Friday, February 15, 2013

The Adventures of Justin

15 February 2013

I received one of the best 'kitten emails' I've ever gotten a few days ago, and just want to share it with everyone, as it perfectly describes a Birman.  Beth has been generous enough to allow me to share her email and pictures of Justin (BumbleBe Just In Time).  Justin lives with Beth and Keagan in the Denver, Colorado area.  Thanks to Beth for allowing me to share Justin's antics, and especially for giving him a great home!

"Hi Leslie,

Just thought I'd give you some Justin news and pictures - feel free to share them around if you'd like.

Justin is growing like a weed (8.25 lbs now) and is really starting to develop his own unique and funny personality.  He is probably the smartest cat I've ever had.  He took to walking on the harness in less than 2 tries, and apart from wriggling a bit when we first put it on, he now goes instantly to the door for a walk as soon as we show him the harness.  He walks just like a well-trained puppy, and learned within a week what our various command words were: come, wait, leave it, etc. (I use a big goose feather as a target when clicker training them; they zero in on it like nothing else).  He's made instant friends with our neighbors, the Sawyers- they have a 5 year old little boy Sawyer who is especially fond of kitties (they also have a big friendly orange tabby cat).  Justin is especially fascinated with Sawyer, and if he sees him outside in the yard, he will "mrrowl" loudly to announce to us that he'd like to go say hi.  We only ever let him outside of our cat-fenced enclosure when he's in the harness, and he's very good about being picked up / carried and not panicking if we see a dog or something.  He is becoming a pretty good shoulder rider, but his favorite way to be carried is upside-down cradled like a baby (no, really, he is super crazy about it and will purr and go limp and beg for a belly rub as soon as you flip him over).

He's also quite the entertainer.  He loves to play with mylar crinkle balls, feather teasers or sparkle teasers, and those little cheap fuzzy mice with the feather tails (he likes any toy that sparkles and/or rattles, basically) but his special favorite toy is a champagne cork cage that he "won" from a guest at a party (by basically being super cute and vocal, and reaching for it with a paw until we figured out what he was "asking" for).  We made sure it doesn't have any ends sticking out, but otherwise he'll chase and bat and carry it all over the place.  We have a "toy box" for both of the boys where we pitch all the dozens of not-in-service toy mice and soforth, and Justin is a pro at climbing up into the toy box, and selecting a toy (usually his champagne cage) to carry around and play with.  Keagan taught him to play "fetch" with a feather mousie within 3 or 4 sessions, although being a typical cat, he will only play "fetch" when the mood strikes him.

Oh and talking.  Justin is a champion talker.  He definitely has a large vocabulary of his own unique and endless repertoire of different "words" and noises.  One of his signature tricks is to "ask" for something (food, a toy, something interesting on the TV, whatever.)  He will point a paw and trill / mrowl at whatever he wants until we either give it to him, or say "no, Justin, not for kitty!".  The TV is an endless source of fascination for him, with his 2 favorite subjects being football and Top Gear (UK car show), which just goes to show, you can take the cat out of Texas, but not the Texas out of the cat.  Something about the noise and motion really gets him worked up, and he will stand on the media stack batting at the players / cars or "talking" to them for as long as the show is on.

He and Marlowe are fast friends and love to chase, play-wrestle and play soccer / stalk with toys together.  As you can see by the photos they also sleep curled up together in/on whatever bed, box, perch or surface they can stuff or otherwise contort themselves into together.  The intro has been especially good for Marlowe, who has definitely become more active and engaged in play and less shy around guests owing to Justin's gregarious personality.

Justin and Marlowe snuggled up.

Justin had his follow up booster at the vet awhile back, and was a super good patient.  He goes right in the carrier with no fuss, doesn't say a word in the car, and even though he's been to 2 checkups at the vet now (one for initial exam, one for booster) he has no fear of the vet, and even gives her the "happy cat" greeting of the quivering upright tail and cheek rub- something I have never seen any cat tell a vet until now!  Of course we still have to get him chipped and neutered, so he might change his mind, but I'm waiting for him to get a little more mature first.

They both sleep together curled up on our feet every night (although occasionally Justin decides he'd rather sleep curled up in my armpit or something).  I want you to know that Justin is really a wonderful cat and a real credit to the breed and to the time and work you put into raising your kittens.

I'm including an extra picture I took yesterday of Justin "begging" for me to take him for a walk, the little comedian.  He does this (as you can see) by jumping up onto the shoe rack next to the door (we keep all our spare keys/gloves/hats/shoes and the cats' walking harnesses on it), "mrrowling" and playing with the harness.  I half expect that he'll start retrieving the harness to us soon; he has already started bringing us toys he wants us to throw for him.

Justin waiting by the door for his walk.

I'll keep you updated on Facebook as well (Keagan posts a LOT of snapshots of the boys on his timeline) but for now, best of luck with the kitty clan, and enjoy the photos!

Beth & Keagan  "

I was just blown away - what a perfect little guy Justin is, and how well Beth captured his antics.
Thanks again Beth and Keagan!

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