The state of the kittyverse chez nous.

I’ve accumulated some furbaby pictures over the last couple of months, so I thought I’d post a few, along with some intelligence from the home front. I’m mainly talking about Nenette, who has been making tentative strides in her transition to life with a family who actually cares for her and adores her, in a house in which she’s free to do what she wants and go where she pleases. We get the impression that this wasn’t the case before.

Nenette has come a long way, but there’s a final frontier: our bed. She’s reposed on the bed on several occasions, during the day, when the bed is made, but she’s afraid to go near it at night when we’re in it. It seems likely that at her former residence, she’d been chased off the bed and menaced away from it.

If we pick her up and gently place her on the bed at night, she’ll leap away like we’d set her down on a bed of hot coals. We’ve been working on it, and we’re happy to be seeing some progress now. Last night, she stood on the bed for a good minute. We watched her and saw the wheels turning (it’s funny how you can see this little girl’s mind working) as she surveyed the landscape and studied Nounours, who was asleep on the blanket at the foot of the bed. It was like she assessed the whole situation and thought about it before she left.

This morning, I woke up to find her sleeping on Ronnie James’ barstool near my side of the bed, which she’s been doing lately – another good sign. If she’s not sleeping with us on the bed, she’s at least sleeping near us. She’s gaining confidence!

Nenette hit her three-month-versary with us three days ago. She’s put on a little weight, she’s learned her name, she’s become significantly more comfortable with us, and, most recently, she’s started to play with Nounours, which is the best thing of all. Managing that situation has been another challenge, though, as Nounours is much larger than Nenette… and Nenette being declawed means that they can’t play on equal ground. He can actually hurt her and not get hurt back. We keep his claws trimmed. We keep an eye on things as they chase each other around, and if they start to tussle the way cats do, we firmly assert the need to play nice if it starts getting too rough. (In French… Nounours knows “Gentil!” better than he knows “Be nice!” Nounours is a French cat.)

So, pics, starting with Nounours.

This is the one that would mortify him if we were to show it to his girlfriend, if he had one:


Nounours hugging his toy, asleep with his mouth open.

Nounours hugging his toy, asleep with his mouth open.


Just to show that I’m not a totally mean Mommy, here’s a more dignified one of him:


Nounours, the teddy bear lion who was made to be hugged and assaulted with kisses.

Nounours, the teddy bear lion who was made to be hugged and assaulted with kisses.


Well, almost dignified. It’s not MY fault that he decided to lift his leg at exactly that moment.

Here’s Nenette:


Little Nenette, aka Bunny-Butt.

Little Nenette, aka Bunny-Butt.


This one’s from August:


Nenette and her toys and her necklace of informative hearts.

Nenette and her toys and her necklace of informative hearts.


And here they are together! This was a case of Instagram saving the pic from its bad lighting:


Nounours and Nenette, as close as we've seen them so far.

Nounours and Nenette, as close as we’ve seen them so far.


It’s a rare opportunity to get a shot of them together, but we’re getting there!. One day, I’ll be able to post a pic of them snuggling together… on the bed.

Hello, I am a CNTJ.

“Hey Baby, guess what?” I asked Callaghan the other night.


“I realized that I’m not an introvert, and I’m not an extravert. Guess what I am!”

“A bear.”

This took me by surprise. Wasn’t it obvious where I was heading?


“A mama bear.”

“No.” Although I am.

“I don’t know, mon amour. What are you?”

“I’m not an introvert, and I’m not an extravert,” I began again. “I’m a catrovert.”

Callaghan paused, then snorted with laughter.

“That’s a good one,” he said. “It’s TRUE.”

Yes, it is.

In a world of introverts and extraverts, I’ve always been a textbook introvert. The personality tests I’ve taken have reflected this unfailingly. According to Myers-Briggs, I’m an INTJ. But actually, I’m a CNTJ.

I’ve yet to see catroversion documented anywhere in the literature concerning personality types, but it should be, because I know that I’m far from the only one.

Introversion and extraversion are terms that describe how people replenish their mental and emotional energy stores, right? The way I understand it, introverts “recharge” best in solitude… they get their energy from within themselves, so they need alone-time. Extraverts recharge by being with others; they’re energized in the company of other people.

