Odin: Adoption and First Month

One month ago, on November 7th, Chrystie and I went to the Humane Society (HSSV) in Milpitas to adopt a cat. We both had wanted a cat for some time, but I had always found reasons to put off getting one. This was mostly due to my fear of the cat eating the cords to my electronics and damaging them or electrocuting itself. Chrystie and I had searched the HSSV website and found a little kitty named Odin that we instantly fell in love with and I put my silly fears aside to go to the HSSV and visit the little guy.

When we arrived we were told that Odin hadn’t been “fixed” yet, so he was still in the back and we’d have to wait for someone with higher privileges to become available so we could go see him. We were shown the kitten room while we waited, where about 15 kittens played in a room with chairs for potential adopters to sit and find the one. I doubt many people leave that room without falling in love with at least one of the kittens, they’re all so cute and playful. While there were a few I liked in the kitten room, I reserved myself to wait to see Odin before even thinking of taking one of them home.

While walking down some rows of cages with older cats in them and feeling sad for them, a woman who could show us Odin came by and we were off to see Odin. We were led down a few halls, through the staff break room and down another corridor before finding the room Odin and some other kittens were caged. The woman opened his cage and handed him to Chrystie who knew he was the one immediately. Then Odin was handed to me and he buried his head in my arms and I was sold, Odin was the one.

Sadly, he had to get fixed before we could take him home, so they told us we’d have to wait one to four days for their vets to see him. We finished up the paperwork, and got informed of his conditions, which I felt was an odd time to tell people – “That’s great! You’ve fallen in love with the guy. Now let me tell you his health problems you get to deal with”. Fortunately, Odin didn’t have any major problems, just giardia and ear mites, which both seem to have cleared up now. After the paperwork was done, they told me the adoption fee was $10 – a special rate for November, the regular price was $175. I felt great knowing I was not only getting an awesome kitten, but getting him at 95% off, so I gladly paid the $10. We were then directed to the HSSV shop where we picked up some toys and got a free engraved collar for Odin – we decided his name was already awesome and kept it.

The next afternoon I got the call that Odin was out of surgery and headed over after work to pick him up. He was more awake and alert that I expected for someone who had just been neutered. He was quite curious as well, looking all around out of the carrier to see what was going on as we talked with the vet. Chrystie took him home while I went to my softball game.

When I got home I expected him to be hiding under Chrystie’s bed, but he was out exploring the house. Chrystie had shown him his litter box, but he hadn’t used it yet and I saw him looking as though he were searching for a place in my living room to do his business. I tried to grab him, but it was too late, he had started and I had to let him finish his business. With a grimace I cleaned it up and doused the carpet with Oxyclean and no harm was done. Soon after, I decided to have him play in his litter box in hopes he would figure out that poop goes in there. I threw one of his mouse toys in and he went after it and played with it a bit, then lied down in the litter. The entire time I was repeating “poop goes in here” in hopes I wouldn’t have to clean up any more accidents. To my relief, he soon figured it out, and I gave him applause when he exited the box. Potty-training complete.

The Litter Box we got him is quite nice, rather than sift through the sand for the goodies, you simply roll the box on its side, which sifts the sand for you and places the goodies in a tray you easily remove and put in the garbage. It also gives him some privacy and does well do keep the initial smells in before the litter has a chance to control them.

The vet gave us some pain medication we had to squirt in his mouth every 8 hours for a few days, and it was quite the challenge to get him to take it. Even when we did get it in his mouth, he would just drool it out and make a mess.

While first playing with Odin we noticed he is quite the klutz (just like his parents), banging his head on side of Chrystie’s bed every time he would dive under. It was curious watching him learn to eat and drink from his dish, he knocked more dry cat food bits off his dish than he got in his mouth, and put his paws right in his water while trying to drink. He got the hang of it out soon enough though.

Rather than let Odin have his run of the place from the get-go, we set him up in Chrystie’s room and kept the door closed when we were away or sleeping so he wouldn’t get into trouble. We’ve given him quite a few toys to keep him entertained since we only let him out 8 hours or so on weekdays, and he seems to do alright.

At first, Odin didn’t use his claws while playing, but learned to use them and sharpen them causing some nasty scratches on Chrystie, myself and others. I also didn’t like that he used them to fly around my furniture like something out of the Matrix. It got to the point where we decided to cap his claws with Soft Claws. Capping is simply gluing soft plastic caps on his claws, he can still protract them and use them for stability and grasping things, they’re just much softer. We decided to only cap his front claws as those were the ones doing most of the damage. Odin was great and didn’t struggle much as we put them on (it’s definitely a 2-person job though), and while the box said that many cats don’t like them initially and will attempt to gnaw them off, Odin was quick to adapt. I am so glad we did this, it makes me want to play with him a lot more now. He loves to nuzzle my neck, which is cute and great, but hurt like heck when he would knead my neck with his claws out, but with the soft claws it feels like a soft little teddy bear massaging my neck. The caps are supposed to last 4-6 weeks, so unfortunately it’s not a one-time deal, but it takes no time at all to apply the caps, and it’s a perfect compromise between suffering with scratches and de-clawing.

Odin has some interesting quirks. For one, he likes to play fetch when he’s in the right mood. If you throw one of his mice, he’ll go get it, play with it a little, then pick it up with his teeth, bring it back and drop it for us to throw again. Also, he seems to be completely fascinated with my Roomba – he’s not scared when I turn it on, he just follows it around the entire time its running, not attacking, just following and moving if it comes towards him. My goal is to one day get him to ride on the Roomba. He likes watching me play games on my laptop – on several occasions he hopped up on my shoulder and just watched me play. He has walked out on my arm to get a closer look (providing an extra challenge while playing), and climbed onto my head, with his front paws on the brim of my hat to watch. He doesn’t hop on the keyboard or chase after the mouse on the screen, just watches quietly.

So far it has been great having Odin, he’s fun to play with, and nice to relax with. He is pretty good at not going where he’s not supposed to and not chewing on cords, which was my biggest fear. Not to mention he is adorable and very photogenic.



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