I was volunteering for a rescue centre when I first met Tristan. He was crammed in a temporary cage with his four siblings at the back of the dog kennels. The cattery had been condemned & knocked down and a new state of the art one was being built. But in the meantime, no new cats could be taken in and the ones we already had were stuck sharing a building with the dogs.
Tristan and his siblings had been born on the streets and at some point after their birth, their mother had been hit by a car. She was rescued and then someone found her kittens and rescued them too. Unfortunately, kittens and mother were never reunited since her leg had to be amputated. So, at two weeks old, Tristan lost his mother and was put in a tiny cubicle.
One look at him and I just knew he was a Tristan. He and his siblings were crazy hyperactive and they didn’t look like normal moggies. Unfortunately, most of the staff at this rescue centre were dog people and had little knowledge about cats, so no one knew what to do.
At the time, I was also looking in on another litter of kittens. One was smoky black and I called him Midnight. I was torn between Tristan & Midnight. I knew I wanted another cat, maybe two more, since Isabel was home alone and missing out on a cat family.
Tristan was the smallest of his litter and getting bullied by the others. They were all male except one and she was the worst bully of all. I hated seeing them going at each other in that tiny cubicle and no one playing with them or spending time with them.
Midnight got adopted by someone else the next day. So, Tristan was ours.
My husband came to pick me up from work and I had Tristan with me in a carrier. Hubby said “oh how cute” and now we can laugh about that moment. Tristan was just under six weeks old. Yes, he was tiny, cute, slightly fluffy like a kitten BUT… We had no idea what TERROR we were in for!
We set up the guest bedroom for Tristan so he and Isabel (who by this time was 2 years old) would stay separated the first couple months. I had already kitten-proofed the bedroom: only the bed was still there along with his cat tower, toys, and handmade cat house. Oh and the curtains. But they didn’t survive the first week of Tristan.
We placed his carrier on the floor and soon little Tristan tentatively peered out from inside the box.
Within minutes he was exploring his room, running around, scaling his tower and climbing all over me! I innocently assumed Tristan was just expending all his pent up energy from being in a shelter cubicle and that he would soon collapse and have kitten naps. How wrong I was.
Tristan did not sleep. At all. He was so hyperactive, insanely playful, and somewhat aggressive. After 48 hours at his new home, he still had not slept a wink which meant I had not slept a wink. Even when he ate, he was a psycho. He would hear me open the pouch of kitten food and open his mouth WIDE like a baby bird and SCREAM feed me MEOW!!!
By the 49th hour, I decided to phone the vet. Surely, something was wrong with this kitten? This could not be normal. I was so exhausted I couldn’t think straight.
The main thing I remember from this first visit with little Tristan at the vet was the sound of laughter. The nurse laughing and the vet laughing at the precocious, cute, tiny kitten that was causing all this mayhem. Then the vet explained: this kitten is half-Bengal and half domestic. The smart, crazy, energetic Bengal side was definitely in control of my Tristan.
The laughter continued all the way into the waiting room. They could not believe that this little kitten had kept me up for two days straight: wasn’t sick or requiring bottle feeding so why not just sleep in another room they asked? Why? Because if I left the room Tristan would scream bloody murder and NOT STOP meow-screaming. So, no, I could not leave him alone. More laughter. Oh dear, the nurse said, so I guess we’ll nickname him Tristan the Terror!
Yep….Tristan the Terror.
This nickname holds meaning to this day. Tristan is now six years old. Although he is not as hyperactive as he was as a kitten, he sleeps the least of my four cats.
Tristan is the most intelligent cat I’ve ever had. He can open any sort of door in our house. He knows just how to alter the pitch of his meow to let me know what he wants. He (and Fernando will copy him!) often sits at the dining room table with us when we eat or sits there when he’s hungry.
He is extremely talented in the art of destruction. Sofas, curtains, window blinds, stair banisters, etc are no match for my Tristan! Luckily, he now has a big garden to spend time in and explore!
And…Tristan is a tiny bit of a sexual deviant. (Yes, he is spayed just like my other three cats). He has a favourite stuffed animal toy that he humps every so often and has a bit of a love obsession for Bridget! Honestly, I’ve never met a cat like him. It’s a good thing I mainly work from home. I dread to think what apocalyptic actions Tristan could undertake if left alone to his own devices too long!
But…Tristan is also affectionate, inquisitive, brave and loyal. We love him and that love is returned. If hubby is working in the garage, Tristan will be the cat who sits there and watches carefully. If he suddenly realises he’s on his own, he’ll seek one of the other cats or us out and sit close by…he hates to be alone. But, oh my, that love exhibits itself in serious bouts of jealousy at times. Tristan will literally push one of the other cats out of his way to get our undivided attention or lap time. He’s a dapper fellow and he knows it!
Tristan never ceases to amaze me. Yes, he is hard work to this day. Definitely not a low maintenance cat but I wouldn’t change a thing. No matter how much he deprives us of sleep or drives us crazy, we’ll love him forever…we just might need a drink or two every so often.