Catroverts, meanwhile, recharge by being with cats. We derive our energy from those of the feline persuasion, so the time we spend with them is the most profoundly therapeutic time we can know.


Catroversion with Nenette

Catroversion with Nenette


These pics with Nenette were taken on Sunday. Lots of Labor Day weekend fur-baby bonding went on around here!

And Nounours got all kinds of snuggles in the aftermath of his dental surgery a couple of weeks ago:


Catroversion with Nounours

Catroversion with Nounours


Since I just did a search and found no mention of catroversion anywhere online,* I figured it ought to be published somewhere, which, I guess, means here in this post. Let’s take it a step further and break catroversion down into two types:

  • Type A catrovert: Derives energy from being with cat(s)
  • Type B catrovert: Derives energy from being ALONE with cat(s)

The Type A catrovert often tests as an extravert on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. (That would be Callaghan.)

The Type B catrovert is essentially also an introvert. (This would be me.)

“Voilà,” I said to Callaghan, “We’re not really opposites in this regard! We’re both primary catroverts.” It was easy to flesh out my theory as I went, so I kept going. “And your secondary extraversion and my secondary introversion complement each other.”

Seriously… with a few exceptions, if Callaghan wasn’t around to encourage me to go out and do social things (i.e. attend parties), I just wouldn’t. He’s good at busting me out of my comfort zones. Pretty much the only place at which I look forward to socializing is the gym. Outside of that, give me one-on-one interactions with friends, and small groups over large ones.

Callaghan had to admit that I was onto something when I presented catroversion to him.

So what are some things we should know about catroverts?

1). The catrovert with secondary extraversion (Type A catrovert) may be prone to:

  • Overspending the household budget on cat birthday party preparations
  • Bringing home every stray cat on the street
  • Struggling to resist adopting all the cats in the shelter
  • Feeding the neighborhood stray cats
  • Insisting on going over to talk to the cats up for adoption at PetSmart and PetCo

2). The catrovert with secondary introversion (Type B catrovert) may be prone to:

  • Being accused of being anti-social (if not an all-out misanthrope)
  • Being labeled a “crazy cat lady” (even if not a lady)
  • Taking longer than average to grieve the loss of a beloved cat
  • Feeling inexplicably jealous if kitty responds to a visitor’s affection
  • Dying alone with cats

3). Advice for the employer, since the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is heavily used as a resource in the workplace: the best way to handle your catrovert employees is to allow them to bring their cats to work.

4). Being a catrovert does NOT make someone a strict cat person; being a catrovert doesn’t preclude loving and/or appreciating dogs or other animals.

I could go on. I may even expand this topic into a book-length volume at some point. For now, I’ll just sign off with the observation that the only reason we don’t have a houseful of cats is that my being a Type B catrovert balances out Callaghan being a Type A catrovert.


*ETA: I just searched on a different engine, and I DID find references to catroversion elsewhere. Catroverts REPRESENT!

Fearless Nenette will save us all.

In this week’s kitty news, we found out that our sweet little Nenette is a badass in tiny-pretty-girl clothing.

I’ll tell you all about it, but first things first (speaking of clothing)!


Many thanks to our friend Eddie W. of Round Rock, TX for adorning Nenette's tailless butt with Eeyore's tail! She loves it, and so do we.

Many thanks to our friend Eddie W. of Round Rock, TX for adorning Nenette’s tailless butt with Eeyore’s tail! She loves it, and so do we.


After two weeks of gradual, steady confidence-building with us, Nenette suddenly turned a big corner last weekend. With her newfound trust came the understanding that this is HER home and we are HER parents and Nounours is HER brother, and with that came a fierce determination to protect us all.

Like a good soldier on guard duty, Nenette stations herself at her post (on the table under the living room window) every night, and she watches. Her vigilance is unflinching.


Nenette demonstrating her watching skills.

Nenette demonstrating her watching skills.


Except when sleep overtakes her.


Because guard duty is tiring.

Because guard duty is tiring.


But when she’s not asleep – and I believe she has a sixth sense that tells her when she can sleep – she’s unfailing in her self-imposed responsibilities.

It started like this:

On Sunday night, a random neighborhood tomcat strolled onto our front patio. When he approached the living room window, Nenette, who happened to be watching from the table on the inside, bunched herself up and launched herself at the window with a mighty ki-yah that would make any Tae Kwan Do master proud.

