I’ve never liked cats. Never cuddled one, never stroked one and didn’t want one (let alone two!). I’ve been a dog person all my life and at the time of getting Ivy & Nova I still had a dog; a very old loveable dozy Cavalier King Charles called Rio who I know would accept two ‘little sisters’.
Back in Feb 2017 a stray cat came into my life – she came to my garden gate, then into the garden, then into the house. Rio took it all in his stride. As much as I disliked cats, the thought of her not having a home, food or shelter was worse, so I welcomed her into my home (later to discover she was playing me and had a wonderful home of her own!). Nonetheless, I became extremely attached. Sadly, in April 2018 her life was cut short – the road outside my home which I had always feared would take a cat’s life did exactly that with the ‘stray’. I was heartbroken. I still had Rio and still had zero plans to get a cat.
Fast forward to July 2018 and I’m scrolling through Facebook when there they are! A photo on the Teckels website of four kittens. Two black and two with more pattern/colouring. The one (now known as Ivy) instantly melted my heart – I HAD TO HAVE HER! I have never felt such a tug toward an animal, ever! I kept telling myself don’t be daft, you can’t have a cat just because of a cute kitty pic, you don’t know a thing about cats, you don’t even like cats…! After a week I went to visit Teckels, I explained I had no experience or knowledge of cats, and that I owned a dog (which would be no threat!) but could I please see her. That was when the bombshell (for me!) was dropped – not only were the litter feral (they were discovered under a shed with their mum when they were approximately 4 weeks old), but Teckels would like the kittens to be rehomed in pairs! I can’t lie, I was upset. My ideal of a sweet little kitty went bang out the window. I said I’d think about it and talk with my family (my husband and two adult sons). I did nothing but research feral kittens, talk with some friends who had had feral kittens and just kept looking at their sweet little faces. I decided to do it. I believe the ‘stray’ had come into my life for a reason – without her I’d never have given these kittens a second thought.
I arrived at Teckels a week later and adopted 2 kittens – I visited them every other day for the subsequent 4 weeks, despite this I still hadn’t stroked either of them. On the drive home they cried the whole way and I did momentarily think ‘WHAT HAVE I DONE!’ They were so incredibly timid and little Nova did nothing but hiss and try and scratch, she was so protective of her siblings. This melted my heart, she wasn’t a nasty vicious kitten, she was terrified and just needed to learn to trust and love and I was more than willing to take up that challenge.
At home I kept them in a large dog crate for the first month – this was on the advice of Teckels staff and Google. I spent 90% of my days on the floor, lying next to their cage talking to them, putting cat paste on my fingers for them to lick off, then after a week or so I opened the cage door and started to feed them from my hand and slowly stroked them, about a week after that I’d sit in front the cage door, pick them up and give them a little cuddle for short periods. By the middle of September, they came out of the cage for the first time – OMG it was like having two tornados racing around the front room! I kept them in the cage for bedtime and bought two ferret hammocks which they absolutely loved!
Sadly, in March 2019 we had to have Rio put to sleep, that was when I let the kittens have the run of the whole house all day. They know their names, they come running when they are called and of course there is always a treat waiting for them!
Nova is the brave adventurous one! She gets on top of wardrobes and gets shut away (accidentally!) in cupboards and drawers, she is like grease lightening! She is Ivy’s protector and always investigatesanything new first. Nova loves water, whether it’s playing with a dripping tap or sitting outside in the rain!
Ivy is laid back and lazy – she doesn’t do much, she is the cuddle-giver, she loves attention and if I’m playing with Nova, she is over like a shot nudging me with her nose!
I had planned to keep them as house cats – if I just had Ivy this wouldn’t be an issue, but I could see Nova needed more for her inquisitive personality, so my hubby built an amazing ‘catio’ for them. This means I don’t have to worry about losing them the same way the ‘stray’ lost her life.
What impact have Nova and Ivy had on me? They are my everything. They helped fill a void when I lost my dog. The ‘stray’ taught me I can be a cat person and being mummy to Ivy & Nova I know I am definitely a cat person! They are funny, loving, interesting and just make me feel complete. They are easy to care for, neither expensive nor hard work, (actually, they are expensive, but that’s only because I cannot stop buying them things!)
I would like to give a big shout out to all the staff at Teckels, who made me feel welcome from day one. I never felt nervous or on edge, or that I wasn’t good enough to take on two feral kittens even though I had no experience. They always kept me up to date with all that was going on during each visit. There was always so many staff/volunteers around, everyone was always happy and chatty, and it was a great atmosphere to be in. I totally admire and thank them for their endless hard work.
Having been involved in a rescue centre, albeit for only one month I would always, always say ‘adopt don’t shop’ without hesitation.