New Normal

The little fellows are getting hard to contain.  They almost broke out of their room this morning at breakfast and at once came right down to the big kids table to eat dinner from the same spot as Rhea and Davout.

I’m a little bit worried that those two are getting less food since the kittens eat their leftovers and extra dry food with gusto.  I’ve given them a bit of extra food after the kittens go to bed. The kittens eat tons…Sherman was even sniffing around my dinner too.

There is a little more mixing – while Rhea and Davout mostly chase each other, and the boys with themselves, there has been a time or two when Grant chased Rhea a little, and he also almost helped in a game of mutual pounce between Rhea and Davout.

Also, the two older cats don’t wait until the kittens are shut away to play…they play some, then watch the kittens some.

The higher perches still are a bit clearer of small fry.

Davout takes a break from following the kittens around.

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Thunder Runs

Sherman at Play

Today the little Generals had so much zoomie energy built up that pictures were a problem, so another chunk from yesterday has to take over.

Pensive Grant

In between I heard a louder version and found that Rhea and Davout were chasing each other up and down the stairs too.

Grant versus Shoestring

Late in the day Grant ‘chased’ Davout up the stairs, through the railing and over onto the shelf tops.  Davout kinda spoiled it by not coming back to chase him in the other direction, but hopefully he will loosen up.  He wasn’t scared during the chase at all.

Hamburger Play


Burger Holder

What a cutie.

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Sunday Fun

Sherman Sprawled Out

Today was the last day in a while that the kittens will be out nearly full time, since I will leave them in their room while I am working next week again.  Today soon after breakfast they were out and about.

At least I found that the feather toy does provide a more stress free way to herd Grant back to his room at night.  Yesterday the feather toy got him up the stairs most of the way ahead of me before he noticed it — and then he skittered to his room for safety.  Today it was almost as good, as when he seemed to want to dodge back down past me, I just carried him up a few steps before letting him down again, and he ran home.

Sherman is less interested in chasing the feather, but he is easy to catch.  A complication is that Rhea is starting to chase the feather toy too.

Dinner Cleanup Crew

With two growing cats I don’t care to monitor food intake too closely, as they are both growing.  Rhea and Davout did eat most of their breakfast and some of their dinner before the kittens cleaned up after them.  This is a third small can of Rhea’s favorite flavor.  She ate some first before the youngsters had most of the rest.

I like to see them eating off one plate, it is a tradition here for decades.  Upstairs they have a divided plate that makes it simpler for them to know their side, but here they at least shared.


Grant naps in some of the less accessible areas of the downstairs, but not that much worse than Sherman.  His favorite is the corner under the cat tree that Calpurnia used to sleep in.  He uses a small gap behind the sofa to get in, as the other direction is blocked by Anna’s enclosure.

He sometimes naps in there as well.

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Integration Issues

Now it seems that there’s no danger of the big cats beating up the new boys, some other integration issues are popping up.  The last day or so neither Davout nor Rhea has eaten much of the wet food I put down.  The kittens have been eating at it, and I wondered if the older two were now classifying it as kitten food.  They did eat some other stuff I put down in a different spot.  I also had used a plastic plate, which I got when Harrison was around because of his rapid dirtying of food dishes.  I also had run out of their favorite style.

At least when  I went out and got their favorite flavor on a regular plate this evening, Rhea and Davout ate most of it.

Then when I got on the portable I found that some cat had found a way to change the font size of the title-bars and menus of the desktop.  It took a long time to even start to set this back, and I’m not sure I have it done yet.

I’m still having trouble wrangling kittens into their room when needed.  I haven’t fully decided to allow them out at all times.  Grant is a little better at coming out into the open, and the last couple of times in his room he’s been welcoming me into his room from his perch atop the high tree in there with a mew of greeting.  Last time when I answered him, he repeated it and we had a little conversation.

The older cats are adjusting, kinda.  The drama on meeting is mostly gone, but there are some odd reactions.  This morning, when the kittens were out in the day for the first time, Davout got so excited when they came down that he started to spin in a circle chasing his tail for about five full rotations.  They follow them around at times, but more usually hang out and watch them from a distance with some, but not a consuming interest.

During most of the afternoon, the kittens were tucked off in various corners napping.  At one point  I lost track of Sherman, and couldn’t find him.  I figured he was tucked away upstairs and still couldn’t find him, but at one point Rhea got up and directed me to follow her upstairs where Sherman was on his way out from where ever he had been napping to come back down.

She didn’t get up any other time he, or the other kittens were coming downstairs.  She must have known  I was looking for him.

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More from Yesterday

The boys were out all evening and downstairs just like the day before.  I didn’t take a lot of pictures, but I had a lot left over from yesterday.  That’s what is in this post.

