Tag Archives: pets

The Island of Misfit Pets

6 Jul
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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.

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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.

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I Need Your Dog Real Quick

10 Jun

I’ve been in Portland for a few days for a work thing and I’m wondering if I’ll bother to jump the plane back home. Portland, Oregon – not Portland, Maine – just in case you were wondering. I’ve been told no one but me ever does, but hey: just in case.

I think the hotel I’m staying at is built specifically to keep me here. There’s a button on my phone that I can push that says “get it now” and if I push it, I can have them deliver a pint of locally made ice cream to my door. On-demand ice cream. The new world is a marvel.

They also have something called a dog spiritual menu. At first I thought this meant that I could steal a random dog from the street and pamper him with a hot stone massage or get its chakras balanced, but it turns out it’s just a library of books available to me on pet psychology and whatnot. However, the front desk is also happy to help refer me to a pet psychic if it will make my stay more memorable, so I’m currently on the hunt for a dog with an owner who isn’t paying much attention to them. 

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I know, pup. I have a lot of questions too. (photo cred: Joseph Morris)

There’s also a pillow menu. In case I’m not content with the 6 pillows on my bed already, I can call someone and custom order the type of pillow I would prefer. I’m not sure how to do that without sounding like a total and complete A-hole, but the curiosity is killing me. Do they bring sample pillows for me to choose from? Do they wheel a cart into my room with little fancy placards labeling their firmness? Why aren’t the pillows they bring up already represented among the several pillows already on my bed? WHY ARE THEY WITHHOLDING SECRET PILLOWS. WHY DO I HAVE TO CALL TO UNLOCK THEM?

In spite of these luxuries, this boutique hotel is lacking the only amenity worth booking for: the good old fashioned continental breakfast. I gotta say, I’m getting pretty tired of classy-claiming hotels that don’t give me free breakfast. In what world do I shell out more money than it takes to stay at a Holiday Inn to have my morning made-to-order omelet replaced with nothing but a pitcher of fresh cucumber water? Why can I rent a book from a dog wellness library and not get some free morning toast?

Maybe I’d feel differently if the amenities were geared toward cats instead of dogs. I’d swap out my free daily breakfast in exchange for someone getting inside Monk’s head. That cat is in dire need of some psychoanalysis. Really. I should have put him on a leash and stowed him in the plane. I could distract him with a damp sponge bath at the hotel while I have someone get to the bottom of what makes him punch me in the eyeball with his furpaw at 4am.

Even if they offered a cat spiritual menu, I’d still need to work up the chutzpah to pick up the phone and request it. I have yet to work up enough to request the pillow menu and ice cream. I don’t mean that from a lazy perspective (although – yes.), but just from a phone-hating perspective. I don’t even like to talk to my friends on the phone. I have a longstanding friend (15 years now?) with whom I have only exclusively chatted online. I credit it as the reason we’ve been able to hang in there so long. Still – the curiosity is killing me. I should call.

I really have to continually work at to getting over these sorts of little hangups in my quest to not become a bitter old shut-in. So, it’s decided: tomorrow is the big day: I’m going to pick up the phone, dammit. I want a firmer pillow. And a body pillow. All of the secret pillows. I should also grab a dog real quick just to get my full money’s worth from my stay. If I can just work up the courage to commit a tiny bit of random dog theft and pick up the phone, I can celebrate my wins in a pile of pillow with a $12 pint of hand-delivered ice cream.

Maybe I can even manage to save half of it for breakfast.

My Cat is the Spawn of Satan

1 May

I need to book an exorcism for my cat.

No, not my beloved Lola. This is a new one.

Unfortunately, my near and dear Lola Bear recently got very ill and slowly passed away. It hurt so very badly and my parents tried to help make it better by bringing me a seemingly innocent-looking spawn of Satan to help with the pain. Meet the hellchild with which they’ve cursed my life:

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Now, I know that your first impression of Monk (The Monkfish, Monkey, Monk) might be to trust him. Or to assume his innocence. It’s okay, I understand: he does look so cute that you just want to squeeze all the life juice out of him – but it’s just a tool to lure you in so that he can badger-jab you in the face.

As Monk grew up, I tried to remember that things he does as a tiny kitten may be charming, but when he does them as a cat, they will hurt. So I tried to remain vigilant in his training: no table tops, no eating out of the garbage or from my leftover food, no flying from all dimensions of space toward my head, etc. Basically, the things I never had to worry about with Lola – but I was at least twelve years out of practice in my cat training, and honestly guys I don’t think I did a very good job. Because though I did try to back off the number of times I would let him play with my hands instead of a toy, I did also simultaneously encourage regular Ninja Training Courses with Dave.

