Today our rescue kitties Charlie and George, only survivors of a litter of six, are exactly seven months old. We’ve had them a little over four months. Despite being obviously brothers, they are developing very differently.

George is much more shy than his brother; his build is much heftier—wider, thicker, longer, more dense—and I’d guess he’s at least 20% taller and heavier than Charlie. Charlie, though, doesn’t seem to care; I’m not sure he’s even noticed. Despite his brain injury, and subsequent near-death and some visual impairment, he’s fearless. He’s the explorer, always the first to investigate something—the fire, the pot of boiling water, the dishwasher—the first to greet strangers and plonk himself on their lap. Loud noises don’t seem to faze him. When the vacuum cleaner comes out, he’ll follow it round trying to figure out if it’s edible. (George, on the other hand, hides under the bed.) When they sleep together, it’s Charlie who assumes the protective position; it’s Charlie who makes George lie still while he cleans his ears throughly (and chews on them for good measure). He is much finer-boned than George, smaller in every dimension. I can guarantee that he will be the first to escape outside and give us a heart attack.

But, oh how they have both grown! Here is Charlie when we first got him. And Charlie about three weeks ago. That’s exactly the same kitty condo platform in both photos.

Two photos of the same tabby kitten sitting on the same piece of furniture. On the left, he is tiny and fluffy; on the right, he is big and burly.

Charlie as a kitty lordling-in-training, and as a full-fledge condo lord.

And here are Charlie and George a couple of weeks ago:

Two tabby kittens on a kitty condo. The one on the left is posing as a sort of split-level library lion

George posing as a sort of split-level library lion because he’s getting too big for a single platform

About one minute after I took this photo from my side of the breakfast table, I got Kelley to sneak around the table, make a noise, and take a picture of them head-on. You might recognise that one. You’ll see that despite the difference in size, Charlie still gets the top spot, every time. Charlie also tends to push George off whatever lap he’s enjoying.

Here’s George yesterday. As you can see, he’s getting to be a serious armful.

Tabby cat sitting on the lap of a woman wearing a pale sweater. The cat looks big.

An armful of lapcat

Apparently, domestic short-hairs don’t even begin to approach their full size til they’re 9-12 months old, and then they grow slightly for the next six months, reaching their full growth at 18 months. So George, at exactly 7 months, is going to be big. Despite that, he’s still pushed around by Charlie but seems to take the domineering phlegmatically. He’s developing a certain savoir-faire, becoming a cat-about town:

tabby kitten in careless, lounging pose

Imagine top hat, silk scarf, and monocle

Charlie also likes playing library lion, though he prefers the leather sofa, particularly when I’ve just got up and he gets the claim the warm spot on the old, soft leather:

Tabby kitty on brown leather sofa, facing right in library lion pose

Leather library lion

Sadly, he also likes ripping up that leather:

Brown leather with a furrowed ridge clawed across it

Charlie wuz here

As well as his cat-about-town persona, George is embracing his pink and frilly side. He loves this cat bed that Kelley’s mum’s female cat, Joey, rejected:

Burly butch tabby sprawling on pink frilly cat bed

George embraces his pink and frilly side

Charlie still prefers my wheelchair as a bed, but, even better, likes to be right there, in my face, making a point—with eyes, ears, and whiskers—that I need to stop whatever I’m doing, RIGHT NOW, and make a lap:

Young tabby cat with very tall pointy ears

These ears were built for pointing, and that’s just what they’ll do…

He’s also beginning to develop a dangerous fondness for the laundry basket, particularly when it’s full of clean and just-folded clothes.

They are still developing skills. For the first time I saw George do the full and focused cat-scratch thing, and now both cats are getting agile enough that they can hang upside down from the sofa arm held only by their claws hooked into the fabric (sigh) and still leap convulsively to catch the soaring Feather in the mouth and drag it to earth. George now chitters reliably at the sight of birds; Charlie still can’t chitter, but makes a wheezing sort of churr. George is figuring out how to meow, but it’s a bizarrely high and tiny meow for such a big burly beastie. Charlie can manage a sort of bubbly meow with a deeper pitch. He has also deduced that rubbing my face, shoulders and arms madly with his cheek produces food.

They eat high-calorie, grain-free kitten food. And zero dry food (a terrible thing to feed to cats, in my opinion). My guess is they’re consuming 800 – 850 calories a day between them; surprisingly, Charlie eats as much as George. Soon I want to start introducing raw food into their diet. George won’t have a problem with that, but Charlie might: he still doesn’t seem to recognise human food. George will turn cartwheels for a tasty snippet of cooked cod or chicken or ground beef, but Charlie ignores all human food except…kale. Which he adores—as we discovered when he dragged a bunch off the counter and chewed it to bits.

Yes, they’re still chewing but much less—though we did have one scary incident last week when Charlie offered to chew my water glass. Fortunately, he hasn’t tried a repeat performance. I think their incisors, canines, and premolars are in now. I’m guessing the four molars will take a while. No doubt we’ll discover they’re erupting when they start trying to eat my phone again. Just FYI, kitty teeth are tougher than gorilla glass.

An iPhone with a tooth-mark in the corner of the screen

Kitty tooth vs gorilla glass

What comes next? Well, kitties vs. the Christmas tree. Fun ahead…