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Ragdoll cats

Life with a Ragdoll kitten, 3+ months in.

Life with a ragdoll kitten sure is amazing, but it will also drive you crazy, especially if you live in a tiny studio apartment…

January 2nd 2020, I brought my first Ragdoll kitten home. I was looking forward to it with absolute pure joy, since I lost my old baby cat Maja at 12.5 years a few months before. Life without a cat was dreadful, absolutely worse than just becoming single so I just had to get a new cat. With what I know now, I’d never get a kitten in such a small apartment, but what’s done is done and for what it’s worth – I love the little booger to death.

Majken lies in my lap during the first day or so with me.

So many sleepless nights…

I’m a person that needs my sleep. OMG, do I need my sleep. I become a wreak pretty fast if I do not get at lest 8-9 hours of good sleep per night. At a normal state, I basically never sleep well. It takes ages to even get to sleep no matter how tired I am. I wake up a lot during a normal night as well and wake up totally exhausted. I go through a normal day really tired, but I’ve learned to live with it and functioning “normally”. I can even drive a car most days, so that should say something. Anyways. With me being a “parent” to a small child with four paws and a lot of fur, I have not been myself for months. It got so bad I had to get sleeping pills from the doctor. It’s getting better, but it’s still not good. I never get to bed on time, and I rarely get my 8 hours of perfect sleep, especially on a school night. This is mainly due to my kitten Majken waking me up at 5 am to either do some more mischiefs or to just do normal stuff, like going to the litter box, eating some more and then wake me up for some more cuddles. It all depends on how active she’s been during the day.

How it began and how it’s absolutely my own fault

The first nights or so with her were perfect, but then chaos began and I did absolutely everything wrong. She did not have enough toys to play with at first, and I did not play with her as much as I should’ve during the nights and I did not think ahead. I just figured life with a kitten would be as wonderful as my life with Maja, who was chilled deluxe from whenever she left the kitten stage. I was just so used to not having to do anything other than feed and cuddle my cat, so I could not get it into my thick head that I should actually play with my kitten and make her tired enough to sleep through the night. When I finally did start to do the right things, it hat gotten so bad, that I could not fall asleep before 3 AM. I tossed and turned for hours and hours on end and that kept going for way too long. Finally when I got some sleeping pills from the doctor, it slowly started to getting better. It’s still bad, but it’s better, like I mentioned before.

How the nights are these days

I’m now used to waking up at 5 am, and because I do, the cat also wakes up and does her thing. However, one wonderful thing that’s been going on for a week now is that when she finally goes to bed to sleep for the night, she stays quiet and is just absolutely cuddly and nice. Even if she wakes up at 5 AM to do whatever, she keeps quiet and returns to me for cuddles. Some nights she sleeps by my side the whole night, and it’s so comforting. I love it! When she lies besides me, I hold her paws or touch her back and as long as I can touch her, I’ll keep touching her. Partly to know that she’s there and she knows I’m here, but also because it’s so lovely and comforting. I have to mention too that even though we both have the bad habit of waking up at 5 AM, we’ll go back to sleep within an hour and keep sleeping until it’s time to wake up. If I have a school day, I have to get up around 8 AM, but if I’m free, I’ll sleep for however long I want too and Majken does too. Sometimes she’s even sleepier than I am. I should point out though, that this lovely behavior of being quiet during the night, only applies here at home when I’m sleeping by myself. If I stay at a friends house or if a friend stays over here, it’s mischiefs until we all go crazy and sleep is not easily found. That is annoying as hell! I just want to sleep, goddammit…

Me and Majken lying next to each other. She's next to my pillow
This is how we normally wake up no matter what day it is and I absolutely love it!

So what are the days with a Ragdoll kitten like?

