offset \ˈȯf-ˌset\ noun

a force or influence that makes an opposing force ineffective or less effective

Family DLC

Every time I try writing something I end up in a state resembling a writer's block. Days pass and when I sit down to write an article, I quickly realize I don't have anything to report. In actuality I have loads of things to report, but no point in writing about them since they're not complete yet. I'm either busy wrapping things up for weeks or resigned to waiting for things beyond my control to resolve. Another cold period approaches and it is not helping either.

Still, I need to write about something, else I'll slow down so much I am afraid I'll be going in reverse. While I won't write about the things that are not yet completed, I'll write about one thing that definitely is. Our small family is not two, but four now. Twins Kida and Tenzin have joined our little club and are taking away our sleep, our time, our sanity, but bringing in some joy, calm and are keeping us from obsessing over meaningless things.


Getting a household ready for cats is not a trivial task. To fit our overall smart-home project, we opted to immediately introduce some smart gadgets - the ones we could afford and fit into our small apartment. We now have two automated food dispensers (dry only), a smart water fountain (they're interested in drinking the running water) and a single cat flap door.

The flap door we needed for Kida as she's a fussy eater - slower than her brother, who started to steal her food, and she also prefers to have audience and encouragement while she does it (we've since learnt that she's what's referred to as "affection eater").

He has no such trouble. He's growing way faster than her and is over five kg now. A true gentle giant. At the time of this writing, they're currently just over seven months old. Time is flying, though.

Aside from providing food and water logistics, we've set up two litter boxes in the hallway, which we'd love to replace with an automatic one, but that's both expensive and impractically large at this point.

Vesna bought every toy from every top list of cat toys and then some, we've set up a number of nooks where they can curl into for a nap, as well as two cat trees that they can climb, perch from and observe us from a height. Most of the time they sleep on the windowsill or above and below our bed.

They also have very distinct personalities. Tenzin is quick to sneak a cuddle or two, or three, and is friendly with everyone (which terrifies Vesna as if he ever escaped, nobody would ever return the glorious affectionate furball that he is). Kida is very skittish, but loves to explore and play, and vocalizes it frequently. She's not super into being cuddled, but will follow us from one room to another. We're working on it.

We also took the time to teach them some tricks. Their repertoire consists of responding to their name, sitting, giving high five, fist bump and low five, giving handshake, a hug, jumping over a leg or an arm, nose bumping and the list continues to grow. Right now we're teaching them to react to "no" - basically turning their attention from the illicit activity to us and using positive reinforcement when it works.

When weather permits, we try to take them for a walk on a leash, although that can prove to be challenging with them either trying to dash after something (Tenzin) or getting scared of strangers and freezing in place (Kida). It sure makes our lives less boring, and hopefully theirs more interesting.

The challenge ahead of us will also be switching them to a vegan diet. Their digestion can react temporarily, but we've done our research and it shouldn't cause long term issues. There are several brands that offer balanced food options for cats in the vegan department, but none of them are going into specialized territory like "kitten only", or "sterilized kitten" foods. Top that with what they had in the previous household, we are taking it slow.

They were also fixed relatively recently and they recovered nicely. Her procedure did involve some sleepless nights on our part, spent streaming relaxing cat music, but it mostly worked on Vesna. Luckily, that milestone is behind us now.

They've changed our lives profoundly in a very short time and we love them unconditionally, but I do sometimes wish they could learn how to work so Vesna and I are not the sole breadwinners in the family, or at least to cast some useful spells in the spellcaster's familiar vein.