Dave is a forest child and in his heart, he can speak to animals. (He frequently scolds me for talking down to cats or talking about them where they can hear me.) Because of this hypersensitivity, when it comes to animal training, Dave’s skills really shine and I wanted Monk to benefit from it. And has he.

Monk can do flips in the air, scale the most difficult of mountains (fire places), and is generally a badass. He can lurk in the tiniest of corner spaces, hunt down even the best hidden cat toy, and keep up with a laser pointer with no sweat. When he was little, these skills were pretty darn exciting. Now that he’s older, they’re terrifying.

Three separate times during this post, I looked at him and thought: what a cute kitty! and pet him. And then he full-body hooked around my arm and rabbit kicked the bejeezus out of me. Three separate times.

Oh, and he’s bigger now:

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He’s up there at the top. See him? And yeah, I know – he still looks pretty cute. But then ask yourself: …how did he even get up there? I do love this cat, but he is no Lola. He was born straight from Satan’s fire.  How did he get up there, you ask? With the power of Lucifer.

Now, I understand that lots of cats are assholes and that’s just the way it is. But you have to believe me: this is something unnatural. The list of grievances is quite large, and means that when someone is catsitting for me, I have to prepare ample notes in advance. They include:

  • Sometimes he’ll climb up your legs or back and begin to eat your hair
  • Sometimes he’ll hop on your face in bed and…eat your hair.
  • He is a master ninja and it won’t take long for him to learn how to dart out your door the moment it opens. Be prepared with some sort of Monkblocker when you enter. 
  • He’ll frequently weave in and out of your legs as you walk. Stopping and letting him go first won’t make a difference – he walks when you walk. You’re going to hit him in the face; it’s okay – it’s just a fact.
  • He doesn’t like to be left out, so he meows when you close a door on him. Even the bathroom.
  • If you don’t play with him enough during the day, he’ll be batshit crazy while you try to sleep. 
  • He eats plants and climbs on things and does every other imaginable terrible cat thing.
  • He’ll attack your hands if you let him.
  • He love, love, loves a good laser pointer session. Be careful – he’ll run directly into things if you let him. He already suffers from a few minor concussions.
  • He’s obsessed with seltzer water. If you leave a container of unfinished seltzer water out, he will immediately come knock it over. Please don’t leave it unattended.

It goes on. Just like this. For a long time.

Now, I have read at least the first forty available articles on what to do about a hypercrazy cat, but they haven’t worked. I’ve talked to the vet, who suggested scaring the bejeezus out of him when he’s doing something wrong by crashing something loud near him (Monk couldn’t care less). I’ve played directly before dinner (nope), played at least two hours a day (nope), moved eating times around (nope), ignored him (nope), paid too much attention to him (nope), yelled at him (nope), took things away from him (nope), moved my entire apartment around to accommodate for him (nope)– I’m simply out of ideas. I think he’s possessed.

I’ve been cranking down my social calendar in the hopes that spending even more time with him will help his issues. So I’m officially moving into a deeply unhealthy relationship. I’ve thought about getting another cat to help him cope with whatever his internal struggle is, but I’m worried he’ll take it out on me that I show affection for another. Or worse: that the demon in him will move from being to being, and I will double the horror of my plight. So there may be only one option left: an exorcism.

I think I read somewhere in those forty articles I googled that it takes a level 35 cat lady mage to conduct a proper exorcism – but that’s a pretty high level cat lady and no doubt the path I must go on to seek her out is dark and full of terrors. Still – this is no way to live and I have no real choice. I must go into the unknown – to trace the untraceable. 

Wish me luck. 

cat lady

 

Jackie the Housewife

25 Jul

This is our fridge magnet. True story.

Today Dave suggested that we move the cat food bowls around the house every once in a while so that we can force them to scavenge for food and thereby “prepare them for the oncoming apocalypse”.

I complied.  I didn’t really have a choice; he was very serious about it.  It felt like a dealbreaker.  And I really don’t want to be the girl that he left because she wouldn’t get over a little Apocalypse Training for the cats.  However, I’m also a little worried that now that I’ve opened the door to the beginning stages of this, he’ll start to get even more serious about their training program. 

First it’s hiding food dishes around the house, next it’s cats knifing me when I come home from work. 

Maybe I don’t have anything to worry about though – I tried to rouse Hobbes with the laser pointer today and he gave me the finger.   I don’t think even the fear of the apocalypse could get him to stop sleeping in the tub all day.  I’ve been meaning to talk to him about his attitude lately.

