Bengal cats and kittens
So lately our little blind kitten, Uno, has been darting for the outside door everytime he hears someone getting ready to leave or come in - which is often around here! This place is like Grand Central Station with people coming and going non-stop. We've all learned to be very quick and watch our feet to make sure he's not sneaking past us. He literally has NO fear.
I never have collars or tags on any of our cats for fear of them getting caught up in something when I'm not home - they ARE bengals, after all, and trouble gets in their path when least expected. All of our cats are microchipped so that they can be identified if turned in to a vet clinic or rescue facility. In Uno's case, however, I have decided to go that extra step and purchase a reflective collar and I.D. tag in the event he slips past us, unnoticed.
Understandably, Uno is not loving the collar - and thinks of it more as a toy to be pulled off his neck and tossed around, than a piece of jewelry. In any event, he will get used to it, and who knows, maybe one day it will be a lifesaver if he happens to get out and go missing. He is a VERY friendly guy and will run up to anyone who is speaking or making a noise - just to investigate. The collar will just add some extra assurance that if the right person finds him, they will be able to easily return him to us or give us a call to come pick him up.
I thought it would be helpful to add a note on his tag saying "I'm blind" so that who ever finds him, understands his behaviour. We are so used to how he responds to strange noises - he crouches low and stays close to the ground until he feels sure that the noise is coming from something or someone he recognizes. Once he feels sure he's safe, he begins to bound toward whatever he hears or smells to investigate. Once you reach out to touch him, however, he sort of jumps - because he isn't able to see you coming at him until you speak while you're getting close. We've learned to speak to him nearly all the time when we are moving around him or wanting to pick him up, etc. It's the only way he can tell that we are coming closer, or leaving the area. If we leave a room where we've been with him, without speaking as we leave, or making noise with our feet hitting the ground, he will begin to cry, looking for us when he realizes we left without telling him!
Uno is such a smart boy, and he's enriching our lives in ways we never could have imagined. We are such a fortunate family to have him!
Breeding bengals and raising kittens leaves very little spare time. Add to that a family with two busy, growing teens, and an organic blueberry farm in full swing from July through part of September, and you can imagine that the only time I have to sit down around here is when I am at the computer, answering emails, or like right now, taking a moment to write a quick post while I keep an eye on the stove as dinner is cooking.
Yes, life is busy, but I'm certainly not complaining. In fact, I've never been happier in all my life. I recently left my 20+ year career as a corporate paralegal in order to focus completely on the kids and the bengals, so here I am - up to my eyeballs in kids and cats - and blueberries for the time being. As stated in a spot-on meme that I found the other day, "Self-employment simply means having the freedom to pick which 18 hours of the day you'd like to work."
There are pros and cons. Being self-employed is one of the most enjoyable ways to exist and pay the bills - "Do what you love, and love what you do" - however it can also be very difficult to know when to clock out for the day or take a break. Since I am working for myself now, doing what I am very passionate about, I never really feel the need to clock out or take a break. Sometimes I find myself burning the candle at both ends - up early to feed the cats and clean before seeing the kids and husband off for the day - and up late into the night answering "just one last email", or "taking a minute" to quickly update the website with new photos from the photo shoot I was able to sneak in that day.
The life of a breeder is definitely not a Monday through Friday sort of job. There are no such things as 'weekends' and there are no holidays without extreme planning and organization. It's a 7 days a week, 24 hours a day sort of thing. None of those hours are set in stone either.
Sure, I sometimes feel burnt out, but then I stoop to pick up one of our adorable kittens and all of the tiredness floats away. This is what it's all about. Those little "mews", the pitter-patter of little feet chasing toys around on the floor, and the endless hours of entertainment they provide. You can hardly call it "work" - but when you realize that each kitten has attached to it an adoptive family, with millions of questions and concerns regarding their kitten, emails to answer, contracts to draft, hours of cleaning, feeding, socialization and training... it becomes obvious that this is, in fact, technically a job. But it's more fulfilling than anything I've ever done before. It's what I love, it's what I live for... I can't imagine my life without being surrounded by these beautiful creatures. My husband loves them as much as I do, and the kids have never known a life not being surrounded by animals. They often comment how strange it seems at some of their friends' houses where there are no pets. They say it seems so lonely and quiet... and CLEAN!!! Hahaha.... I love my kids. They are as crazy as I am - you can't live in this house without being a little crazy.
Carmen Klassen, Owner of Jewelspride Bengals