Today is Merlin and Jasper’s birthday. They are six years old! According to a search on Google, six years in cat years = 40 years in human years. It’s not incremental like the dog years life chart, where one year = seven. It’s more complicated. And, since we’re dealing with cats, is this really a surprise? 😉
Merlin and Jasper, today on their birthday!
So much has changed since we brought the guys home. We adopted them in October of 2001 from a Kitten Adoption Days held by a local shelter. This particular shelter fosters out pregnant cats to families in the community who will make sure the momma-cat is properly fed and cared for, and then they make sure she has her babies and that they are properly fed and cared for. That way, the kittens never see the inside of a shelter and the transition into another private home goes smoothly. Then, when they are old enough to be adopted, all the families converge on one area for a “Kitten Adoption Days” and members of the public are allowed to RSVP for a time-slot and how many kittens they’d like to adopt, and they wander around looking at all the kittens.
My hubby and I knew we wanted two kittens, preferably from the same litter. At that time, we both worked 40+ hours outside the house, and we didn’t want one kitten to get lonely and take out her frustrations on us (or our furniture), so we decided to adopt two together. We went in to our 3:00 time-slot with a mental list of things we wanted in a cat. He wanted a black one, and I wanted a gray-striped tabby. He wanted a male, and I wanted a female. We wanted them to be from the same litter. In reality, none of these criteria really mattered.
This particular Kitten Adoption Days was held at a model home in a community rather close to where we live. We had friends who lived in the area, and they met us there. We had so much fun wandering through the different rooms of the house looking at all the kittens. There were SIXTY kittens to be adopted that day! Talk about a cuteness overload!! The task of finding the perfect kitties for us seemed daunting, but we dove right in….up to our elbows in cute little kittens. Some, we were able to check off our list right away. Some families were surrounded by too many people, so we just went right by those. As we turned the corner, we saw it…a family that had an equal mix of black kittens and gray-striped tabbies! What were the odds?!
The kitten that went straight to my hubby was black, and the one who came straight to me was a gray-striped tabby! They were both male, and by the time they snuggled into our chests, we’d decided that the opposite gender criteria wasn’t important.
Two women came over to us and said, “Ohhhhhhhhhh, look how cute! Are those two adopted?” My hubby and I looked at each other, and in unison said, “Yes.” At that moment, Merlin and Jasper became a part of our lives.
The woman who had raised their mother and made sure they made it into this world safely came up to us as we were standing in the paperwork line. She had tears in her eyes as she thanked us for taking those two together. She was visibly upset about letting her babies go, and she said that this happens every time, and the only way she feels better is by fostering another pregnant cat and doing this all over again. Tears were rolling down her cheeks as she turned away. It’s been six years, and I still think about that woman. I hope she’s found some peace with this process by now.
Merlin and Jasper adjusted to life in their new home quite well. I’m glad we adopted siblings, and the bond between the two of them is amazing. They groom each other like loving siblings and fight like typical brothers. They are quite the pair.
Merlin as a kitten – Tiny kittens! – Jasper as a kitten
My hubby and I had this mental vision of Merlin and Jasper sleeping curled up at our feet. If you’ve ever had a kitten, you know how preposterous this idea is. They were terrible at night! They were extremely playful during the day and became crazed beasts at night! Needless to say, for the first couple years of their lives, they were shut out of our room at night. Now, they are calmer at night, and they do sleep curled up on our bed.
Merlin & Jasper happy on our bed
They’ve seen a lot of changes in this house as we’ve done our home improvement projects. Here is one of my favorite pictures of them that we took a few years ago during one of those projects.
They are watching my husband install a recessed light in the kitchen. He is in the attic and they can see him through the hole in the ceiling.
Both Merlin and Jasper adjusted rather well to Claire’s arrival. Jasper was mad at me for almost a year, but he seems to have worked out his feelings. He definitely didn’t want to share my attention, but he never acted out toward Claire. He refused to sit on my lap after she was born, but like I said, he’s finally worked through his issues. Everything appears to be back to normal, and he cuddles with me at night while I watch TV, just like he used to. Merlin wasn’t affected at all by Claire’s arrival. He’s always been the really easy-going one.
Here are Merlin and Jasper on Claire’s Happy Hippo Gym. At that time, the Happy Hippo Gym made everyone happy. 😉
Both Merlin and Jasper loved the Baby Claire, and neither of them seems to mind the Toddler Claire. She’s really gentle with them, but she loves to give a good chase. When they’ve had enough, they go to where she can’t reach them. But, it never fails that they come back for more. Those two always have been crazy…
So…happy birthday, guys!! Here’s to six years and many more!