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Hi! It’s been a while since we had a proper FULL KITTEN UPDATE. So: Back by popular demand, please put your hands together for Bumble and Bother!

Their first day: 10/26/2015.

OMG so many, many cat pictures ahead!

The Origins of Heroes.

It’s hard to remember a time when they didn’t dominate my days. We got them almost exactly three years ago, very shortly after our wackadoodle tuxedo cat, Monster, died.

Like so many other heroic characters seem to, they stood at risk since their first day of life. Their mother had been a stray cat brought in by a kindly human to be spayed, with the intent to release her after she’d healed. But the mother cat had been hugely pregnant, so the vet talked the kindly human into letting her have the kittens. When the kittens got old enough, the vet promised to find them homes.

These two kittens were all that remained of the resulting litter. They’d taken so long to find homes because they had a mild stomach problem that was common to cats in shelters. They needed a dose of powdered medicine mixed into their food once a day. And that’d been all it took to keep other potential owners far away from them.

Those folks’ loss was my gain, completely and forever.

I still marvel at how this universe works sometimes. Our cat Monster hurtled toward an appointment with doom, and they struggled to find their forever home. And none of us humans had any idea that their strands would soon collide and twist forever.

The Twisting of Skeins.

When we brought Monster to the vet for what turned out to be her last day, we saw these two orange kittens in a tall, wide cage. They yowled and came to the edge of the cage for attention. The kitten who became Bumble literally climbed the bars nearly to the top to get to us. We fell in love instantly, but we knew that Monster would make their lives hell. We’d seen her do it before already, after all. We knew we couldn’t adopt kittens till she was considerably older and, hopefully, more mellow.

But Monster did not get older. What we’d believed was a “kitty cold” turned out to be very advanced and untreatable throat cancer. We stayed with her to the very end. Then, shocked and in tears, we left–clutching our empty cat carrier.

But we remembered the kittens. How could we forget them? Soon afterward, I called to ask if they were still available. We now had room and time for kittens, after all, and no cats in the household who’d mind their presence overmuch.

Mr. Captain left with the cat carrier to fetch them. And soon we had two meowing, rambunctious signs of LIFE in a home darkened by death.

Bumble’s in back. This was a spare bathroom but we keep it much tidier now.

Daily Routine.

Like other cats, Bumble and Bother spend damned near 16-20 hours of their day sleeping. If I go down for a nap or to sleep, I wake up with one or both of them on the bed, ranging all up and down the length of it.

When they were kittens, the commentariat quickly worked out why 90% of their pictures got taken while they were sleeping.

Day 4. Bother, unenthralled by the I Hate to Cook Book. Unfortunately, she doesn’t do this anymore.

Now that they’re cats, not much has changed.

From a few days ago. They both sleep on their backs about half the time. Bother awake, Bumble with his totally barren fields.

When I pile into the bathroom for a shower, Bumble considers it his solemn responsibility to guard me against all dangers foreign and domestic. If I go into the bathroom for any other reason, Bother must be present; otherwise, she thinks the shower is high on the list of Things That Might Eat Bothersome Kitties. For a while they both exhibited quite a lot of fascination with the bathroom tap. They don’t seem to care as much anymore.

I’m not sure which cat is which here. I want to say Bumble’s in front and Bother’s behind. Don’t hold me to that. They were very difficult to tell apart as kittens.

I should mention that Bumble insists on following Mr. Captain into the bathroom, but he’s not as enthused by it as I am with Bother. Turns out Bumble’s not there to supervise or be friendly. He’s there to swat at a “toy” that is not normally accessible to him. Living with Bumble has certainly been a never-ending learning experience. For example, I haven’t ever heard my husband make those noises before while in the bathroom.

That said, almost immediately after arriving at our home, Bother discovered new and innovative ways to worry us to death.

Bother thought this was a gas and a half. She was fine, btw. We panicked about how to get her out of there, but she just slipped out the same way she’d come and wondered what we sounded so worried about.

Bumble restricted himself to getting inside boxes, but all the same he quickly revealed his flexibility and his cleverness in the doing.

