When we collected her she was so nervous and tiny, but still foreshadowing the feisty, sassy character she would soon become. She hissed and nipped quite a few times! It took a few hours for her to come out of hiding when we first got home, everything must have seemed so big and unfamiliar to her. She gave us a few sleepless nights of worry whilst she hid under the bed, but soon was curling up on top of it in her new forever home.
Now when we look back to her first few days with us it seems impossible to believe it was the same timid and very shy cat. Ripley has now made herself completely at home, she is a part of our family and we can’t imagine being without her. In the week when my boyfriend, Joe, and I are working from home at separate desks she spends her time napping on each of our laps with occasional bouts of incredibly wild ‘zoomies’ which include climbing up our yucca plant like it’s a fireman’s pole, chewing electrical wires, parkouring from couch to couch and climbing the curtains. But on the most part, we have been really lucky and she has been a brilliantly behaved little kitten.
We have taken our new role of cat parents very seriously and have learnt a lot along the way. When Ripley was very young she had a few accidents and mistook our bed for her litterbox. When this happens in the middle of the night it’s very annoying and your first instinct is to tell your cat off and put her in her litterbox but after doing some reading around the subject we learnt that this can make the problem worse. The reason why a kitten can do this is that they feel safe and secure on your bed because it smells like you (how adorable!).
The main cause of this problem is often the cat not liking the type of litter you use, the position of the litterbox or if the litterbox is dirty. We changed the type of litter and added a few extra litterboxes and, thankfully, it hasn’t happened again.
Another tip that we have found very useful is to discourage any biting or scratching of the hands straight away. Playful kittens often grab onto hands and feet and see them as toys but it’s important to stop this as soon as possible. It may seem cute and adorable when they are kittens but when they become big this can lead to them hurting you. We direct Ripley to a toy or scratching post when she is on the attack or say ‘no or ‘ouch’ to let her know this is unwanted behaviour. Hands are for strokes and not scratches. Sadly, we had to rehome our yucca plant…if anyone knows how to stop a cat climbing up a toxic plant, please let me know!
She has made our lockdown time fly as she is a constant source of adorable cuteness and entertainment. Recent studies have shown the positive effects of having a cat and the great impact it can have on mental health. After spending a few years without a cat I honestly do notice the difference and I feel so much happier at my home with a cat for constant companionship and cuddles.
Essential reading for new kittens: