Tag Archives: domestic life

The Island of Misfit Pets

6 Jul

photo cred: tao lin on Flickr


I did it guys. I finally got a new cat. I know you were worried.

That’s why I sent out last week’s blog post as a silent cry for help on the wind rather than written words. Because I was preoccupied with forcing two distinct members of an incredibly territorial species to work through determining who the Alpha between them will be without losing fur or blood in the process. It’s hard work, being a cat lady. I know it looks like we just lay around with our cats all the time but that’s our reward for having spent several months to a year with no sleep while we try to bait and lure and feed our companions into coexisting in the same room with us.

As those of you who have been following along will remember, I recently lost one of the best cats to ever live. Top ten, she was. And when she passed, I got super sad and my remaining cat – a kitten – was confused and weird about it. My plan was for him to learn from her super cool ways and for him to grow up to be totally great. But she was sick and he kept running his head directly into hard objects – seemingly on purpose – so he couldn’t have remembered anything anyway.

As the weeks and months went on and Monk was left to his own concussive devices, it became clear to me that he needed more than just me in order to get by. He followed me into absolutely every room. He would wake up from a dead damn sleep because I needed to go grab a tissue or a drink, follow me sleepdrunkenly into the next room, follow me back, and lie down again. While that’s endearing and all, it can translate to moments like when I’m trying to relieve myself and he’s staring at me, directly in front of the toilet. Or when I’m trying to take a shower and he’s screaming outside it because he can’t get in and then screaming inside it because I let him and now he’s wet. These, along with a host of other adorably awful habits, have led to a sincere decline in hours of sleep, because cats are nocturnal and I’m asleep at night and he absolutely hates that.

So I got another cat.

Here she is: her name is Lil.


Lil is her preferred name. Lily if you must. Pippalily if we’re being fancy, and sometimes we are.

I got Lil from Animal Friends after help from a few volunteers and an adoption counselor who listened to my plight and tried to help me find the right personality to put in my Monk blender. My hope was that I would find a friend to balance him out a bit and give him something that would occupy him, thereby cutting down on a slew of terrible habits we had developed. Hopefully including his tendency to charge walls with his head.

In some ways it worked. In others, it became far worse.

You never know what you’re going to get with a cat. There’s just no way to know what they’re made of until you get them home and comfortable, and that takes time. It’s then, when you’ve worked for weeks to help them achieve optimum comfort – after you’ve put cat trees all over your house, matted your clothes with their fur, tripped over and stepped on toys around every corner, and begun to let them eat your breakfast yogurt with you– that you realize you have, in fact, fallen in love with an asshole.

Sometimes they’re not assholes – they’re just broken – and I get broken ones. Ones that squawk, ones that suddenly jump up and clutch the middle of the window screen with all four paws in the dead of night.

My parents have one who wants you to spank his ass. I’m not even kidding. He loves it. I’ve spent many a visit to my parents’ when dad and I will be up late watching a movie and an action scene will be underscored by the spanking of the cat’s ass by my father while it squeals with joy.

Maybe it’s us, though, now that I think about it. Our family is like an island of misfit pets. 

Lil likes to make biscuits. That’s when they knead your skin and fat to make a bed (usually on your belly); it’s super great for your self image. I’ve only known her for about a week, and man: she loves to get pastries moving. She does it all the time, everywhere she goes. She’s obsessive. There was no way to know in the shelter.

This is only week one. Imagine what I’ll find when she gets settled in the rest of the way.

Anyway now that I have two of them again, certain Monk behaviors have already been curbed. Others have gotten significantly worse because Lil does them too. Which makes me think that my love of cats might be the largest negative contributor to my emotional and physical wellbeing. Here’s how things are shaping up on my Monk habit-ridding list, one week in:

