My Cats

I have two cats who are sisters from the same litter, born in November 2015 at the property of a friend of mine in Queensland. Their mother had abandoned them at about 7 weeks (because, as we found out later, she’d managed to go into heat and get pregnant again — my friends did manage to get her spayed after that litter). Their father was almost certainly a local Siamese cat, based on their head shape, colouring and body size. They are both very large cats, almost twice the size of their mother, and have the typical triangular head shape and long noses of the Siamese rather than their mother’s and half-siblings’ rounder features.

Their names are from Tolkien’s Quenya language: Vanima means “beautiful” and Verya means “bold”. It took me a long, long time to be able to tell them apart, and even now I can get it wrong if I don’t look carefully (it’s actually easier in the dark because Vanima has softer fur than Verya). They used to wear collars but Vanima escapes them frequently and also tries to garotte Verya so now they only wear them to the vet. They are both microchipped (it’s the law here) and are confined to the apartment (because we’re four storeys up) so collars aren’t a necessity.

Vanima January 2016, age eleven weeks
Vanima 2016-01-20
Vanima April 2016, age five and a half months
Vanima 2016-04-26
Vanima July 2017, age two and a half
Vanima 2017-07-26
Vanima September 2018, looking cute and adorable
Vanima 2018-09-24

Vanima is roughly 24″ nose to rump, with a 9″ tail (approximate figures only, because it’s well-nigh impossible to measure a non-anaesthetised cat, and Imperial because the lines and numbers are larger and easier to see when the subject is squirming). Her eyes are very slanted and a bright brilliant green, her muzzle is white, and she has a large white patch on her chest.

She’s the more aggressive of the pair — she has quite a temper and lies in wait for passing ankles. She’s very vocal, too — she doesn’t actually meow but rather she trills like a Siamese. She seems to think I can’t do anything without feline supervision so wherever I am, there she is. She doesn’t cuddle much and she’s not keen on full-body stroking, but she likes about ten minutes of fairly intense head bunting every couple of days, and she’ll happily sit on my legs when I’m on the recliner. Her true purr is inaudible, but when she wants me to know she’s happy, she’ll make a snorting noise that’s a reasonable facsimile (it also gets her nose very wet so she doesn’t do it for long). Her favourite toys are those that travel along the ground and make a noise (she loves sleigh bells and my tape measures with metal ends). She tries to be an escape artist but I won’t let her out on her own — I’d be happy to take her out in a harness, but as soon as it goes on she turns into a doorstop, and so far treats have not worked to help get her used to it.

Verya January 2016, age eleven weeks
Verya 2016-01-20
Verya April 2016, age five months
Verya 2016-04-03
Verya June 2017, age eighteen months
Verya 2017-06-26
Verya November 2017, age two years
Verya 2017-11-17

Verya is roughly 25″ nose to rump, with a 10″ tail. Her eyes aren’t as slanted as her sister’s and they’re a weird combination of green and brown — they can appear to be either colour depending on the light, but are usually a light olive / khaki brown in photos. Her muzzle is brown and she has a very small white patch on her chest. It was interesting to watch her muzzle and paws get darker as she aged — another Siamese characteristic.

She’s definitely the more laid-back of the two (except during thunderstorms) and as long as she gets food and a warm place to sleep she’s happy. She likes her morning and evening cuddles after meals, and prefers to sit on my chest when she can (which was cute when she was a kitten but now that she’s all grown up and weighs 10 kg it can get rather uncomfortable for me). (2020 note: down to 8.7 kg — the diet is working!) She loves being groomed as long as I’m not too vigorous with the wire brush, and she purrs very loudly. Her favourite toys are those that move through the air very fast (feathers and that hard plastic wrapping tape that stays curled). She’s not interested in leaving the flat at all but she likes to go out on the balcony in the mornings when it’s sunny and the evenings if it’s hot.

Vanima and Verya on the rail fence quilt, December 2017, age two
Vanima & Verya 21 Dec 2017

They don’t sit together much at all even when there’s room for them, so when I found them both on the cutting table in late 2017 I had to hurry and take a picture. Verya is on the left and Vanima on the right. You may recognise the quilt as the 1998 Rail Fence I described in January 2019.