I think you all know by now that I'm a Crazy Cat Lady. And if any of you follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook, you have probably seen my grumblings about my dear, sweet, adorable demon-spawn kitten, Dakota.
That's her in her carrier, AKA cat prison, just last week. She had to go to the mean, horrible, no-good, really-bad vet. It was AWFUL. The humans are mean to her. Very, very mean. They deserve lots of hisses and growls.
She doles them out in kind. Our vet is at PetSmart, and after our visit, I took her over to the cat toy aisle. Silly me, I thought it would help to make up for the awful visit to the mean vet if I got her a new toy. In the process, she hissed and growled at every human we passed, all of whom just wanted to look in her carrier and tell me how cute she is.
Yeah, I know she's cute. Trust me, I know it.
Well, as of the twelfth of this month, Dakota is officially a year old. And as of next Tuesday, she will have officially been part of my household for a full year, even though we only intended to keep her long enough to get her weaned and then find her a new home.
This is her on the day she arrived, in the palm of my sister's hand. My sister has TINY hands for an adult, by the way. Mine look monstrous compared to hers. So really, that's Dakota on the hand of say a 10-year-old girl, by comparison.
She was only two and a half weeks old when she came to live with me. Back then, she spent a lot of time sleeping in the make-shift incubator we made for her (an old bucket from cat litter with a few towels on the bottom, placed over a heating pad set to low).
Dakota had been abandoned by her mama cat on the day she was born--still covered in after-birth and with the umbilical cord attached. The lady who found her took her home, cleaned her up, and she and her husband spent a little over two weeks trying to keep up with the demands of this tiny little thing that probably didn't have any shot at survival, if not for their efforts.
Newborn kittens eat every two hours around the clock...did you know that? By the time she came to live with me, she was down to bottle feedings every three hours. Still a massive undertaking, but at least I worked from home, so I didn't have to make special trips home in the middle of my work day to feed her. Dakota's rescuer and her husband both worked full-time away from home. It was just too much for them to keep up with.
She was teeny-tiny! I don't remember how many ounces it was that she weighed when she came to live with us, but she was as small as the keys to my dad's pickup truck...and they were decidedly heavier than she was.
Not only that, but when it was mealtime, she wanted her bottle, and she wanted it now! I wish I had video of her guzzling her bottles. If we didn't give her a big enough hole in the nipple, she got frustrated, and my hands ended up bloodier than they needed to be, because she dug her little razor-claws into me in her frantic need to be fed, and be fed RIGHT THIS INSTANT.
She literally finished each bottle within seconds. Good thing I knew to burp her. Yes, you have to burp bottle-fed kitties and puppies, just like you have to burp bottle-fed human babies.
After the burping, she immediately wanted to curl up with me and take a nap, as pictured to the left.
Even back then, she had the makings of becoming a devil-kitty. We just didn't realize it. I mean, look how cute she was! See the innocent-sleepy-how-adorable-am-I look? See the cute ears that are barely starting to open and the blue baby kitty eyes and the little white socks and the adorableness just oozing out of her?
How could anything that cute possibly be a bad kitty cat?
How could anyone NOT love her to pieces?
Impossible. Ludicrous, even.
How can you resist this sweet little princess kitty who just wants to love you and be loved by you and steal your heart forever?
And if you tried to resist the cuteness (seriously not worth the effort back then), she'd roll around on the floor and be cute all over again.
Seriously. Resistance is futile when it comes to bottle-fed baby kitties, just like when it comes to the Borg.
If that rolling around on the floor because her tummy was so full from guzzling her bottle as fast as she could possibly consume it routine wasn't enough to steal your heart (pictured to the left), well, seeing her tiny little self falling down into the edges of her cat bed while she napped it off would probably do it (below).
See the super-sleepy kitty look here? Yeah, it was an act designed to steal your heart.
Also, notice the tail pulled up between the legs? She started the chase-and-attack-the-tail routine long before she could chase anything very well.
That tail is long and dangerous. It needs to be caught. It needs to be killed. It needs to be put in its place, and Dakota will do it, darn you, humans.
Slowly but surely, though...well, actually, faster than we ever imagined...Dakota started to grow up. And with growing up, she started to get into things.
Here she is at about 6 weeks old or so, curled up ever-so-innocently around the power box that keeps one of the laptops charged.
What you don't see in the picture is all the teeth and claw marks all along the cord. I'm telling you, already, she was becoming a devil cat. Do not let the cute, innocent eyes fool you.
Being fooled by the cuteness only leads to more trouble.
Or here, where she's about four months old and looks like she couldn't possibly have been doing anything naughty. Yeah, don't buy it. Do not trust the innocent cat eyes for even a second. This was the look that likely came right after she got caught walking around on the kitchen table (a big no-no in my house) and knocking things off onto the floor. If not that, she'd just been doing something naughty. I promise.
Rule-breaker. That was her from a very young age.
It took a while for my older cat, Kiki, to warm up to her. I should have taken that as a sign of all of the trouble to come.
This picture was one I took the first time they shared my lap. Dakota was five months old by the time this happened. Notice Kiki was asleep, and Dakota came up to join her.
The cuddle session didn't last long. Once Kiki realized that the Bad Cat had joined her on my lap, she left. That was it. She was not going to share my lap with such a rule-breaker, such a demon cat who wanted to take over my life. Nope, the Kiks wasn't so sure about all of that.
She still isn't, for that matter. They don't cuddle. At best, you could say that Kiki puts up with Dakota. Most of the time. I don't think they'll ever be best buddies.
Still, even with everything going against her that she's had, this little demon-spawn, devil-cat, hell-beast kitty has somehow made it to a full year old.
Who woulda thunk it? Definitely not me.
She's decided that I am her human, though. Which only makes sense. Since she was a mere two-and-a-half weeks old, I'm the only mama she's ever known. (Darn the luck!)
Because of that, Dakota rarely lets me out of her sight. Here she is, "supervising" while I write. You can probably tell she takes this job very seriously.
Sadly, her bad habits have only intensified as she's gotten older. And none of the cuteness has abated.
I only wish I had video to share with you all of her leaping against the walls to turn the light switch on and off and on and off and on and off. One of these days, we'll catch it.
In the meanwhile, I'll just keep trying to find ways to deal with this little monster. There's no telling how much past a year she'll make it, though. Her lifespan outlook might depend on how many more times she drools on me when she wants me to get up and feed her in the mornings. :)
Have you ever taken on a pet, or a job or project, that was only supposed to be temporary and somehow ended up having it become permanent? Do you have a demon-spawn cat in your home? Do you want one?