Davout and Grant seem to be getting more friendly.  They aren’t cuddly, but even without my stimulating things with toys the two of them were following each other about.  When Grant was playing on his own, Davout found excuses to be close watching.  When Davout was off on his own, soon Grant would come trotting up to the near vicinity.

Rhea continued her general “hands off” policy, with a few exceptions.  A couple of times when I was holding one of the kittens still Rhea came right up to give some up close looks and sniffs, even crossing the room to do so.

Likely she’d like a little more up close contact, but is put off by their frequent moving about. There were no hisses or even little meows at them on her end.

Sherman continues his amiable ways, checking out most everyone every so often, hanging out on his own in between, finding a corner to rest in when he gets tired.  If you pet him, he starts purring at once.

Grant has picked out a particular corner where he drags over little toys that he has caught and leaves them in a little group.

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Another day with the kittens out, and both Rhea, Davout, and I were a lot more relaxed about letting the kittens do their thing without much hovering.  Rhea found a few perches to keep from being run into, then lay down and watched the show.

Grant did things on his own much of the time.

I broke out a string toy for picture time.

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Grant Moves Downstairs

Downstairs Dominator

So far Rhea is the one the Generals have interacted with the most – she’s the one meeting them at their door and in the upstairs when they venture out.

Davout has stayed downstairs for the most part.  He has started to prefer that more as a ‘home base’ over sleeping under the bed.  So that distance and his native caution has kept him at a distance.  Sherman did have some run-ins with him yesterday.

New Arrival Downstairs

Yesterday Grant noodled around upstairs the entire time, even when everyone was downstairs.  Today he was the boldest one, and came downstairs and took it over.  Here he rests in the kitchen after exploring.  He collected that extra feather toy end, and shows no sign of improper chewing of the toy.


Grant has a bit more of the wild in him than Sherman.  He tends to watch from cover until he sizes up the situation, but he isn’t really scared while he’s doing it.  It is just his way.  While I was giving Sherman his cold medicine, Grant was flopping in the hall by Rhea.

He has her pegged already.  He comes right up to her to touch noses which only rarely now rates a quiet hiss at all.  He has an attraciton to the little mews she makes when they are nearby – I wonder if they remind him of his mother.  A few of those usually gets him coming close for a new nose to nose encounter.

Rhea Observes

Rhea is driven to watch what they are up to, but there’s no hostility in it anymore, if there ever was.  She might hiss a warning if they rush up too close, but that range is now about an inch from her nose now.


When Sherman came down too there was  a flurry of activity.  At one point all four cats were very interested in a hunting way with Grant carrying around a fish cat toy and batting it around.  Even Rhea and Davout came up close in support.

When the two boys where chasing each other around and around the rooms downstairs, sliding sideways as they tried to make tight turns the older cats found more out of hte way watching posts themselves.

Nooks and Crannies

When he got a bit tired, Grant found his own cubbies to watch from.  He also explored that opening behind the sofa that leads to a cat tree in the corner.  They also have pulled quite a few lost toys from behind and under furniture since they can walk under it.

Rhea is just chasing one such lost toy across the room now after the kittens have gone to bed.   Wow, she’s even pulling one out of my misfit toy box that sits open by the door that she’s ignored for years now.  She has some kitteny excitement of her own to work off.

Play or SmackyPaw

Grant seems to have gone out of his way to  interact with Davout over and over.  Some of it might be Davout’s habit of chirping to himself mixing with Grant’s attraction to cat meows.  I met Gran’t mum, who looks like Grant does if you subtract out all the yellowish bits.  Davout’s light body color might remind him of her.

By the end of the day Davout had lost almost all of his reserve with the kittens and almost wanted to play with them.

My, My.  Rhea and Davout are playing chase here as I write this and Rhea knocked over a food dish pouncing.  Davout is eating up the spilled niblets like a good boy.

Safe Spot

Rhea kept up her use of vantage points to watch the kittens, but by now Davout was more the lead cat in keeping an eye on them.

Davout and Grant

One thing Grant has is a strong aversion to being picked up and carried.  He’s gets tense and even wild at times.  Since he needs to go back to their home base room at night, he’s going to get some training in this respect in the next days.

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General Madness

Out of Control

Well, any thought of gradual introductions is almost off the table, since the boys exploded out of the room early and often tonight and I had to move up the priority of kitten-proofing the upstairs railing while they dashed about upstairs, trailed by a disapproving Rhea.

Rhea is a pushover now – if a kitten gets too close she might give a soft hiss, and she will give some anxious mews as she follows them from behind from time to time, but she’s not relaxed in their presence, but not angry or anything.  This is a lot like she was with Harrison, and the kittens mostly ignore her fussing.

