On Monday September 11, 2023, a tiny speck of a kitten made her presence known with very loud MEWS and a personality way bigger than anyone expected. Hungry, full of fleas, and the expected roundworms (and probably tapes because…fleas), her eyes and ears looked too big for her delicate wedge-shaped face.
Now, I get alerts about “found” kittens all the time, and sadly, can’t take any of them. This baby proved different in so many ways–only some of which I can share. While at the grocery picking up kitten food, my husband called and I explained my next stop at church—Trinity Lutheran—where I hoped to find a forever-home for the baby with a family who tragically lost a beloved kitty. And I told him if that didn’t work out, we likely had a third furry wonder for our home.
My friends at church, not yet ready to welcome a new pet, meant that the kitten came home with me. It seems that the Higher Being with whom all things are possible, made sure she found her way to us. He knew we needed her as much as she needed us.
All About Trinity-Kitty
The next day, Dr. Clay examined the baby. Other than the expected parasites, she showed no signs of ear mites or upper respiratory sneezles, thank goodness. But at 8 weeks (!!! who dumps a baby???) and only 1.8 pounds, she had to wait to get preventive vaccinations.
I rearranged my schedule and my office around the little one. The bathroom walk-in shower, lined with a fluffy bathmat, now hosts a tiny kitten-size litter box. Cat food sat on top of the vanity where Karma-Kat usually snacks throughout the day (hoo-boy, he wasn’t pleased!). And one of my soft-sided carriers fit snug on the floor between the cabinet and commode, giving Trinity lots of floor space to play. I figured this tiny little girl couldn’t possibly get into trouble confined in this kitten-proofed space, with plenty of floor area. She had different thoughts.
The Trinity Name
Aside from the connection to my church, the name makes sense on a few different levels. Her presence creates a “trinity” of pets for the Shojai household. She’s also the third one “sent” to us by some super-all-powerful presence. Karma came to us and Magical-Dawg alerted us to his presence. And Shadow-Pup arrived also when we needed a happy fix during Bravo-Dawg’s horrible diagnosis and treatment.
Trinity also has a special pattern mark on her back that I didn’t notice at first. But look closely…doesn’t that appear to resemble the number three?
Shadow-Pup Loves Trinity!
He immediately took to the new baby. Of course, we supervise, not for fear of dangerous intent. But because at less than two pounds, this baby cat easily suffers injuries. Karma-Kat taught the dog well how to play appropriately with cats, too. And Shadow mimics the games. Trinity likes the dog’s tail. Of course!
Karma-Kat: Boo, Hiss & Aww-Shucks
I worried Karma needed lots of time to accept Trinity. Cats usually take many days and sometimes weeks or months to accept a “stranger” into their household. I’ve written extensively about this, and you can learn more about introductions here.
At least Karma lived with Seren-Kitty for many years, and adored her. So I followed my own advice and took it slow, letting Karma tell me how to proceed. At first, as expected, lots of hissing ensued. Karma, though, acted intrigued and knew something “different” lived in the small bathroom in my office. He spent lots of time sniffing there, and listening to the mysterious sounds on the other side. Karma KNEW. He just hadn’t SEEN the newbie yet. After five days (a bit early to try…) I let him get a look at the baby.
First looks increased the hisses, as expected. Everything focused on preventing cat aggression, by separating them before things could escalate. Trinity, though, wanted contact. She especially wanted to pounce/play on Karma’s tail. As soon as hisses started, I isolated the kitten. We repeated this two or three times a day over the next few days. The hisses lessened, and curiosity increased. The breakthrough came with shared scent.
Cats identify friends most easily because they’ve shared scent. Cheek rubbing each other, mutual grooming, sleeping together, and even having familiar safe humans pet and handle them spread this familiar smell. It creates a kind of signature family scent, that tells cats “I know you, you’re safe.” Anything that doesn’t smell safe could cause cats to react with “stranger danger” behaviors. That’s one reason that a cat returning from the vet clinic with foreign smells can put the rest of the feline friends in a huff.
Usually, I recommend using a small hand towel to rub-rub-rub over top of one cat, and then the next, and so on, to mix the smells. In this case, with Trinity so tiny, rubbing her wasn’t effective. So more by accident than intent, I’d just rubbed on hand lotion before picking up Trinity. And while holding the kitten, I also petted Karma. And…when Karma smelled the same scent on the kitten as on me (and his own fur) he suddenly warmed up to the baby.
Beyond Kitten Central
Trinity stays in my office with me during the day, with breaks (for me!) of kitten naps with the bathroom door closed. The bathroom, aka Kitten Central, means safety to the kitten. Cats don’t willingly interact with other animals or people until/unless they feel safe in their environment. So after Trinity became confident in the office, we’ve expanded her time out in the rest of the house. That also intrigues the other pets. They have more room to get away. That reduces potential stress of getting cornered somewhere.
Trinity runs for the stairs (heading to the comfort of Kitten Central) when she feels overwhelmed. And she still sleeps confined in the bathroom at night. That keeps Shadow and Karma away from stealing her food, or her toys.
Karma prefers lounging on the floor, or sometimes on his cat trees. He already shows a willingness to share the cat tree real estate. Trinity, I think, will grow into a petite dainty second-story nonstop dynamo kitteh…similar to how my beloved Seren-Kitty behaved. After many years of only one, and then two, we’re finally back to a Trinity of furry wonders.
Friday, Trinity goes back to see Dr. Clay for vaccinations, microchip and check up. Follow us on Facebook where I’ve posted a bunch of fun and silly videos of the kitten playing with Karma, among other things. Over the coming weeks, we’ll slowly integrate her more fully into the rest of the house and routine. Meanwhile, we’re counting our furry blessings…they come in threes, ya know!
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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!