This was the first time we’d seen anything like this. We saw that Nenette’s “This is MY Home and These are MY Parents and This is MY Nounours and YOU BETTER STAY AWAY!!!” mode is formidable, truly a force to be reckoned with.

Yowling as she charged the tomcat, Nenette slammed into the window violently (yes, we were worried!) and scrapped at it with her velvety little declawed paws. We were dumbstruck, but we shouldn’t have been. Remember how we couldn’t believe the volume of her yowling in the car when we brought her home? The yowling that seemed incongruous coming from such a dainty, petite package wrapped in soft fur? Yeah, that was a good indicator.

“She’s just like her Mommy,” Callaghan declared, making me snort with laughter.

That’s how it went down. And that’s how it came to be that Nenette keeps vigil at the window every night.

When I told my friend Caroline about Nenette’s new role as Protector of Her Territory and Family, she commented, “She needs to relax. Totally becoming rambo kitty.”

Then she added, “She tricked us into thinking she was all sweet and mellow and now the gloves are off and she is rambo kitty!!!!”

On his part, Nounours, aka The Dude, is just as laid-back and oblivious as ever. But he was there to witness Nenette charging toward the face of the interloper outside, and since then, he’s been seeking out her company even more than before. Nounours understands that Nenette has accepted him as a part of her family, and he’s feeling the love! We are, too. It’s rather a privilege knowing that Nenette has claimed us as her family.

We are concerned, though… we don’t want her to hurt herself on that window. During the incident on Sunday night, we had to stage an intervention by dramatically opening the front door in order to scare away the tomcat. We had to. Nenette was going berserk.

Who knew this little girl could be so fearless and aggressive?

We thought we’d seen the extent of it, but on Tuesday night, Nenette took it to the next level, and we got to see a demonstration of her intelligence in the process.

I was sitting here in my office when she suddenly raced in, leaped up onto the futon under the window and bounced up onto the windowsill. She perched there with complete concentration, very alert and very still. I went to see what she was staring at so intensely.

It was that same tomcat. The second I spotted him, Nenette began to growl a low, menacing growl in the back of her throat. Once again, I went to the front door to hasten the departure of her foe.

The thing is, she knew that he was there, and she figured out that she’d be able to see him from the window in my office! That’s how smart she is. We knew the other cat hadn’t appeared at the living room window where Nenette had been keeping watch, because she’d have made a commotion, and we would have heard it. Somehow, with her feline super-powers, she’d been able to perceive the unwelcome cat lurking in the shadows near the house on the other side of the front door.

Needless to say, Nenette has gotten quite comfortable here in the last five days!

Here are a few more pics from the week:


Abyssianian/Manx-mix Nenette, sitting like a statue

Abyssianian/Manx-mix Nenette, sitting like a statue


"Don't go!!" ~Nenette

“Don’t go!!” ~Nenette

Nenette says, "Out, damned itch!"  (Complete with Shakespeare in the background)

“Out, damned itch!” (Complete with Shakespeare in the background)


Le Nounours (The teddy bear!)

Le Nounours (The teddy bear!)


Cleaning the hand, Nounours-style.

Cleaning the hand, Nounours-style.


Nounours snuggling with his Daddy in the morning.

Nounours snuggling with his Daddy in the morning.


And here’s one for size comparison:


Nounours and Nenette in the early morning haze.

Nounours and Nenette in the early morning haze.


Still no pics of the two of them snuggling together… yet. It will happen one day!

In which Nounours orders espresso and Nenette poses with her tailless butt.

Fur-children update! Some progress on home-front dynamics has been made since I posted about the arrival of Nenette a week and a half ago. Our new girl has already put on some weight, which is good. She’s still somewhat nervous, but she’s slowly gaining trust in us… it’s like, the more time that passes and she’s still here, the more she trusts that we’re not taking her back to the adoption center. She talks to us softly in her tiny conversational voice as we stroke and nuzzle her, and she purrs readily. It’s truly a pleasure to watch her personality blossom as her confidence grows.


"Why are you holding that phone in front of my face instead of petting me?" ~Nenette

“Why are you holding that phone in front of my face instead of petting me?” ~Nenette


Nounours remains calmer with the presence of another feline in the house, but his restored contentment glows like dappled sunlight in a pool of emotions, including impatience (because he wants to snuggle with Nenette, but she’s not quite there yet), and jealousy (just as he was always inclined to be jealous when we’d love on the Wrah-Wrah… it’s just a part of Nounours’ personality).

