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Seamus Gizmo

by Margaret Schill

Seamus, adopted 6/1/05, 12 weeks old

All the cats we ever had were rescues from the streets, or cats someone else couldn't, or wouldn't keep. Most of them we were able to rehome, though five of them are our definite permanent cats. But finally, one day, we actually got a cat on purpose! Little Seamus Gizmo. We didn't set out to get another cat though.

When we took our cat Galen to the vet one afternoon, they had a cage with four kittens in it available for adoption. Three light orange kittens, about 10 weeks old, maybe only 9, and Seamus, a tuxedo cat, who was about 12 weeks old. He was having a high time playing with a little toy mouse in the cage. But he was larger, much more active and more assertive than the little orange guys. They hardly had room to move due to Seamus taking all the available floor space playing with the toy mouse.

When we were ready to check out, my husband and I were unable to not stop and look at the kittens again. Usually we can make ourselves leave when we see a cage of kittens for adoption, but, that did not work this time. I kept thinking seriously about adopting Seamus, and then saw him hiss at and swipe at one of the smaller orange kittens when the little one was trying to drink some water. So I thought it only right to rescue those smaller kittens from the large, very active, assertive, intimidating, (to them), Seamus. Seamus looked so big compared to the other kittens. My husband said no, but then he kept watching the kittens, and suddenly handed me the checkbook to go pay the adoption fee for Seamus!

Seamus on "Dad"

What happened was, as my husband told me in the car, is that Seamus gave my husband the same look our other tuxedo cat Minerva gives him sometimes, the look that melts my husband's heart. We were trying to think of name, and my husband asked what a good Irish name was. So I said Seamus, which happens to mean James, and my husband, named James, emphatically said, "That's it." So Seamus is his little baby boy.

We wouldn't have adopted him if he weren't so spunky and assertive, since he will have to contend with our adult cats. Though maybe it will be they having to contend with Seamus!

We found out later that Seamus was not supposed to have been in that cage with the smaller kittens. He had been adopted by one of the workers at the vet's about two weeks prior, when he was there for his neutering, but the day we went to the vet's, she had "returned" him by just putting him in the cage with the little kittens. The person who rescued both Seamus and the little orange kittens did not know anything about that until she was informed that we adopted Seamus. 

Seamus is very well socialized to humans. He didn't seem to need any time to get used to being in a new home either. He found various cat toys in the different rooms and just started playing. Even the cat tower was a big toy to him.

Seamus was not fearful, but the adult cats were another story. To them, kittens are scary, strange little beasties. It may seem odd that adult cats would be afraid of little kittens, but many are. Most adult cats have no experience with kittens and aren't quite sure what to make of them. And, since scared cats sometimes attack animals they are afraid of, we certainly did not let our adult cats have contact with Seamus right away! The safest and least stressful to the cats method of introducing kittens to adult cats is detailed in the article Integrating Kittens With Cats

While Seamus' main beginning living quarters/"safe room" were our small bedroom with it's attached bath, we set Seamus up in a dog cage, that had plenty of room for a hidey box-bed, litter box, scratching post, and some toys, to let him be observed safely by the big cats for short time periods each day. We had Seamus in the bathroom for a couple of hours when we first brought him home, and observed how each of the big cats reacted to smelling his carrier, so that gave a lot of important information for us to judge whether to let Seamus be "on view" yet. They didn't react badly to his scent, so we tried a cage viewing that same day. Jolie growled and hissed nonstop. The mere sight and smell of that "dreadful" little creature was too much for her to bear, so she left the area shortly, after some very pointed glares and one final long, strong hiss.

Days One - Three with Seamus

Sumner is mostly curious, but a bit cautious, about the little critter in the box.

Timid Minerva takes a "brave" slink walk past the scary kitten in the cage.  Then she would not come near again for three days.

Galen is fascinated, yet unsure.

Simon, our territorial cat who tends to react to stress  with aggression, didn't realize an "alien" was in the cage when he started eating his food. Pairing food with the sight of a new cat can help make positive associations.  Simon was not feeling positive yet.  Seamus sure needed to be safely contained.

Simon seemed to think Seamus was ok when he got closer, but then he hissed strongly and left the room, and his food.  

Continued on page 2

Seamus

Seamus was a lazy eater, preferring to recline while eating canned food.

Seamus' Recommended Toys and Products

Blitz Turbo Scratcher for Cats  

Seamus loves playing with the Turbo Scratcher! This is one of the best toys ever for cats and older kittens to help work off energy and provide fun.

The corrugated cardboard center can be used as a scratching mat and is replaceable.

cat themed

Packing paper

Like most all cats, Seamus loves playing with a wrinkled sheet of packing paper. With it being wrinkled, a cat can dive under it easier. It becomes more fun after a "peep hole" gets torn in it!

cat themed

Cat Cubes

Seamus loves the cat cube! He gets quite active in it, rolling and twisting around in it. He loves to catch something just outside the cube, such as an old sock we dangle or drag.