“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair...”

Ernest Hemingway: Our Kitty

Wednesday, August 27, 2014








Yes, you read that right, we got a cat!! Jed and I have waited a long time for this and finally there was an opportunity to adopt one! He is a bluepoint/bicolor Ragdoll and will be 12 months in the middle of September. He is a purebred* cat, and it was a situation where the woman who had him couldn't keep him any longer due to unforeseeable circumstances. He was actually destined to become a breeding cat from the Ragdoll cattery where he was born, but the cattery was moving so they had to sell him. The woman we got him from had him neutered (thank goodness!). We are so in love with this little/big fella and we are thrilled that he is part of our little household! I have always wanted a Ragdoll cat because they are said to be great with children and can be trained quite easily. And although I grew up with cats, they were always barn cats and I haven't had a huge amount of experience keeping a cat inside. I really didn't want to deal with shredded furniture and wanted a cat that would be good with people and wouldn't mind being picked up and held. This little guy is everything I ever dreamed of and more! Although naughty at times, I think he just needs time to adjust to his new surroundings. He has gotten into the habit of meowing all night long! We first thought we would let him into our room, thinking he might find a spot on the bed and sleep. But we soon discovered he had absolutely no interest in sleeping! He was all over us, purring and "kneading" as cats do (so adorable too!) but then he would hop off the bed and meow meow meow meowwww!! He wanted to play! So we decided this was just not going to work! So I looked up some tutorials on how to get your cat to stop meowing all night and we are trying out a system that I think might actually work. Basically closing the door at night and letting him meow as much as he likes, but we will give no mind to him. No "shushing" no "it's OK Ernest!" nothing. And soon we hope he will understand that his meowing gets him nowhere! We are also trying to play hard with him an hour or so before bedtime and then feed him his dinner after play time. This is in the hopes that he will settle down instead of go crazy around 10:30pm every night! Do you have a cat who likes to meow and play when it's bedtime? Any good tips you might like to offer this new cat owner? He is just the cutest little fluff ball there ever was and it's definitely hard to say no to the little guy! But I know it's for his (and our) own good!!

xoxo
Anna


P.S. Any good cat toy suggestions? It's sometimes hard to keep him occupied and he needs his exercise! He seems to like balls and shiny objects. So far we have some little catnip mice that he loves to toss around and run after. He also loves string, but I know that can be dangerous so I used some extra fabric bias strips I had laying around. He also LOVES the laser pointer, but we are extra careful with that one as not to point it in his eyes! I also like to use the laser pointer in conjunction with a toy like the catnip mice so he doesn't get frustrated.




*I definitely think it's great to adopt from a shelter, since we do know how many wonderful cats end up in shelters in need of a home. However we really wanted to have a cat that was more docile, especially since we are renting and because it would be our first house cat. We did feel slightly better adopting a purebred cat because he was in need of a new home, rather than buying a purebred Ragdoll kitten. Even after only having him a short while, I would highly highly recommend a Ragdoll if you are looking for a great house cat. They are a wonderful breed and such sweet kitties! I truly believe doing what you feel is best for you and your needs (whether that is adopting or buying a purebred) will in turn be the best for the kitty as well! :) 

20 comments :

  1. Aw, what a sweetheart! Right before I read your last paragraph, I thought - catnip mice! My sister's cat loves them. He also likes large paper bags, boxes and laundry hampers, and I've noticed other cats like those as well.

    Your photos are really lovely - it looks like Ernest Hemingway has loads of personality. :-)

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    1. He really is a sweetheart! And he sometimes does the funniest things. Mostly he just sleeps in the most adorable positions! lol. He definitely loves the catnip mice! Although we decided to put them away for awhile because we heard maybe that was the reason he was meowing so much. I think maybe it makes him go a little crazy and he seems to be much more excited at night than he is without it. But we will keep it on hand and try it out again after a time to see what he does. He also loves string, which I think is hilarious. or we will tie little stuffed animals on a string and drag it around the house. He goes after it and hops on the bed etc. Although sometimes this doesn't last long and we have to alternate the toy. :)

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  2. Your kitty is adorable!!! I've loved the rag doll breed since I was a girl. I understand how you feel about purchasing a pure bred cat. My senior "regular" cat who was from the shelter had to go live with my parents after my boyfriend developed seasonal allergies to her ;_;, so we bought a hypoallergenic Siberian (many, many photos of him here: http://instagram.com/jeannie.pham).

