"The Duchess"

by K Warn

I moved into an apartment by myself this year and decided I wanted to get some sort of pet just not a dog. I almost got a parakeet but I like 'the Duchess' much better. I had told my friends and family I wanted a pet when someone told me they found a litter of 10 week old kitten in their backyard and I could have one.

I took the Duchess home and did a little research. She was actually around four weeks old and had fleas all over her. I gave her a bathed her everyday and picked off the fleas until they were all gone.

My research told me my little kitty wasn't old enough for traditional flea treatment. After a vet check and a clean bill of health (thanks to my free de-flea job prior to visiting the vet ;)she was all set to be happy in my home.

But - she wasn't. The little girl was terrified of everything. At first I accounted it to her being feral but, I now believe she was just so young and I didn't know that until a few weeks after. After about a month of intensely hard taming she became friendly and comfortable with me. But when visitors would come and she would dart under the couch for the entire time they stayed. I continued my research intent on bonding with my cat and making this work.

I figured out that she is some kind of mix of an egyptian mau (maybe a domestic short hair because she is white with tabby spots.)Although I've read the mau is rare, the more I read about the breed the more I conclude she is. She has little dots in her tabby spots. I noticed from day one that they were not striped like all other tabbies I've seen. When I first got her she had blue eyes and with in 2 to 3 weeks she developed amber eyes but she still has a blue-green ring between her pupil and her amber color.

Like a egytian mau she is also very shy when I began reading this and about the cats loyalty to their owner I was thrilled! So optimistic that with time my kitty would love me which is all I wanted. Now almost 2 months after I first got 'the Duchess' she is my best friend.

She sleeps with me from midnight until when ever I wake up and for a college student that could be any where from 8 or 12 am. But 'the Duchess' has slept until 2 in the afternoon with me as long as I feed her her breakfast in the morning. If I don't go to sleep with her by 1 am though, she will be passed out in bed waiting for me. She is also super playful and I love how although it seems like she's trying to hurt me when she play fights she's really not.

I've had enough dogs to know puppies control their bites when they play-fight with you but they won't bite as hard as they can. I've noticed 'the Duchess' controls her bites too when shes wrestling my hand and I'm giving her tummy tickles.

At first I was worried 'the Duchess' was feral and shy because she didn't like it in my apartment with me. Then I found out that's just the kind of cat she is and thats ok. She makes it perfectly obvious to me that she wouldn't want to be any where else. And that's why I know I chose the right cat.

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Jan 12, 2011
safely de-fleaing young kittens
by: David McIntire


This is a great article. I happy that you have got the Duchess feeling safe in her new environment. I've been raising and photographing cats for 16 years now, (I have had hundreds of them over the years.) I use to keep between 35 to 50 of them most of the time. They were outside cats that lived inside some of the time. They had their own building and they lived on a farm where they had woods, creeks, fields, and a couple of buildings to hang out in.

I wanted to let you know that when you have kittens that are to young to put toxic chemicals on to kill fleas, the best way to go is to saturate the kitty with vegetable oil. All that the vegetable oil does is to drown the fleas. Some fleas might not get drowned, but they will abandon the ship (so to speak) to get away from the vegetable oil. Leave the oil on them for a few hours and then give them a bath in a kitten formula shampoo.
I've been using this method to control fleas on kittens, and also on adult cats. If the kittens are still with their mother, usually the mother will clean the oil off of the kittens. The mothers love the vegetable oil. Like I said, I've been using it for years.
Take care of the Duchess.

David McIntire
London, Ky.

Dec 14, 2010
Nicer than bird.
by: Jobaputra

I am sure you will be enjoying your cat more than you would a parakeet. Birds are nice to have as pet but not like a cat.

The little Duchess is very sweet and nice.

Dec 11, 2010
A very cute best friend.
by: Larry (Editor)

Hi 'K',

Your Duchess looks a little sweetheart, a very cute kitten. It's good to read that she is your best friend.

The fact that she was so young when separated from her mom explains her early timidness, coupled with the strong possibility she was feral if the litter was found in a backyard.

But the important thing is that she has overcome that with your help, and she is now happy being your best friend.

Good for you for not using commercial flea products on such a young kitten.

It might be a good idea to control that 'play fight' biting. Yes kitten's do control their play bites but it is easy for it to get out of control (and for an adult cat to give some unintentional nasty nips,) and it's a hard habit to break.

Thank you very much for telling us about Duchess, and for sharing her photo.

You and your best friend are going to enjoy life together for years to come.

Larry (Editor)

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