So. Call me mistress of the obvious, but I honestly did not realize how much difference there would be between a bottle-raised kitten and one who had a mother. And I did not realize how much difference there would be between a single kitten and a pair.
Due to circumstances beyond my control, and, really, anyone’s control, the two kittens I picked out from a local fosterer had to come home one at a time. Oh, I suppose I could have waited until both were ready to leave the fosterer, but I’d been waiting for three weeks already (they were only four weeks old when I first met them, and still drinking kitty formula from a bottle). So I brought Theodore, aka Teddy, home first, while Ivan, who had a slight skin infection, needed the health all-clear before he could be sprung a week and a half later.
Both the boys were bottle fed. They and their two siblings arrived at Charlotte’s as the result of a phone call from a man who said he had orphan kittens in his barn, that the mother had disappeared and not come back. He thought they were six weeks old. They turned out to be less than half that age. So Charlotte bottle-fed them and did all the other things one does to help kittens of that age survive and thrive.
The only reason I met them at such an early age was because she couldn’t leave them home alone all day during her usual adoption day at PetSmart.
So. The difference between a single kitten and a pair is obvious. Until Ivan came home Teddy got lonely really easily, and followed me around like a puppy. I hadn’t spent that much time giving an animal attention in a very long time (note, this is decidedly not a complaint — he and his brother are both amazingly easy to spoil). It wasn’t so much a surprise but just that I’d forgotten what it was like. But he was so much happier when Ivan came home. He went from sitting on me every single chance he got to, “Oh, hi, Mom, gotta go play now!” in the span of about fifteen minutes. Ivan, of course, has been that way from the moment he stepped out of the carrier.
And the difference between bottle fed and mama fed is that they’ve both bonded to me faster than Super to Glue. I’ve always thought of cats as being sort of aloof. I’m not sure Teddy and Ivan could spell aloof with a feline dictionary.
I still think it was a good idea to bring Teddy home first, but I have to admit this was an entirely different experience than I was expecting. In the best possible way.