We can see that Nounours still misses his Wrah-Wrah, but he’s definitely more relaxed now. He even sits in his kitty chair again, something he hasn’t done in a very long time.


"Excusez-moi, faites moi un double espresso, s'il vous plaît!" (Nounours asking for a double espresso in his native French)

“Excusez-moi, faites moi un double espresso, s’il vous plaît!” (Nounours asking for a double espresso in his native French)


Above all, Nounours wants to get close to his new sister. He was gratified when he was able to join her at the living room window one morning (Thursday last week):


This was the first time we witnessed Nounours and Nenette being companionable, lounging together at the living room window after breakfast.

This was the first time we witnessed Nounours and Nenette being companionable, lounging together at the living room window after breakfast.


This was at around 6:30 in the morning. I was happy to be home to capture the moment!

Speaking of capturing moments, let me digress for a second to show you Nenette’s tailless butt, which I swear she deliberately put on display for me the other night when I said, “Nenette, let’s get a picture of your tailless butt!” She totally responded by posing like this:


Manx-mix Nenette and her little tailless butt.

Manx-mix Nenette and her little tailless butt.


This darling girl! I’m telling you.

Then there were a few other sweet moments, such as nose-touch greetings like this:


We haven't seen them snuggled up to each other yet, but we've graduated to moments like these.

We haven’t seen them snuggled up to each other yet, but we’ve graduated to moments like these.


And this:


Nenette initiates the nose-touch greeting (patented by cats). This was what she was doing right before she posed for her tailless butt picture.

Nenette initiates the nose-touch greeting (patented by cats). This was what she was doing right before she posed for her tailless butt picture.


I guess that counts as a tailless butt pic, too! Progress, little by little.

Nenette – Nounours’ 4th of July kitty

We suddenly have a little girl kitty. To put it more precisely, Nounours suddenly has a new little sister.

We knew we’d eventually have to adopt another cat for Nounours, but if the deciding criteria was going to be me being emotionally ready, I couldn’t see it happening, ever. Losing Ronnie James left an open wound with tattered edges in my heart, and the idea of putting something there seemed excruciating.

But on the other hand, it’s been upsetting to see Nounours so distraught. Nounours would seem okay one minute, then desolate the next. He’d start crying, and we’d rush into the bedroom to discover him rubbing his head on Ronnie James’ urn. Or, on the occasions I’d leave Ronnie James’ urn up on his favorite barstool in the bedroom, Nounours’ yowling-crying would summon us to find him standing on the bed, mournfully facing the urn as if it were an unreachable island barely visible across a vast sea. We’d set the urn back on the foot of the bed, and Nounours would snuggle up to it, quieting down immediately.

We didn’t know what to do. We didn’t know how to help Nounours. It got to a point where we started talking more seriously about adopting another sibling for him. I was starting to realize that my own reticence wasn’t fair to Nounours, who had never been an only cat. He was lonely and missing his Wrah-Wrah as much as I was.

Things happened quickly from there.

Saturday morning, the 4th of July, we had the conversation again as we headed to the gym, Callaghan and I. “I’d definitely want to get a girl,” I said, echoing sentiments I’d previously expressed. I thought that a girl kitty would feel less like a Ronnie James replacement; moreover, it wouldn’t be a good idea to bring a strange Tomcat into Nounours’ territory. Callaghan agreed.

So we knew we wanted a girl. We also knew that we wanted her to be a full-grown adult, but one who was younger than 10-year-old Nounours. Nounours has a generous maternal streak, and we thought that allowing him to indulge it would help him to feel less lonely. It seemed that a slightly younger kitty would be a good fit for lovable, cozy Nounours and his penchant for cuddling. “Five at the youngest,” I thought out loud. “Maybe five or six….” Callaghan thought this would be ideal, as well.

But again, we shelved the conversation without making a decision. We got to the gym and went to Body Combat.

Not two hours later, we found ourselves peering into a clear Plexiglas case at PetSmart, where we’d stopped to get more treats for Nounours. Inside the case was a little girl whose tag read that she was six years old. (But she was so small!) Her tag also told us that she’s an Abyssinian/Manx mix. The Abyssinian part explained her beautiful, dark-golden ticked coat. The Manx part explained her lack of a tail.