  • Wailing at the top of his kitten lungs when he suspects I might be within a mile of the house but not inside it.
  • Suddenly and without warning breaking into a dead sprint from one end of the apartment to the other, often across my chest as I sleep – DOUBLED DOWN
  • Obsessively eating garbage that can legit kill him
  • Getting on the table, fighting the human for food – DOUBLED DOWN
  • Punching me directly in the eyeball to wake up in the morning – DOUBLED DOWN
  • Waiting until I round a corner and grabbing my legs like a razor-clawed koala
  • Staring directly into the depths of my soul while I relieve myself – DOUBLED DOWN (It’s a little like the twin moment in The Shining. And sure, I can close the door – but they yell. Loudly.)
  • Eating my hair
  • Spontaneously splatting one’s self onto the middle of the window screen and holding on with all four paws until I pull them all out

So, it’s going kind of okay? I guess? Except I’ve picked up a host of other, 2-cat-specific scenarios, such as:

  • Allowing them to be in the same room momentarily only to find Monk putting Lil in a sleeper hold within 60 seconds
  • Play fighting with me directly in the middle. If I move, they move – and start from the top
  • Yelling at the top of their lungs because they’re not in the same room; being totally asinine when they are

At the moment, for example, I’m going about my day out in the world, while I’m quite certain Monk is boring a hole through my bedroom door so he can go strangle Lil for funsies. It can take up to a year or sometimes more to get cats to play nice – and sometimes they just never do.

Wish me luck, y’all. Remember that the species I’m dealing with here is incredibly territorial. If I’m too successful, it’s possible for them to join forces and push me out altogether.

If that happens, I’ll try to grab my laptop in the frenzy so I can tell you about how it went down. 

PS – Adopt a pet. There’s nothing quite as heartwarming as a punch or two to the face every morning because you’ve been missed in the past 8 hours. Really.


A Domestic War

9 Sep

I’m at war with my vacuum cleaner.

These newfangled contraptions and their promises to get dander and dirt out of the grimy little crevices between my rug threads – they’re liars!   Liars, hounds and thieves!   It always starts out so nicely – so hopeful.  I get a shiny new vacuum that has enough suction to suck my skin right off the bone and then one day while I’m vacuuming I realize I’m not really vacuuming at all.  I’m just pushing dirt around on my floor and when I lift up the vacuum it’s all right there, staring at me.

I have serious dust bunnies.  They have beady little demon eyes and they roll around in cat dander and fur.  And when I lift up the vacuum to find them all still there, just rolling around in their own filth, I get very, very angry.  I don’t like to be mocked.

Yesterday I genuinely considered throwing my vacuum out the window.

I always complain to Dave that the vacuum doesn’t work.  He does something magical to fix it, I use it, it works, it breaks, and I complain again.  It’s a vicious, brain rotting cycle.  

Yesterday when I started up ol’ Bess, I got very excited for the potential of a freshly cleaned carpet.  I was going to have beautiful little zigzag lines in the rug and all the little tidbits would be eradicated from every crevice.   But when I started her up, she huffed and puffed and didn’t do a darn thing.  I told Dave she was broken again and he told me to check the hose.

My vacuum has this hose that goes all the way from the very bottom of it up to the top, wraps around, and then goes back down and slightly curves up once more to lead in to the chamber where all the dust bunnies make dirty love together.  And luckily for me, it was completely clogged with junk.

Now, I’m no vacuum engineer, but it appears to my commonplace brain that this is not the most efficient design possible.  

So one trash can, long straightened wire hanger, and twenty minutes later, I puff up my chest in the living room, proud that I have singlehandedly conquered the vacuum and declared my dominance over it.  

Until I plugged her in, started her up, picked her up, and saw all those beady little bunny eyes – mocking me.

(Insert vacuum-out-window dream sequence)

So I’ve had it.  I’m done.  No more newfangled vacuums.  You know what? My parents had a junky old vacuum that was loud and weighed a thousand pounds and was ugly as sin but it rocked so hard sometimes the house didn’t even accumulate debris out of fear.  I think this weekend I’ll go hunting for the biggest, clunkiest piece of junk I can find, bring it home, and shower it in glory as it sucks up every bit of grossness that has now been fermenting in the threads beneath my feet. 

I might even get one with a bag.  A BAG!  Doesn’t that sound ridiculous?

But listen – bags get full.  Because bags work.

Maybe once my floor is clean, I’ll put on Chariots of Fire theme song and live out that chuck-out-the-window dream.

Maybe when I get a vacuum that works, I'll just go straight to the source of the problem.

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