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  3. Oh!! I forgot to mention...so with kitty exercise (and my cat is strictly indoors), it does take some participation on the owner part. I'm a pretty lazy cat owner :P so sometimes I forget to give my Moses his exercise. I highly recommend the Cat Dancer toy. It's cheap ($2), and I've yet to meet a cat who doesn't love it. It also lasts FOREVER. When the cardboard/paper bits wear out, I just tie ribbon to one end, and it provides endless entertainment (interactive once again). My cat and I also enjoy stalking and chasing each other back and forth down the house hall way. I'm not sure how to initiate that in a cat....but my old cat loved it, too. Putting some kibble or treats into an egg carton is great stimulation for cats, or putting some treats into a cloth napkin and folding it up to leave on the ground. Luckily, thankfully, I don't think the rag doll breed needs TONS of exercise...probably a good 25 minute session of intense kitty work out is sufficient. I find that my Siberian cat sleeps most of the day (18+ hours!!). I'm looking forward to more posts about Ernest. I agree that you should shut the door and let him meow at night -- when you don't give him a reaction, he will eventually learn to be quiet. We did this with all of our cats but it did take a while so ear plugs and patience is key! Anyway, sorry for the rambling post but I wish you good luck!

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    1. Hi, Jeannie! Thank you SO MUCH for the helpful advice about the toys etc!! We are still trying to figure out a toy he won't tire of after 5 minutes! I think we just need to rotate toys and hide them so he doesn't get too used to them. I am totally going to get that Cat Dancer toy! It sounds fantastic! I think Ernest loves balls, but we don't have one yet. We just crumple a piece of paper into a ball and throw it and he goes crazy! Except he won't like it after awhile and we have to switch to a different toy. He seems to also love string and shoelaces. The catnip mice were awesome, but decided to put them away because I think the catnip was making him extra loud at night and he has since mellowed down. He doesn't meow except for a few seconds before bed and when the alarm goes off. lol. He knows that's food time!

      Your cat looks gorgeous! That is another reason we got a ragdoll, I heard they might be slightly more hypoallergenic than some other short haired breeds. I'm not sure if Jed is allergic, but he has seasonal allergies and I figured he might. Thanks again for the advice! Would love to hear any other advice if you ever think of anything. :)

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  4. My cats also get upset when I shut them out of my room. Their meowing, and little paws under the door break my heart but I can't have them pouncing on my toes all night! I've always used a little spray bottle to discipline my cats. When they are naughty I spray a mist in their face. So when the first night they wouldn't stop meowing at my door I just opened it a crack and spritzed them. They completely stopped after that. Unless I'm up and moving about in the morning and not letting them in, then they protest. ;)

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    1. Jessie, your cats sound so cute! On one hand the meowing is so adorable and funny, on the other hand it can get annoying! We took away the catnip mice because we thought maybe it was making him extra loud and I think that helped. He now only meows for a few seconds at bedtime and then when our alarm goes off, because he knows that is food time! haha. Cats are so funny. Oh and we use the sprayer on him when he is naughty like sometimes he likes to scratch a particular couch and he has since stopped! ;)

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  5. Ernest is so beautiful! I love his blue blue eyes and gentle demeanour. We have an adorable black rescue cat. He is very playful and affectionate. His favourite toys include the smallest soft toys you can pick up at Ikea for pennies. He loves then because they are so portable and the labels make a crinkling sound. He also loves hiding in cardboard boxes and messing around with our Welsh tapestry rug.

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    1. I used your advice about the Ikea toys since we have a few. I tied the stuffed mouse on a string and he LOVED IT! Although next time I'm in Ikea I'm going to have to get some more and keep the tags in tact. He also loves paper balls that we make by scrunching up a sheet of paper and playing "fetch." We need to go pick up an actual ball and I think he would really like running after it. ;)

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  6. I agree with Jessie about the water spray too. I only needed to use it for the first few months. Ever time I sprayed the water I would say 'off' with a long emphasis on the ffff sound. Now if our cat is trying for the butter etc I just need to say 'offff' and he retreats with an indignant meow.

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    1. Yep, we have been using the spray bottle! It definitely comes in handy since he has started to playfully bite when he wants to play. It doesn't hurt, but I don't want him doing that to anyone else who might not like it! He definitely understands "no" and the spritz of water helps him understand that even more! ;)

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  7. Oh!! One more: I've always loved this veterinarian's books on dog/cat behavior. His "Good Owners, Great Cats" book is wonderful: http://www.amazon.com/Good-Owners-Great-Brian-Kilcommons/dp/0446518077

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    1. Jeannie, thank you again so much! I will be checking out that book for sure! You have so much great info on cats! I very much appreciate it! :)

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  8. What a beautiful cat, and he looks so cuddly!! Unfortunately I've never had any pets, but seeing yours makes me want one!! I'm sure he will soon get used to your lovely home :-) xoxo! ps: I also love that little beehive candle in the picture!

