Today marks one year since we decided to keep the kittenses. Not much has changed since I posted Ritz’s and Dante’s stories. However, as I’ve been marking major anniversaries, I wanted to write something for them.
Despite their nearly full-grown size, the boys are still kittens at heart. Their food meows are still higher-pitched and kitten-like. Their appetites, especially Ritz’s are still overactive. Ritz who’s still growing at a fairly steady rate, always thinks he’s starving, and believes everyone’s food is his. I know many cats do this, but imagine an average cat times 10.
The boys are also both roly-poly in the way kittens are. It’s so cute, and I hope they never grow out of it.
Perhaps it’s because of their initial isolation — we had to keep them separate from the older boys until we could get a vet visit and test results — Ritz and Dante have an amazing bond.
Of course, they play together, play wrestling and chasing each other to their hearts’ content. This play also often morphs into combat grooming or bath time. It’s adorable.
Relationship with the Older Boys
Ritz gets along better with Bumbledore and Sandy, likely because he’s more respectful of personal space. He has an almost filial relationship with his Uncle Bumble. He defers to Bumble, and obviously looks up to him. Bumble will often groom him, licking is head and neck.
Sandy isn’t as close to Ritz, but tolerates him well. Sometimes, Sandy will initiate playtime with him. Jim even caught Sandy licking Ritz’s head at one point. But, being the grumpy old man that he is, Sandy will also hiss and bat at Ritz on occasion.
Dante, however, is a different story. Even Bumble will sometimes complain at him. He pushes everyone’s buttons in his never-ending quest for attention and to show how much he loves his family.
Sandy will, sometimes, deign to play with Dante, but far more often will either ignore or vehemently hiss at him. This, of course, serves as a somewhat confusing situation for Dante who never really knows which reaction he’s going to incur. Ever the optimist, he goes into each encounter assuming Sandy will play.
Order of Dominance
Because of his size and strength, Ritz would be Alpha cat if he didn’t defer to Bumbledore. I’m assuming that his deference is what makes Bumbledore Alpha cat. Bumbledore doesn’t lord it over the others, he’s a benevolent leader, and will let the kittenses get away with a lot, but there are moments where he asserts dominance, and the kittenses will immediately belly-up in submission.
Ritz is heir apparent, clearly the Beta cat to Bumbledore’s Alpha, much to Sandy’s consternation. Where Ritz used to submit to Sandy, in the past 2-4 months, he’s stood his ground, even smacking Sandy back when necessary. Needless to say, my old ginger grumpers isn’t best pleased with that.
Sandy is third in line, but — in my opinion — only because Dante is so roly-poly and somewhat neurotic. I think he’s slowly growing to accept his position, but I also don’t think he likes it. He’s just accepting that he’s getting older and can’t keep up with kitties in their prime.
Dante defers to everyone, even Sandy, which puts him at the bottom of the barrel. He may be an evil genius and smart as a whip, but he’s the most skittish of everyone. Hopefully we can find some way to improve that over the years. Interestingly, he doesn’t defer to Ritz when play fighting. They each seem to “win” about half of the time.
The Outdoor Kingdoms
Our house is the indoor kingdom of Catsburgh His Meowjesty King Bumbledore I rules over. The outdoor kingdoms are led by Queen Talkie of Step-on-Porchington and Queen Moon of Undercarrington.
Step-on-Porchington tends to be more bountiful when it comes to food availability, so Queen Moon, her consort, Prince Spot, and her two new children — the Dukes Pumpkin and Spice (Jim named them) — are frequent visitors.
Our kittenses really enjoy watching the visiting royalty through the window and will even play with the Dukes and Talkie — usually “paw at the window” or “peek-a-boo.” Their younger siblings, however, tend to be more interested in the food and each other.
The Dukes have also started visiting our back deck, and will sometimes paw at our kittenses through the sliding glass door. Much fun is had by all.
The kittenses also enjoy watching the Misters and Misses Squirrel on the deck. Mr. Brown Squirrel is their favorite because he will come right up to the sliding glass door and paw at it.
Overall, the kittenses are a delight. We love them to bits and they bring us so much joy. Here’s hoping they will continue to do so for at least a decade and a half more.