Well, mostly they’re great. We wake up, and she follows me around most of the times. If she’s too tired, she’s sleeping, but if not, then I have a kitty glued to my backside or something. I give her breakfast as soon as possible. Then I put out her toys. I’ll eat some breakfast or I’ll start studying or I go to school. If I’m at school I’ll stay there for 7+ hours, but if I’m at home, I just stay home. A few times a week she comes with me to my ex boyfriend, just so I can be with him for a bit and so that she could play some more. Just being there tires her out completely and so she stays pretty chill and tired for about two days. Plus – those nights she lets me sleep a whole lot more, so just for that it’s worth bringing her.

Majken in my arms and we’re taking a twofie. A perfect Twofie!

How Corona affects everything

She’s also started to adapt to my schedule and such. Before this Corona crap started going, she started to calm down a lot when I sat with my computer in my lap, so that was good, and she’s usually pretty calm when I just watch TV as well, unless she’s in a rough play session. There was a period as well when she did not play that much during the day, so it was hard to wake her up in order to play with her to make her tired enough to sleep all night, but the good thing about Corona is that I’ve started to sit more by my desk. Since I started doing that, she’s a lot more active and plays for hours when I’m using it. Aka she sleeps a lot better through the night.

What about training?

I had planned that I’d stick to 99% positive reinforcement training with her, but that failed quickly. I basically have yelled at her at least once per day for over three months. I absolutely hate that fact, but I can’t help it. It’s due to medical issues that I have no control over, so please don’t judge me. I at least make sure I’m not hurting her. Now, that it’s getting better, she’s a lot more chill and due to Corona crap that’s kept me at home a lot more, I’ve started to go back to better methods. Or I’m just too exhausted that I just can’t find the strength to become angry at her.

The way things are going now is pretty great, but I really do dislike all of her mischiefs. It’s like she does not care what’s allowed and not. No matter how many times I tell her no – that’s not acceptable etc, she keeps on doing it. She knows that she’s not allowed to use my desk chair as a scratching pole or plaything. It’s ok if she just lies in it, or sleeps in it, but no playing. I have to tell her off until she goes to sleep or something. It’s exhausting! She does not listen! I’ve done my best with all her mischiefs, and for some things it works. I started putting away all her toys and ignoring her during the night after I saw a video by Jackson Galaxy and it worked wonders. I’m using double sided sticky tape so she won’t jump onto the TV and other places, but it does not work always. I’ve tried putting sticky tape on the chair but it’s fallen off, so I cut up some cardboard boxes and put some sticky tape on them, but now she’s learned that those are movable, aka she can move them herself or just ignore them. I spray repellent on the recycling bins, but that only works sometimes. If I do it too much she gets used to the smell and ignores it and attacks them anyway. She’s also started to play with the toilet paper, so I have to put the roll in a box, that I must close after each use. If I do not, she’ll find it and roll out meter after meter off it. I also have to keep the shower doors closed, because otherwise she’ll play with the lid that goes over the sewer, or whatever it’s called. She likes to play with cables, and sometimes to chew on them as well. Most of them I’ve covered with plastic, but it does not always help. If I do not put absolutely everything that she could interpret as a toy at night, she’ll play with it and annoy the crap out of me. It’s a good thing the neighbors can’t hear me. Or at least I don’t think so. I should’ve heard some complaints by now if I make to much noise yelling at my cat.

What does she eat?

She primarily eats Mush, which is a Finnish brand of frozen meat balls made for cats and dogs. She also eats kibble from Royal Canin made for kittens. It’s total crap food, but she’ll eat that until she’s 1 years old. After that, we shall see. She also got some wet food that made her a wet food addict. She loves Mush, but it works great only sometimes, and not all the time. In the beginning she ate it like crazy and hated the kibble, but now it’s the other way around. It’s probably because of her baby teeth falling out, because she started eating more kibble when they started changing. She still wants it of course, the Mush I mean, but I’ve thrown away a lot of it, so I’m thinking of giving her less Mush or stop giving it all together. The reason for that are few, but still worthy causes of letting it go.

The main reason for stop giving Mush is due to me living in such a small space after I became single in october of 2019. Now I only live in a 322 square feet apartment (30 kvm), with a tiny fridge and freezer combined. For a while I bought a lot of Mush that it filled a whole section in the freezer. That was lovely, since buying a bag per week for her otherwise is really bothersome. Still it had it drawbacks filling a whole section. That means I lost a whole section for my own food. The good did not outweigh the bad here… The reason being that I’ve longed for having a stock filled freezer with just a bunch of good food just for me. One of the huge perks of being single and living alone!