And more startlingly:

We can’t stop him. We can only hope to contain him.

Though we can say this of Bumble to a greater extent, both cats have an astonishing range of activities that we absolutely do not want to see them doing.

And then when we’re at our most exasperated they make sure to do this, and all is mended:

Not shown: the constant little stream of chirps and murmurs he was making in his sleep.


Before we even knew their names, I jokingly told Mr. Captain that Bother would be known forever as Princess Pretty Toes. She is a delicate, sweet cat with what horse people call “a gentle mouth.”


Her default expression is wonderment.

I swear I think she knows that her toes are pretty.

Her favorite toy in the world is one of the plethora of tiny little furry mousie toys scattered around the house. She will literally run and fetch them if I throw them for her, though as a cat she doesn’t have the stamina to keep that up all day like my folks’ Basset Hound could.

Bother and her little friend, and by friend we mean meal.

But she’ll get down and dirty with string too.

Like Bumble was going to let her have all the fun.

As we’re waking up, Bother takes the opportunity to sit on our chests and get under the covers. But she’s got class. She only gets under the covers if we make a “tent” first by bending the knee.

You can’t tell so much, but she’s on my chest here AND NOT VERY SURE ABOUT ANY OF THIS.

Since she’s not a lap cat, we must take these bursts of affection wherever we can.

Bumble: Master of the Household.

It became clear almost immediately that Bumble is an alpha cat if ever there was one.

He immediately grew too much to do this ever again.

Neither Mr. Captain nor I had ever had one before, so it’s been a steady adjustment–amped up whenever he comes into a little more of what appears to be a bottomless well of self-confidence.

Day 2.

We knew he’d be big–those bat ears and his bear paws told us that. Seriously, his feet as a kitten:

My hands are quite small, but hopefully you get the idea.

We just did not expect ruthless cunning and intelligence to go with the overall package. When we pick Bumble up, he slips an arm around our necks and looks around himself. He’s not enjoying the ride. He’s gathering intel.


I’ve never seen a cat that operates at red-hot maximum overdrive like this one.

Roughly, Thanksgiving 2015.

And we’d hoped he’d chill out a little in his third year, but if anything, he’s only added a hefty dash of kitty cynicism to the mix.

Ear game level: ON POINT.

I’ve never seen such a communicative cat. He sighs in frustration when his plans are thwarted and chirps when he spots something curious; he makes these strikingly-sharp cries when he wants attention. Most endearingly, he murmurs constantly in his sleep. And he does it regardless of whether humans are around him.

He’s not supposed to be on my chair. He’s permanently warped the cushioned top of it.

He and Bother both love bird videos, but the look on his face while he watches makes me nervous.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

I hope y’all know how close we got to annihilation here. We are still only two opposable thumbs away from this cat taking over the world. but would that be so bad?

Benevolent dictators.

Behold! The Most Important Kitty in the World.

Well, yes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this jaunt through the land of Bumble and Bother as much as I have!

Goodbye, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night, I hate to go and leave this pretty sight…

Today, Lord Snow Presides over the ties that bind us.

NEXT UP: We had to stop the presses on this one. Cuz y’all know I was suspish of Pope Francis from the get-go. Finally, the whole world sees what I saw years ago. And if Pope Francis is counting on his status as Darth Cuddlebug to save him from censure and disapproval, well, that’s now two things he believes that aren’t true at all.

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Lord Snow Presides is our off-topic weekly chat series. I’ve started us off on a topic, but feel free to chime in with anything on your mind. Pet pictures especially welcome! The series was named for Lord Snow, my recently departed white cat. He knew a lot more than he ever let on.

All Hail Lord Snow!

FULL KITTEN UPDATES are posts that are basically only about Bumble and Bother, my two marmalade tabby cats.

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ROLL TO DISBELIEVE "Captain Cassidy" is Cassidy McGillicuddy, a Gen Xer and ex-Pentecostal. (The title is metaphorical.) She writes about the intersection of psychology, belief, popular culture, science,...