“Get rid of him.”

“He’s more trouble than he’s worth.”

“You’ll be much better off without him”

“Get a nice sensible moggy”

Everywhere is kitten trouble

The Java-cat is causing friction. Tension, you might say. And funny smells in my study.

I’d always thought I was pretty ok at bringing up sober, well behaved cats. Ok, I made a few mistakes with my beloved (now sadly passed away) Diana, but I was around 12 when I got her, and she didn’t turn out too badly. And my little Saskia, once we got her spayed, has been a joy and a delight. She doesn’t jump on benches, doesn’t claw, bite or otherwise maim people. She is scrupulously clean, purrs decorously down the bottom of the bed (under the blanket but over the sheet) most of the night, and enjoys sitting at the very top of Woomeraouw (the cat run) taking the air and generally looking as if she owns the place. Which she does.

But we were concerned that she was getting bored. Bengals are an active breed, and we both work all day. What’s a frisky kit to do all alone for 8 hours a day? So we decided to get her a friend.

Enter Java.

I’d been looking for kittens of a suitable temperament, beauty and age for a few weeks. Nearing the end of the kitten season, they were all too placid, or too aggressive, or too longhaired, or very sweet but with a face like the back end of a leprous hyena.

Then I saw the ad for Java – a six month old male spayed Bengal with impeccable pedigree (lots of them were the same cat, even) whose owner couldn’t cope with two Bengals and a Maine Coon to boot, and wanted a loving home for her little boy. I persuaded my boyfriend to come along “just to have a look” – and of course, he was absolutely besotted. So Java came home. That was just on two weeks ago.

Now I know, two weeks is not much time to give a kit to settle into a new home. Especially a home with a resident cat. But as far as relations with Sass goes – he’s fine. They spend a large amount of the day racing round the house mauling each other, and a lot of their spare time curled up on my bed, snoozing in a big heap of leopard spotted fur. It gets hard to figure out which paws belong to which kitty. The problem is the massive list of “issues”.

He’s dopey. Really, really slow to learn. He’s learnt how to get out of the cat flap, but not back in (same principle…) and so cries out in Woomeraouw for long periods of time.

He hasn’t quite settled down to cat litter. He thinks if he can bury something in it, that it’s ok as a toilet. Note to self, do not leave suit jacket on the floor again.

He’s not an enlivening bedtime companion. He walks on our faces, purrs extremely loudly right near our ears, kneads ferociously (with claws unsheathed) and compulsively licks his thigh. “Slup. Slup. Slupslupslupslup. PURRRRRRRRRRslup.” Not easy to sleep through.

He jumps on benches. On tables. On the bar (farewell, cut crystal sherry glass. I’ll miss you).

He chews fabric covered electrical cables. Both our irons have such cables. I’m in the market for a new one, as horrid mental pictures too much to bear.

He’s unco-ordinated. He descends from the highest perch of Woomeraouw not by climbing down the exceedingly useful stairs, but by falling down them – managing to hit each one but not get his footing. Definitely a worry.

He’s the messiest eater I’ve ever seen. Imagine Edward Scissorhands trying to eat spag. bol. with chopsticks, and you’ll come close to the scene at Java’s dinner bowl each night.

Certainly not least, he lacks a proper respect for guests. His West Side Story impression is not appreciated when it involves leaping up and clinging, not to wire fences, but to my sister’s upper arm.

BUT – he’s loving and attentive and will sit on my lap while I node (with only minor onslaughts at the keyboard). He’s been great for Sasky – she’s so much happier now that she has something to do during the day. He’s a lovely, affectionate little cat and I feel bad that his behaviour is making people think we should give up on him.

I’m trying. The leaping on benches is being targeted (heh) with a vicious onslaught with a water pistol whenever I catch him at it, and my entire kitchen is swathed in aluminium foil (please pardon Australian spelling) as cats don’t like it underfoot. I’ve got one of those funky closed in cat litter trays on order, and his accustomed cat litter will go into it as soon as it arrives.

I’m working on keeping cats sleeping on top of the bedclothes, down the foot of the bed. Hard on Saskit, as she’s a wonderful sleep-mate. I put the iron away instead of leaving it sitting on the ironing board, plugged in, ready to go. I can live with the messy eating, as Sass has always subscribed to the belief that humans love the crunch of cat litter underfoot, so the laundry needs frequent sweeping anyway.

Sigh. His previous owners would have him back. Like a shot. I just don’t believe on giving up on pets like that once you’ve committed to them. Guess I’ve got to convince my boyfriend to keep trying.

Everywhere is kitten trouble.

Thankyou to all the people who have assured me that he'll work out just fine. I'll try to use your nice msgs to convince my boyfriend to keep Java on for a while.

Update 2006: God, I can't believe it's almost 2 years we've had the little guy. He's fine. Just fine. Almost all the issues are sorted out, and we couldn't survive without him.

Update later 2006....I spoke too soon. Gods grant me patience..