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    1. Thank you, Cathy! We have never had a strictly "indoor" cat before, so it's still quite new to us. I grew up with animals and kitties, but they were always outdoors. It's so fun having a pet around! Especially this little furry guy. ;) Oh, I thought you might like that beehive candle! My sister in law gave it to me for Christmas last year. I just love beehive handles! We have a neighbor that makes them and have been meaning to pick one up for you. His candles are a bit smaller, but still so cute and made of beeswax! xoxo

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  9. What a sweet cat you have, congratulations! don't worry, these problems are quite regular and should be easy to handle. we had the same problems with our own cat, she woke up at 4 or 5 in the morning and would not stop meowing and playing around with all kind of stuff, plus doing nasty things like jumping on the tables :D we just completely ignored this behaviour, and after about a week she stopped. now she usually wakes at six in the morning, eats a little bit and then goes back to sleep, until we do wake up. thus, although it is hard to keep this method up, it is worth it, because it works. my mom, for exmaple, did it the wrong way: when her cat was annoying her at five in the morning, she got up to feed him and play with him. The cat is now 13 years old and sure does this every morning :D
    also it does help to play a lot with your cat before you go to sleep. eventually, he will accept it as his usual playing time, and will also play alone in this time.

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    1. I'm so glad to hear it's normal behavior! At first we were startled and puzzled at his behavior because his previous owner said he almost never meowed. He didn't ever have catnip before we brought him home, so we thought maybe that had something to do with it. We've since taken away the catnip and I think that helps. Now he meows only for a few seconds before bedtime (we still keep him outside the bedroom) and then meows around 7:30a.m. or whenever my alarm goes off since he knows that is time for food! :)

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  10. I had a cat that loved to play with matchbox cars! He would bat them around on the floor and chase them. They can be loud so you want to make sure to pick them up before going to bed!

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    1. That is a brilliant idea! We are totally going to get a matchbox car. I think Ernest would just go crazy for it. In any case, they aren't expensive even if he doesn't end up liking it.

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  11. Having two ragdolls myself, I can easily say: best choice on the breed! I have had street cats all my life, but when my boyfriend and I decided to get cats we went for this breed. I've always wanted one and I can tell we'll have ragdolls all our lives. You have such a beauty! Mine are red point bicolour and blue mink mitted.

    Anyways. Some tips: when he starts scratching on things he's not allowed to, don't just punish him or say no, give him an alternative as well. We have only damaged curtains because when they were in it, it was way too late to say no and give an alternative (we did each time, but the damage was already done). We have a cardboard scratching box and a large scratching pole. So each time they tried to scratch the sofa, we picked them up and put them on the box or pole. "Not here, but here". Our sofa still looks as new, same goes for any other piece of furniture. :)

    Both of our ragdolls enjoy playing with us more than playing alone - unless it's plastic or a cardboard box (make holes in them and they end up playing together). One loves plastic bags a lot. We also have these little rattling balls which I throw around the appartement and they chase it like crazy.

    Ragdolls are known for their affection and not being able to be alone for a long time. The older ours get, the more they sleep apart, but when they were younger they followed us around all the time. I don't have tips for not getting them in bed as they're allowed to do that here. We do ignore them on bed when they meow, so they've learnt it's only for sleeping - which they do. So ignoring is a very good method. It's not easy the first few days as it keeps you up, but they have to learn it that way. Don't give in. We only put our arm out, so he can snuggle up to it and then just falls asleep. The other one isn't that much of a lap sitter, so he hardly sleeps in bed. He does it during the winter from time to time. Any other time, he sleeps in a box close to our bed and they both wake up with us and await their morning cuddles. Though, they sometimes play at night when we were out all day. So giving them attention before going to bed always helps. :)

    One of our two cats just loves, loves, loves catnip. So I regularly get new catnip cushions. He snuggles it, licks it, ... It gets really gross at some point, so we throw it away and get new ones. They get their fun mainly out of chasing each other. We found it really important to get two.

    Enough rambling. It makes me excited in your place to see a new ragdoll! They're so, so kind! Our cattery told us: "once you go ragdoll, you never go back" :)

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