Two weeks ago we adopted two adorable kittens: Mikey and Claudia. Now, my primary purpose in writing this blog is to share pictures of the kitties.
These are our adorable new kittens. Did you know that kittens poop approximately four times a day? We did not know this when we adopted these kittens.
It’s fine. It’s good for the offspring to learn to empty the litter box. Which we do, twice a day. Why so often? Because these are indoor cats.
And this is where the Swiss part of this comes in.
We live right in the center of Basel. It’s amazing. We can walk to grocery stores and movie theaters and restaurants. Last week I even walked to a Tom Walker and Snow Patrol Concert that was literally 300 meters from my door. I love where we live. But, it’s not safe for kitties to be out and about.
So, we needed indoor cats. The plural was important because Swiss law requires that your cat be able to see another cat every day. That either means you have two cats or your cat is an outdoor cat.
We set out to adopt two cats and it was very difficult. While there are plenty of cats available for adoption, no one wanted to give one to us–because we wanted indoor cats.
The prevailing Swiss view is that it’s cruel to keep cats indoors. The first question anyone asks is “how big is your garden?” Well, we don’t have one. We live in a city apartment. We have an awesome back porch, though!
So, the animal shelters didn’t want to give us a cat. People who advertise their free kittens didn’t want to give us a cat. We didn’t try breeders, but I suspect none of them would want to give us a cat either. They believe it’s torture to keep a cat confined inside.
It’s the complete opposite of our experiences in the United States. There it’s difficult to find someone who will let you adopt a cat if it’s going to be an outside cat.
So, how did we get these two adorable kitties?
Well, the are street cats from Bahrain.
You read that correctly. See, Bahrain has a stray animal problem. This stems from a culture of not spaying and neutering your pets and a problem of expat families getting a new assignment and just dumping the pets on the street when they move, rather than going through the hassle and expense of moving the pets.
A woman in the area has a house in Bahrain and Basel and when she goes to Bahrain she brings back cats. She only adopts them out to people who will keep them inside, as she knows what happens on the streets.
We’re very grateful. And our little kitties are too. They enjoy being inside and haven’t asked to go out–even though the doors to our balcony are glass. In case they escape they’ve been chipped and Mikey’s been snipped. Claudia is too little to be spayed, but she will be when she’s older.
They like to attack feather based toys, completely avoid the nice scratching posts we bought them, and when strangers come to the door Mikey hides under the piano, holding perfectly still, and Claudia comes out to sniff them.
Offspring #1 is convinced that when they are bigger she will put harnesses on them and take them for walks. But, they won’t go outside alone–even if the Swiss people think we’re mean for keeping them inside.
12 thoughts on “Swiss Saturday: Kitties”
Congrats on your new additions to your household. Looks like they aren’t young kittens but closer to the six month age or beyond. But you are wise to keep them indoors, plus I hope you are going to neuter/spay them both and chip them. I just adopted a rescue kitten in June and got him all of his shots and had him fixed (neutered) at age six months. Since you have a pair, they will entertain each other when not enjoying lap time for cuddling and brushing. I would advise 2 litter boxes with the high walls to avoid the litter spills. You made the best decision to get rescue cats and give them a loving home.
Aww, they’re so cute!
My cat was an outdoor cat. She never wanted to come in and although I tried, I couldn’t make her. I got her after she was grown so there was no changing it. I just tried to make her as comfortable as possible outside. She lived to be thirteen (fairly old for an outdoor cat), had regular vet visits, and was spoiled rotten. She’s buried in the backyard near her favorite bush. I’m leaving a note of that for the person who bought my house and marked the spot so they don’t inadvertently disturb her. <3
I think you are wise to keep your cats inside if you live in an apartment and near a busy road. Our cat is allowed into our walled garden during the day but sleeps inside at night. We live in Australia where many councils require cats to be kept inside at night so they cannot hunt our small nocturnal marsupial animals that evolved before cats were brought here in the late eighteenth century. Your kittens are also lucky to have been allowed into Switzerland. To bring them to Australia, you need an import permit that is granted after a two-year process supervised by an approved vet to ensure that your pets pass our very strict bio-security regulations. Even after that, upon arrival they are kept in quarantine for at least 10 days with no guarantee that they will be allowed into the country after further health checks are conducted.
We lived in the Panama Canal Zone when I was in high school. When we moved back to the US, we had to put our cat in quarantine for a month. We would visit him and he would cry and cry and cry. It was awful. He was so miserable.
Thank you for being a responsible expat! As miserable as your poor kitty was, in the long run your family are great humans!
Curses and a pox upon folks who move and dump pets. May their hemorrhoids always be swollen when they must sit in a long, boring meeting.
Why is it not safe for kitties to out and about?
We are right in the middle of the city. There are trams and buses and bicycles and cars and foot traffic. Plus, we’re in an apartment building and on the first floor (to Americans, it would be the second floor). There’s no good way for the kitties to get in and out.
The entire purpose of the internet is to talk about cats and to share cat photos!
Please tell Offspring # 1 that if she is serious about taking the kitties for walks outside, she needs to start getting them used to the harnesses ASAP. Start gradually, putting them on the cats for short periods of time — so they can get used to them — rewarding them both before and after. The first time, they will probably try to chew they ways out of the harnesses, but should — very quickly — get used to them. Then, attach leashes and start walking around the apartment with them. Unlike dogs, with cats, you have to let them take the lead, with you following. Ultimately, you can take them outside for walks, one at a time. Don’t push them, and — again — start out very gradually. Eventually, they will love their outdoor walks and will probably end up bring you the harness and meowing at the door to go out! 🙂
Well apparently my cat would hate being a Swiss cat! She has no desire to go outside (when I took her out on my patio she wanted to stay on the concrete because apparently standing on the grass felt weird) and she definitely does not want to see any other cats. She is the Queen of the House and she likes it that way, thank you very much!
Good for you for adopting street cats from Bahrain…and please share as many cat photos as you’d like!
My kitty is indoors and loves my Frenchie as his perfect companion.
He is happy and safe and was also rescued.
Good for you for keeping your bebes inside.
Awwww, adorable babies! I know my cat is glad she’s not Swiss, because she is completely terrified of the outdoors and she absolutely hates other animals. (She used to attack her own mirror image until she finally realized it wasn’t another cat.) I’m not sure that we could force her to do either, because she’s so anxious and freaks out about that kind of stuff.
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