So this is Ember. Isn’t she pretty? She’s a tortoishell cat we got when we still lived in Blackpool back in 2016.
We got her through friends of friends who had taken in a stray cat, said stray then proceeded to have a litter and so they were looking for good homes for them to go to. When we got there she was the last one left. She was extremely cute, but already I could tell she was… different to her siblings.
Unlike the other kittens she showed only minimal interest in things around her and was keen to be left alone. She was still young though and we figured maybe she was timid. I also really, really wanted a cat as I’d not been able to have one in 9 years!
It was agreed that we’d take her and we went off to prepare the house. Full cat mum mode was activated! I made sure we had water and food bowels, litter tray, litter, the right food, a selection of toys, the works! We were both looking forward to having a little kitten to raise.
Getting her home went well and she was actually not that timid, to our surprise, and instantly explored the room we lived in (yes we basically lived in one room at the time) with interest. She went straight for her stuff. At first I thought she was going to hide under the bed but she ran straight out the other end and to her toys and scratch post. ‘Excellent!’ I thought. ‘She clearly feels comfortable.’
We spent some time ‘squeeing’ over her as she got used to her new home and getting to know her over the next few days, weeks and years.
Our little weirdo…
We love her very much but let me tell you now that she was… a challenge. And she still is!
She’s not a bad cat. Sure she can grumble at times (e.g. getting her claws clipped) but she’s not particularly vicious or anything (though she can be grumpy) but by goodness she’s a weirdo!
Examples of her strange behaviour (including but not limited to):
Eating my hair first thing every morning for the first four months then never doing it again.
Refusing to acknowledge my partner is her cat dad and treating him like a stranger for the first 4 years! And only getting used to him when she’d had a sibling to copy for a while and my partner started working from home (due to Covid)
Not knowing how to meow. She used to do a semi-mute squeak instead.
Only learning how to meow or make noise of any sort when we got her a brother (Bandit) and she started copying him
A hatred of sofas and sitting on sofas which has only got (mildly) better in the last year (she’d prefer it if we sat on the ground)
Refusing to play with her toys and instead wanting to eat rubber bands
Oh the list could go on!
But let me share you one of the first, weird little things she did that had me worried: She wouldn’t drink!
So Ember is and always has been rather… weird… This is just one of many instances which showed us how odd she really was. It was shortly after we got her as a little kitten. We’d set up her corner of the room with everything she could need: litter box, bed, food bowl, drinks bowl, toys and scratch post. At first everything was fine, she settled in well and understood her litter box straight away and within minutes she was playing with her toys.
But after a few days I noticed that she’d almost completely stopped using her water bowl. It seemed like she was hardly drinking and I didn’t want her to fall ill or get dehydrated. I was getting worried. But I did notice that she was fascinated by running water. It seemed to be that she only realised there was water in her bowl when we ran water into it. We couldn’t really set up a cat fountain so I had to DIY something.
My solution was to buy a hamster bottle, fill it with water and tie it to the leg of a chair above her water bowl. Amazingly this worked and for about three months she’d drink from the hamster bottle, licking at the water drops.
Ember you’re a cat, not a hamster. Cat, not hamster. Cats drink from bowls not… Oh you know what never mind. Your blank expression tells me none of this is getting through…
And then one day I found her staring at the water in the bowl in deep contemplation as drops drip, dripped from the feeder. Slowly, as if it required great thought and a reassessment of all her life’s philosophy she dipped her head and began to drink straight out of the bowl
Revelation! Success! The cat has levelled up!
So many things have been like this: she doesn’t have the normal cat behaviour and either has to be taught it in a round about way or has to mimic it from her brother. Slow learner I suppose. She’s a weirdo, but she’s our weirdo and we love her.
This was my little introduction to Ember, it was only short but I’ll be sure to share more of her antics and strange behaviour in the future either here, on Youtube or on Instagram so you can expect to see more of her soon.
I’ll also do an introduction to her younger brother Bandit soon so keep an eye out for that.