She looked so sweet and sad. As we held her gaze, her waves of loneliness cut through the Plexiglas to touch us. We learned that she’d belonged to family who’d “run into hard times.” They were being evicted, so they surrendered her to the shelter. She’d been at the shelter for over a month.

When we left PetSmart, my heart had been replaced with a ball of mixed emotions, which I promptly expressed on Facebook. Some of my friends – you know who you are! – were so encouraging and supportive and wonderful, commenting and texting me. The conundrum was that (in accordance with policy) the adoption folks wouldn’t hold her for us for even half a day, even if we paid the fee; if we wanted to adopt her, we had to make the decision and do it tout de suite. It would have to happen quickly, lest someone else swoop in and adopt her!

We went back.

We changed her name. It was funny how we arrived at it: I suggested “Nenette” – we both wanted a French name – and Callaghan replied with, “My Godmother’s name was Nenette!” I hadn’t known that. (Also, we found out later when talking to Maman, Callaghan’s Mom, that “Nenette” had been slang for “chick” in France back in the 60’s and 70’s.) We both loved the name, and it suited the little girl. Nounours et Nenette. We purchased a nametag and fed it to the engraving machine at the front of the store before leaving.


She already knows her new name.

She already knows her new name.


At home later that evening, we sat in the living room and watched as Nenette explored her new forever home.

Here’s one of the first pics I took of her:


Part-Abyssinian, part Manx, Nenette has no tail (a characteristic of the latter).

Part-Abyssinian, part Manx, Nenette has no tail (a characteristic of the latter).


Sometimes, the way she moves her head reminds me, comically, of a velociraptor à la Jurassic World, and I want to call her “Blue,” my favorite (kick-ass female) character in that movie. Other times, her shy expression reminds me of Princess Diana, and I want to call her “Lady Di.”


Nenette on the small round ottoman in the bedroom (7/6/2015)

Nenette on the small round ottoman in the bedroom (7/6/2015)


Her shy expressions remind me so much of Princess Diana!

Her shy expressions remind me so much of Princess Diana!


As I post this, Nenette has only been here for about 60 hours, so she’s still getting acclimated to her new home and to the three of us. Nounours started showing interest in her within 24 hours, but his tentative approaches drew soft hissing. Nenette will need some time to develop trust and confidence. We suspect that she’d been either neglected or otherwise mistreated in her past situation(s).


Nenette has the uniform, ticked coat of the Abyssinian, with velvety soft fur.

Nenette has the uniform, ticked coat of the Abyssinian, with velvety soft fur.


She’s as much an Abyssinian/Manx mix in her personality as she is in her appearance. She’s talkative, but her conversational voice is soft and extremely feminine, and I do mean girly-girl-level feminine, with her quiet mewing and trilling sounds. At the other end of the spectrum, we never heard a cat yowl as loudly as she did in the carrier coming home from the shelter! It was funny to think that such a sound could come from this tiny, adorable little being. This kitty has quite the vocal range. She loves the scratch pads we have all over the house, even though she’d been declawed (to our horror). We’ve also observed that she’s intelligent, inquisitive and playful… and she’s quite skittish. When people come over, she disappears beneath furniture whether the visitors ring the doorbell or not. But overall, she seems to be adapting quickly.


We thought this pink heart tag said "Nenette" even before we engraved it, so it was the obvious choice.

We thought this pink heart tag said “Nenette” even before we engraved it, so it was the obvious choice.


As of yesterday, she and Nounours have been on nose-touching terms. Those brief touches are a magical balm for Nounours, as he seems to be more at peace now than before we adopted Nenette. We’re looking forward to the day we find him nurturing her!

I wanted to capture an image of Nounours and Nenette together, but it’s too soon for such an opportunity. Last night, when I went into the bedroom to take a picture of Nounours by himself, I found him like this, as usual:


Nounours still missing his Wrah-Wrah dearly.

Nounours still missing his Wrah-Wrah dearly.


Wrah-Wrah will always be with us, and I like to think that Nenette understands that she has two big brothers to adore her. We love her, too. Nenette has been a blessing for us all. The only promise we can make to her is that she’ll be unconditionally loved for the rest of her life.