Ivy, abridged

I’ve mentioned my kitty cat Ivy a few times, but I thought that since she just had her second birthday on Sunday I’d share a bit more. :)

This was from the night I brought her home. I was in Alfred for summer classes, preparing to move into a new apartment, and I really wanted a kitten. Two of our three cats are more “mine” than Mom’s, but they’re all indoor/outdoor and I didn’t feel comfortable having an outdoor cat right next to a busy street. Not to mention that if either of them weren’t allowed out, they’d go nuts.

I started checking out local shelter websites, and when I saw her I just knew that she was supposed to be with me. I was more interested in finding a cat with a good personality, but I’d always wanted a black cat with a white spot on its chest (like the Cait Sidhe of Irish and Scottish folklore). One shelter had a new litter of kittens that had been born after their mum was taken in by a foster family, and two looked just like that! They were called the “Cheese kittens” because their mum had them right after the foster parents went on vacation, and they thought that was cheesey. They were all named after types of cheese. Pretty ridiculous. So Ricotta had just a few white hairs on her chest, but was described as being the most inclined to cuddle.

The first day was absolutely horrible. I drove an hour to pick her up. She hid from the foster mom and when she picked her up and started cuddling her, she just shot me this look like, “The only reason I am putting up with this is because I am too small to exact vengeance.” So I was worried. She scooted into the pet carrier I’d brought, and remained completely silent all the way home. Not a mew, not a single sound. I was traumatized. Our other cats despise the car, and I thought there was something seriously wrong with her that it wasn’t even eliciting a reaction.

When we got back to my apartment she wouldn’t come out. She hissed at me. I sat for hours talking to her, trying to coax her out; eventually she stuck her head out and ate a little, napped fitfully, and came out  little further each time. By two in the morning I was demoralized and tired and went to bed. After about ten minutes of dark and silence she started racing around the apartment, meowing frantically. Eventually I got her to sleep next to me, and from that point on we were okay. Over time her preferred sleeping location has changed– it started out on the pillow above my head, then down by my feet, back up next to my face, and now we’re back to feet.

I couldn’t stand to call her Ricotta, but I couldn’t think of a name that fit her. She went nameless for a week. She did have a tendency to climb things, so it was Jarod’s idea to combine that with my adoration of plants and call her Ivy. (I was close– I tried Evie and was perplexed at how close it felt.)

We’ve had some adventures. The second week I had her, I started my Papermaking class and was working on some ink drawings. She climbed onto my lap to watch me work, and then hooked her paw around the open ink bottle and pulled it right onto both of us. It went right in her face, and then all over my bathrobe. She ran through the apartment, leaving a trail of black pawprints behind her as well as spatter marks wherever she stopped to sneeze. That was our first call to Animal Poison Control, and the second of that day’s three showers. I’d just had one, took a second, and then needed a third after class when I slipped in a puddle of paper pulp and ended up with flax plastered to my entire left side.

In the first year I had her, she sat/slept on my lap a grand total of three times. This does not constitute cuddly.

She has turned out to be fantastic with car rides. She never gets anxious or upset. Whenever we get back her carrier becomes her favorite napping spot for about a week, rather than the enemy.

Every day when I came back from class she’d emerge blinking from under the armchair, and we’d play like maniacs. She also loves helping to make the bed– billowy sheets = fun times!

It’s easier to make out in person and in the sun (most of my photos of her are of a black blur unless she’s sleeping), but she has a marbled, bulls-eye tabby pattern in her fur. My other cat Loki has similar patterning, but it’s easier to make out because she’s brown.

She also has a white bikini bottom. It’s too cute.   PS. Yes, she very much enjoys Ultimate Spider-Man!

When she was a kitten, she slept like this all the time.

All the time!

We visited Jarod and his family a few weeks after I got her, after summer classes ended and before going home for a month. His mom gave her this lovely gingerbread man. She goes through phases with her toys, ranging from total obsession to total disinterest. Gingey had a good run and was mauled regularly.



Ivy responded really well to our three cats, though I can’t say it was as true in reverse. Beryl is the oldest and was first, and she has never forgiven us for adopting Palin. Or Loki. Or, now, Ivy. The rage is deep-seated and volatile. Ivy doesn’t give a damn, and chases her around the house for hours. Secretly, Beryl enjoys it.

Back in Alfred. I put a birdfeeder on our fire escape, which attracted birds, red squirrels, and several cats. Ivy was hellbent on making friends right through the glass.


Hours of entertainment, man. She did really scare me once with that adjustable sliding screen. I drove to Rochester for the day; when I got home that night it was raining. Ivy greeted me at the door, cheerful and soaking wet, and the screen was lying on the kitchen floor. O_o

She really loves windows. She’s absolutely an indoors cat, so it’s the closest she gets to the outside world. Sometimes, especially now that we’re living at home and the road is far away and the weather’s nice, I feel bad about it. She has a harness and retractable leash, so on nice days we go for outings. A few weeks ago I swapped out the harness for the collar, since she hates the harness and just flops down on the ground a lot when she’s in it. Within minutes she’d slipped the collar and was exploring under the deck. After an hour of pleading and threatening I got the hose and flushed her out.

The perks of a third floor single… Sometimes when I opened the door she’d bolt out and explore the hallway. She never got far, there was a door on the second floor landing that was usually shut. She loves being up high. Her favorite spot in the house now is on top of the (stacked) washer and dryer. I’m afraid to introduce her to trees.

Even though she’s not a lap cat, she has an amazing personality. She is so courageous, so independent…. and so awe-inspiringly clumsy. She looks as graceful as a dancer, but underneath that elegant facade there lurks a small, furry elephant with questionable depth perception.

Sometimes I just don’t know what she wants. She is very attached to me, but like I said quite independent. If I leave the house and she sees me go, she’s inconsolable. If I’m working outside, she’ll climb the screen door in an effort to get to me. But she hates being picked up most of the time, and will only sit on my lap occasionally. Mostly she likes to lay on the desk while I’m at the computer, and I have to hold up her front half with one hand. She drapes her paws neatly over my fingers and stays like that til my arm falls asleep.

She has always loved bugs. Spots on the wall, whether they’re flies or nail holes, fascinate her, and she’ll stare fixedly at them and concoct ways of getting up there to explore. Mostly this involves making cute noises til I lift her up to investigate. When she was really little I’d carry her around above my head, following the flies so that she could bat at them; now she’s too heavy to keep it up for long, but we try anyway.

She’s gotten harder to play with. When she was a kitten, she’d chase string and run after thrown toys until she was exhausted, but now she prefers the “lurk for five minutes while the toy is moved veeeery slowly, then pounce!! Then hide and repeat” model. She’ll occasionally play with toys alone, but she loves being chased, whether it’s by me or by Beryl (or Loki, who’s slowly warming to her). She’ll do her best to get me up in the middle of the night to play. First she brings all her toys and lays them next to the bed (or, as I discovered last week, a pair of rolled up socks if toys can’t be located), then she beelines to a nearby shelf and starts pushing things off til I get mad and get up. I have moved all the fragile things to lower shelves.

And that is the story of Ivy!


7 thoughts on “Ivy, abridged

  1. I’m glad to see Ivy is doing well, I must confess I just looked at the pictures, but that alone was enough to make this a pretty awesome post.

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