mom, but not the females.

Once the kittens were born, a mad scramble ensued to try and place them all in new homes. The females were fairly easy, although one of them wound up being promised out twice when the first people decided they couldn't take a kitten. And that's fine; rather know about such issues well in advance rather than later. But no one stepped forward offering to adopt the males. As it got closer to when those guys needed to be weened and moved to their Forever Home, my resolve about not having another cat wavered and finally evaporated. How I managed to volunteer for the both of them I still haven't quite figured out...

Male cats have a (perhaps unwarranted) reputation for being, well, males. Their biggest sin is wanting to spray their urine on everything to mark it, and the smell of that urine. So far, as kittens, neither male is doing any of that, and they're approaching three months of age. But it won't be long before they're fixed. So far both males have been very affectionate to each other as well as to me and my wife. When it comes to socialization I can't tell the difference between them and Lucy. One other characteristic they share with my Lucy is their purring. They are as loud as she was, and getting both of them going is something to hear. My only complaint about them is their over-abundance of energy, especially at 3am in the morning when I'm sound asleep. They wake up and bounce around the bedroom and off of me. After about 30 minutes they finally calm down and go back to sleep.

The names Greebo and Ponder are from the Diskworld series written by Terry Pratchett. I believe I've read (and own) just about every book he published. His passing back on 12 March 2015 was keenly felt by me. I never met the man except through his writings, but I certainly appreciated his sharp wit and interesting prose. And it hit that I'd never see another book from him again.

When the opportunity for the two males presented itself, I immediately knew what one of them would be named: Greebo. Greebo is an interesting cat. Greebo was Pratchett's attempt to put all the myths about cats into one creature. I've never come across a cat quite like Greebo in real life, but I've seen similar, singular, characteristics present themselves on occasion in other more domestic felines. And for the record, my Greebo is nothing like the one in the book. He's shy and when he comes up for rubs he's as sweet a cat as you could wish for. Just like his brother Ponder.

Ponder is Ponder Stibbons, the youngest faculty member of Unseen University and the creator of UU's supercomputer Hex. A supercomputer that incorporates ants as part of its mechanism. It was the computer link that sealed the deal for the naming of Ponder.

I can tell the difference between the two. Greebo has the darker markings.

momma guarding
where is my mom????

It's good to have the two kittens, just like it's good to have Annie the Doodle. Which reminds me, I need to write more about Ruby and Annie...

florida gingersnaps, one week on

Ponder and Greebo.

The Florida Gingersnaps, Greebo and Ponder, have not only managed to survive their transplant from Gainesville to Orlando, but are thriving, having put on at least a pound since coming to live at Casa Beebe. I've kept them in a single large bedroom with their own three-level cat tree, plenty of soft towels, toys, food and fresh water. I spend as much time with them as possible, sleeping with them every night. Or, I spend the night in the same room with them. The sleeping part is optional.

At night they love to go zooming around the room, using me as a trampoline as they bounce from the floor to the bed, onto me, to the bedside table, the dresser, then over to the cat tree, then down to the floor and under the furniture, then back up onto the bed. When they get tired they snuggle up next to me to get their second and third wind, then start it all up again.

Ponder's pondering.
Ponder and Greebo.

Starting this weekend we begin to introduce the Gingersnaps to the rest of the four-footed household. I have a very large cat cage on coasters that I can roll around the house with them inside. It has three interior levels with ramps so that they can move around. This weekend will prove to be interesting.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

we're all a little less shy now, especially greebo

greebo stands guard over ponder

Twenty-four hours after the Gingersnaps officially arrived, they're both coming out together. Greebo in particular is no longer moving around the room underneath the furniture. When I went to bed last night both he (looking) and Ponder (sound asleep) were up, together, cuddled together in a corner of the bed. For the curious that's Lucy's old blanket in the background... When I finally, carefully, sacked out then Greebo went to sleep as well.

It would have been a sound sleep except that sometime around 3am I was awakened to small scampering feet across the top of the blankets and me. Then at 5am Ponder started his burrowing under the blankets trick again while Geebo stayed on top to pounce him, in their version of the bed mice game.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

first night for the gingersnaps

ponder sleeping his first night.
Ponder discovers a pillow

The first night has passed and the two have managed to survive, in spite of what their tiny hearts might have thought when first arriving. Greebo, the larger of the two, has been in hiding the entire time so far. Ponder has spent the time zipping in and out of hiding spots, checking things out, and learning just how comfortable pillows are for resting your head.

During the night I felt the tiny body of Ponder hitting the bed as he leaped up on the side, and then climbed to the top to run around on top of me. At least once he play-attacked my fingers. He might be small but his claws are still quite sharp.

When I got up in the morning the bowl of cat kitten food was fairly well depleted. It's been refilled and fresh water put in the big dish on the floor. I'm assuming that both Greebo and Ponder are feeding and drinking. I have seen Greebo under the furniture peeking out at me when I went looking for him. I'm leaving him alone while he continues to adjust.

So far the guys have not wanted to stray out of the back bedroom, which is fine by me. I'd hate to have to go find a Greebo hiding place in the much larger house.