Kitties are impos­si­ble to resist when you see them in every oth­er viral video doing some­thing hilar­i­ous or clever or just plain cute, and my plan to wait until life set­tled down a bit before adopt­ing anoth­er one was as dif­fi­cult as the inten­tions were noble.

I’ve had Byron for about a month now, and he’s already been a great com­pan­ion. He has­n’t warmed up to sleep­ing with me at night, but he fre­quent­ly sleeps in my lap, and fol­lows me around the house, even going so far as to lie on the bath­mat to watch me when­ev­er I’m mak­ing a nice BM. He also rarely stops mov­ing, which makes him espe­cial­ly dif­fi­cult to pho­to­graph. Like Dolly, he can be quite a vocal cat, and will meow repeat­ed­ly when he knows he’s about to be fed or if I call his name.

cat on a couch


I can tell he’s already grown in the short time I’ve had him. It’s always fun to see how all the parts of kit­ties devel­op at dif­fer­ent rates; right now he has big ears and a full tail, though his big mitts are more like­ly due to his breed. His face is also quite mature, though it isn’t par­tic­u­lar­ly strik­ing or unique.

the kitten formerly known as Bart

It was a bit of process before I final­ly had Byron in my pos­ses­sion. Since I got back from my trip to Europe, I’d check the Humane Society web­site a few times a day, and when I final­ly saw a suit­able kit­ten1, I drove down to the shel­ter, only to find this kit­ten being adopt­ed right in front of me. Seeing as how I’d made the dri­ve across town, I stayed to look for oth­er can­di­dates. There I found myself in rooms filled with adorable lit­tle kit­ties, some of which jumped in my lap and licked my hand and did oth­er things which gen­er­al­ly made them impos­si­ble to put down. Unfortunately, none of them were exact­ly what I want­ed, and since this was a deci­sion that would poten­tial­ly stay with me for the next 20 years, I knew I should try anoth­er time for the right one. I’d nev­er felt more like a respon­si­ble adult than when I walked out of there emp­ty-hand­ed, after hav­ing had my heart set on going home with a new kit­ty.

Eventually, I saw a mack­er­el tab­by on the web­site with wild mark­ings and a some­what stocky frame, so I drove down to the Humane Society right away. There they had him in a cage with anoth­er kit­ten, asleep at first, but soon anx­ious to be let out when I got his atten­tion. When I took him out, a brief inspec­tion revealed that he had a beau­ti­ful­ly lush coat and an alert demeanor, and I could tell he was the right one not long after a bit of play­ing.

As part of the adop­tion process, I was asked all sorts of ques­tions. Any cat lover would be able to tell it was actu­al­ly a screen­ing test, cause some of the ques­tions were traps, like “I am adopt­ing a cat to a) keep my cur­rent cat com­pa­ny b) keep me com­pa­ny”. When review­ing my form, the adop­tion work­er said, “You know all the right answers, don’t you?”, and soon I had him in my car, head­ing home in the sum­mer heat.

a new name

I want­ed to name this new kit­ten after a hero, but Ulysses or Lermontov or Nabokov did­n’t feel neu­tral enough for a cat, like­ly cause those names have spe­cif­ic con­no­ta­tions for me. I set­tled on Byron after real­iz­ing Lord Byron had influ­enced some of my favourite writ­ers, and I’ve always loved the idea of the Byron hero (even going so far as to fan­cy myself one in my fool­ish youth).

how's everybody feline

My bat­tle with fleas and upper res­pi­ra­to­ry infec­tions from the last adop­tion left me para­noid, so I kept Byron in quar­an­tine a full two weeks. Thankfully, Byron has­n’t had any ail­ments, and he’s already adjust­ed to the rest of the house. I’m only now real­iz­ing how much of a sick­ly cat Leonard was in com­par­i­son.

At first I thought he had asth­ma cause he would pant with­in five min­utes of play­ing2, but now I think he just push­es him­self when he plays. The fact that he has a hard time keep­ing track of toys with­out bells or jan­gles leads me to believe he does­n’t have very good eye­sight, though he has great hear­ing to make up for this. He fol­lows the bag of treats cause it makes a nice lit­tle rat­tle, but can’t fig­ure out where the actu­al treat is when it’s in my hand.

there's nothing more dangerous than an intelligent cat

The fact that Byron’s a smart cat means he eas­i­ly gets into trou­ble. It’s hard to stop him from going on the for­bid­den coun­ter­tops or play­ing with things that are too valu­able to be kit­ty toys. Luckily, that also means he under­stands pun­ish­ment soon­er3. He’s also good at learn­ing the paths of where I like to run his toys, and knows how to lead his tar­gets.

new siblings

two cats on a chair

One of Dolly’s favourite spots is on the chaise, so I lay this kit­ty blan­ket out to pre­vent too much hair from build­ing up on it. She loves sleep­ing on it, even when Byron has stolen her spot.

Dolly has­n’t been her­self since I brought Byron home. She keeps run­ning away when­ev­er I bring her to bed with me, and she does­n’t purr at all, which is par­tic­u­lar­ly out of char­ac­ter for her, as she used to do so when you only gave her a long enough look. She’s start­ed warm­ing up to me again though, and I hope it’ll get bet­ter over time.

Leonard was too inno­cent to under­stand that Dolly growl­ing meant he should stay away. Byron knows enough to leave her alone, so even though his incli­na­tion is to try to sleep with her, he does­n’t try to very often. Unfortunately, he also has a ten­den­cy to bite in a play­ful man­ner, which can real­ly annoy her and quick­ly esca­late into a fight, but it always remains play fight­ing. At first I kept break­ing them up, but real­ized Dolly has­n’t got­ten this much exer­cise in years.

  1. He was male, around 3–4 months old, no health issues, with the right face, colours, and pat­tern. []
  2. I could rarely get my oth­er cats to pant, and if they did it usu­al­ly took at least 20 min­utes. []
  3. It took Leonard a good two months before he learned not to eat from Dolly’s dish, but with Byron it only took two days []


  1. Congratulations man, he’s a beau­ti­ful cat :)

  2. Oh my gosh, he’s grow­ing so fast! He looks so grown up in the couch pic­ture, although he still looks super-kit­ten-cud­dly-wud­dly in the chaise pho­to.

  3. such an adorable kit­ty!

  4. Oh con­grats!! Did we only find out about him now that he’s reached his kit­ty-red-egg day health­wise? : )

    He’s real­ly pret­ty and squishy look­ing. Vids! Vids!

    Sorry though, you could nev­er be a Byronic hero; you’d have to be con­sid­er­ably more obnox­ious to be that.

  5. Wow, Dolly… I’ll have to make plans to see Dolly in the next 4 years. Did she ever got rid of her eye infec­tion?

    • She did get rid of it, but now she has anoth­er one. The vet thinks it’s a her­pes infec­tion that flares up when she’s stressed out from hav­ing anoth­er kit­ty in the house, although it only hap­pens when the oth­er cat is a kit­ten.

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