Davout is about the same, except he doesn’t follow them around upstairs.

Can't Stop This

Once the greater half of the upstairs railing was covered, Sherman invaded the downstairs.

The medicine seems to be putting the brakes on his congestion and sneezes.  I’m not as sure about his eye ointment, but that might be just the ointment itself making him look more squinty.

Getting Small

Davout, like Rhea, made himself small and watched him go, only hissing when he rushed up too close.

Break Time

He stuck his nose in every corner downstairs, then took a break to rest.   He even strolled into Anna’s room and got the same hate treatment everyone gets from her.  It didn’t bother him.

Rhea and Grant

Andrea mentioned in a comment that Sherman seemed large compared to Rhea.  Well, most of the confusion is due to very close shots magnifying the nearby cat.  Today, by chance, there are more distant shots as I was busier, the boys more confident, and I was even more sure Rhea could be trusted not to smack them unfairly.

This Rhea and Grant picture is a good relative scale shot.  You can see the plexi taped up along the rails to avoid tumbing kittens.  No cats hanging over the rail shots for some time now.

Stair Cats

And this is a good scale for Sherman,  I used some netting I have to cover the sloping railing.

Grant Up Close

General Grant is not too bothered by Rhea just behind him.  He hasn’t made the leap to rushing downstairs yet, though.


Poor Rhea isn’t sure who to keep watch on.

One Step Too Far

I think this is as far down as he has gotten so far.

Here he comes again


Here he comes again.  He’s not shy about passing right by her on the steps now when he wants to go up or down.

Poor Sherman had a kitten-proofing incident downstairs. I had a removable shelf from a small fridge sitting on a low table which looked eminently climbable to him.  Since it was not attached to anything, when he jumped up and grabbed it, it come down with him, falling on him with a loud ringing sound and scaring Rhea, Davout and Sherman to the steps.

Sherman fled the least far, though.  And the rack is in the garage now.

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Not All About the Lil’ Generals

Today I started the pictures with Rhea and Davout at playtime, so as to not be only about the new fellows.

But the text will be more about them.  I got a late afternoon vet appointment for the two of them and had them checked out.  Aside from Sherman’s cold, and irritated eyes both are otherwise healthy.  They were very good at the vets.  I have some medicine for the cold and the eyes for the next week.  They make him look a bit more rumpled in the face, but he was improving some in the eyes even before this new ointment.

General Sherman was over 5 pounds, and Grant was over 4.  I think they are quite a bit heavier than Rhea and even Davout were at this age.

Davout was into watching me spin the ball so Rhea had to come up and hit the ball, no matter how tired she was.

Always ready for the glamor shot.

Part of the reason Davout might have been unready to play is that I was sitting just at the edge of his ‘skitter away’ range.  When I slid forward an inch, he took off,  But he came right around the central post in the house and jumped onto my desk chair base.

He was a little surprised when I spun it around to face him, but the height advantage gave him the courage to stay.

Then he spotted a fly across the room and ran off to chase it.

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Little Generals

First Breakfast.  “Cinny” in the front is bigger and older, but not by as much as the picture seems to show.  His name will be General William Tecumseh Sherman – known as Uncle Billy to his troops in the Civil War.  The smaller one in back is General U. S. Grant – also known as “Sam”.

Both had a few strange name changes.  Sherman was born without the William.  When he was a boy, his father died and he was taken in/adopted by a well-to-do family in the town to raise to take pressure off his mother and the other children.  His adoptive mother when she found he had not been baptized, insisted that he put a Christian name in front as part of the process.  His having that name in the first place is something of a puzzle – Tecumseh had been fighting against the US in that same region not so long before.

Grant too had some name changes.  Born Hiram Ulysses, when he went to West Point he found that his paperwork had been filled out with the name Ulysses Simpson (his mother’s maiden name) Grant.  Knowing how hard changing the paperwork might be, and not liking his initials H.U.G. as a potential nickname, he just changed his name to match.  So his classmates hung the nickname “Uncle Sam” on him instead.

Oh, and I did cut up that bit of food for Grant after this.

Grant was a bit better at being out in the open today, although he seemed to find a new sleeping spot every time I came into the room.  Their room has lots of places to get into and under, which uncertain little fellows appreciate.  I like being able to get at them if I have to.

Here’s a full view.  Shaded cats can lose a lot of those full dark stripes and end up mostly or entirely golden, with just a dusting of black tips.  I saw his mum, a chinchilla when I was picking him up and she was a very striking light silver with just a dusting of dark tips on the hairs.

Gotta keep those stripes tidy!

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