This page will serve as an introduction to, and provide a continuing saga of, the two new members of the DREAM AWAY crew. As most of you may remember, our famous boat cat, Puss-N-Boots, died on February 20th of this year. Initially, we decided we did not want another cat, as we felt no pet could replace Puss-N-Boots. He was an irreplaceable companion in our lives, and even now we continue to mourn his loss. But, we have always been pet people, and Puss-N-Boots taught us that we are actually cat people. This is strange, but true, especially given our cruising lifestyle. And so, we finally accepted the fact that we really did want another pet. Besides, our Sweet T had been whispering in our ear for some time that we really needed to get another cat, and that we really needed to get two! Yeah, right!
Well, to make a long story short, on August 14th, we purchased two Birman kittens. The female was born in April, and is named Jillian. We call her “Jilly”, for short. The male was born in March, and is named Jordan. We call him “Jordie” for short. As it happens, the tradition of naming Birman cats is that all cats born in the same year must have names that start with the letter assigned to that year. This year, it was a “J”.
One of the big reasons we even started looking at Birman cats was they are on the list of being highly hypoallergenic cats, even though they have long hair. So far, I have not had very many reactions to the two kittens. Kitty (mine) wipes them down every other day with a wet cloth, and brushes them, so this is a big help. As I mentioned, the kittens are long-haired cats, but they do not have an undercoat, so they don’t shed very much, and they don’t seem to have much, if any, dander.
We are still getting used to having kittens. Their lives are full of wonderment. Everything is new and needs to be explored, played with, and chewed. It seems that our fingers and toes are quite attractive to them … probably because they are so young and still have the suckling instinct. But, as you can imagine, that quickly becomes intolerable, so we are working with them to influence them against this particular practice. We’ve even found something akin to kitten pacifiers. Not perfect, but a bit distracting, which is all good.
We are still teaching them commands, and that will continue for some time. It is a learning process for all of us! Puss-N-Boots understood so many commands, and was so settled in his habits, and we were settled with him. This teaching/learning process is taking a bit of patience. But, it’s fun, and we are enjoying watching them pick up the ideas. Jilly seems to “get it” rather quickly. Jordie is in fulltime play mode, so it takes a bit longer with him.
Things are vastly different with these new kittens. Jordie is my new best friend. No matter what I am doing, he is right there with me making sure all goes well. One night I was in the galley preparing Eggplant Parmesan. I had fried the eggplant in Panko bread crumbs and olive oil. When I finished, I set the frying pan aside to cool, and was preparing the pan of Eggplant Parmesan, covered with spaghetti sauce. As usual, Jordie was sitting on the refrigerator watching my every move. When I turned around to get a spoon out of the galley drawer, Jordie made the leap! Initially, he landed in the pan of Eggplant Parmesan. He instantly realized that this was not a great idea. So, he leaped out of the pan ... and into the still warn skillet!
I turned around in time to snatch him quickly out of the skillet, and yell for Kitty. She grabbed Jordie to clean the tomato sauce off of his fur, and to put Vaseline on his feet in case they were burned. I cleaned up the galley, repaired the Eggplant Parmesan, and got it in the oven to cook.
The Eggplant Parmesan was excellent, and the two kittens were chasing each other around the boat a couple of hours later, so all was well. We have changed the recipe name to “Jordie's Jump Eggplant Parmesan”!
Following are some pictures of the two new kittens. As you will see, one is very regal (Jilly), and the other looks to be every bit the little imp that he is. They romp and play together, groom one another, and sleep wrapped up together. They are really endearing. We hope you will enjoy them as much as we do.
This is our next installment and update on the two new crew members of DREAM AWAY. The kittens are growing up fast. They are both getting bigger, i.e. longer, and much "fluffier". But they do not seem to weigh any more. They are both pretty settled into their routines.
They have two different morning routines, depending on whether or not I am at home. When I am home, they have an early breakfast, amble around a bit, and then they get into full time play. They play with the toys they have in their toy box, or they chase one another from one end of the boat to the other, full tilt. Having turned on their full energy for a couple of hours, they then get into serious napping. They literally fall in a heap, and cannot be disturbed. When I am not at home, they sleep patiently beside the Admiral, and cozy up to her as she starts to stir. Jordan lies at her head, with his paw stretched out to be held. Jillian sleeps up by her shoulder, on the opposite side of where Jordan is lying. When the Admiral gets up, she feeds them breakfast, and the rest of the routine kicks in.
The most noticeable trait, they seem have absolute trust in us. By that I mean, they will sleep lying on their backs, with all four legs spread out, as you can see in several of the pictures. From what we have read, this is very unusual for cats. Our Puss-N-Boots would very rarely sleep on his back, and did not like being put on his back when we held him. Our two new crew members have no problem with it! They seem to have no fear of anything. This is a trait of the breed, and one of the reasons owners must sign a contract with the breeder that these cats will always be indoor cats. Their trust is so implicit that they cannot fathom danger, and so will approach anything without any concept of being hurt. We have to keep them on harnesses and leashes if we take them into the cockpit. The Admiral is convinced that if they saw a shiny, exciting mullet jump in the river near the boat, they would jump right in after it. She may be right … we don’t want to risk it.
One exception is that Jilly is quite uncomfortable when the vacuum cleaner is running, but Jordan seems to take it in stride. But even when I start the main engine, neither has an issue with either the noise or the vibration. Puss-N-Boots did not like the main engine at all.
Here are some more pictures of the kittens. The first few pictures are of them at the breeders house before we got them. The rest of the pictures of them have been takensince the last "Kittens Aboard" update in September of 2012.