The other reasons is that she’s started to have horrible bad breath, which primarily shows after she’s eaten Mush. That’s kinda weird since meat is the best thing for her. She could still be changing he baby teeth, and I’ve seen nothing wrong with her teeth. Her gums are light pink and her teeth are like pearly white. Still, I’ve ordered a chewing toy that acts like a tooth brush. I hope that’ll help. Time will tell. She also has gotten a lot of toys that she can chew on.

The third reason is due to costs. She costs a lot more than I’ve budgeted for. I’d planned for like $30 per month including insurance, food and toys. Instead she is costing me at least the double. Mush is expensive. I need to buy a gazillion new things for her per month so that she won’t destroy my stuff or be annoying as hell. I visit the pet shop like once a week, spending far too much that I bargained for. If she’d only eat kibble while I keep living in this apartment, things would hopefully be better, except for her health maybe. Hopefully such things will only show when she’s starting to become old, like 10+ or something like that. My cat Maja was healthy until she was like 11 years old. When she finally got sick it was too late to do anything, and had we thought about it then, we could’ve easily saved her life. Maja died due to eating kibble all her life, since she died of kidney disease. Kibble is the source for that, which is why I still like for Majken to keep eating mush as her primary source of food. I still haven’t decided what I’m gonna do. If I stop giving her Mush, I’d feed her wet food a lot more often instead, but the bad thing about that is that her stomach can’t handle too much of it, but when she gets it, she’s like a drug addict, screaming for more. I don’t know what to do. What would you do?

Conclusion

Just to point out – these things that she does are not that bad. It would not be such a big deal if I had a bigger place. Getting a kitten when I live in this little shoebox was a huge, huge mistake. Next place I shall be living in must have enough space and rooms so I could safely get more cats without being annoyed by noise at night. Therefore, my dream now is to have a dedicated “cat room”, where the future cats can be when I’m not at home, or when I’m sleeping and that room must be at least one room adjacent to my bedroom. Preferably in the east wing, if you catch my drift and my bedroom shall then be in the left one. Even if I were to forever stay single and/or live by myself – I just simply must have one extra room just for the cats. If I am not able to have an extra room for those furry balls of fluff, I will not have more animals. I’d stick with one cat at a time, and I’ll never – ever get just one kitten either. Many says having two helps a lot, especially if they are siblings or at least related.

I do not regret her. She’s my cat, my baby, my mischievous troll, but I would never – ever recommend that anyone get a kitten when you do not have a bigger apartment. Ok, fine I guess to have adult cats that are chill and do not make such noise at night, but for a person who’s like me, I’d really like to rewind time here and never gotten a cat right now. It’s too late to turn back of course. I’ve made my bed and I have to lie in it, and it’s fine. The good outweighs the bad, but it’s still a huge frustration that I can’t sleep at night, that I worry if I’m ever gonna sleep ok again and if she’ll ever stop with her mischiefs. My current sleeping disorders would probably never have started if I never got a kitten in this tiny, tiny apartment.

Hopefully one day, she’ll be as wonderful as my Maja was. That’s why I never wanted to live without a cat ever again… And it was also the reason why I got a Ragdoll instead of some other breed or just another house cat. I wanted to make sure that I’d get to live a calm, peaceful life with a cat in my lap that I’d just cuddle and feed.

I desperately hope she’ll be as chill as Ragdolls are known to be and that that day will come sooner rather than later.

By Anna-Maria "Aimee" Eriksson

Galen i Grand Danois och numera även katter (Ragdoll). Singel med flit, och bor nära Malmö med mina husdjur. Jag vill bli full-stack utvecklare inom webb.

Crazy about Great Danes and Ragdoll cats. Single on purpose and I live close to Malmö with my pets. I want to be a full-stack web developer.

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