Anyway, I’m off work this week and I’m trying to spend some of the time teaching the cats  a lesson in productivity.  The theme of my workshop is that just because you’re not employed, doesn’t mean you can’t contribute.  I’m demonstrating a myriad of behaviors I’m hoping they’ll mimic in my absence when I go back to work.   Today, for example, I cleaned the house and did the dishes and made cookies and deviled eggs. 

What I wouldn’t give to have my cat hand me a deviled egg when I get home instead of knifing me. 

They aren’t really taking to my demonstrations, but I’m hoping that soon my messages will get through. I’m like the Jane Goodall of cats.  They’ll come around.

As it turns out I really like being home, aside from Hobbes’ foul behavior.  I really don’t mind dropping things off to be dry cleaned or getting the cats appointments (health pre-screenings for the training), or putting together furniture, cleaning the house, and making dinner.  I think I might really be cut out for this domestic thing.  Hell, I’d start a garden if I had a lawn.

It makes sense, I guess – I’ve always preferred staying indoors in the evening; now that I can be indoors in the morning too, I’m at my peak. It’s only been three days and Dave’s got this look in his eye like he’s afraid I’ve taken to it so much that will never return to work again.   And that could be entirely possible because I feel fantastic.  So to help him agree that it’s a good idea, I’m making him delicious dinners and keeping him from lifting a finger around the apartment.   I think if I can fit in a puppy and a garden, I’ve got myself a good hard sell.

It’s so wonderful to be able to get things done that have been on the back burner forever as low-priority items.  After a while, those things nag at me for so long that they become part of the baggage I carry around all the time.  And this week has been dedicated to ticking those off the list one by one.   I am infinite.

I started to feel so great this week that I realized I should be spending this time doing *all* the things I’ve ever wanted to do and recalled my curiosity for hiking the Appalachian Trail.  Then I remembered that I still have rehearsal at night and every weekend until November is booked (Note to self: add Appalachian Trail to back burner.  Also Note to self: why are you always so busy?).

I also have quite a bit of Lollipop Tuesday hunting to do, as it’s been quite some time since I’ve tried some newfangled adventure.  I’m afraid it’s been so long that if I don’t do one soon I’ll revert back into a cranky old coot.   Of course, finding new ventures is difficult when I get to be home all day in heels and a housedress, showing Dave how good of an idea it is for me to not work. 

Perhaps tomorrow my only goal should be to go outside.  It will hurt, but it will be good for me.  I’ll report back next week.  

Pray for me out there.  I hear the Apocalypse is coming. 

Therapeutic Cat-Washing

27 Jun

Yesterday I was so upset at the world that I washed my cat.

I think it had something to do with working a ten hour day and having my boss call me the moment I left the office.  Twice in a row.  And then text me seven times.  Right in a row.

There is something about the beeping that my phone makes upon a new text delivery that I am unable to check that feels like a hamster is nibbling at my insides.  When I know it’s my boss and I’m behind the wheel and helpless to know what the emergency is that inspires her to plague me so, that hamster gets upgraded to a gerbil.  And by the time I got to the grocery store, called her, handled said emergency, drove home, unpacked everything, changed my clothes, and saw that the house was a mess beyond livability, I would have had a more relaxing evening had I just set myself on fire and run out of my office building before it all started.

But I didn’t.  So instead, I took my cat for a walk.

Hobbes is an interesting creature of habit.  Once upon a time, Dave had a pang of guilt about man’s domestication of felines and their tendency to remove their manhood once domesticated.  And so to give Hobbes a taste of loveliness, he took him to the park, where I sang him a lively rendition of “A Whole New World”.   Ever since, when Dave gets home from work, Hobbes paws and meows at the front door until we either let him out or shoot him.

We don’t have a gun.

So since I was at my wit’s end and wanted a breath of fresh air anyway, I decided to kill two cats with one walk and bring Hobbes into the great wide open.  He doesn’t require a leash because all he does is roll around on the concrete like he’s on ecstasy and the concrete is neon silk.  The neighbors tend to stare.

And while Hobbes was relishing the highlights of neon and softness in the sidewalk, I sat beside him stewing about all the work I had to do that evening and how I really just wanted to play video games and eat cookies.   I imagined the carpet that needed to be vacuumed several days ago and the cat litter that I just scooped this morning that already needed to be scooped and the dusting, dishwashing, counter-cleaning and general exhaustion that was about to ensue.  It burned like a fiery pit of filth in my stomach, right beside the once-gnawing gerbil.

That’s when Hobbes’ ecstasy binge led him to a soft pile of dirt and he began to roll in a frenzy, overtaken by the spirit of a chinchilla.

He rolled and rolled.  I’d venture to say it was the happiest moment of his life to date.  It may have even made up for the fact that his ancestors had been torn from the tundra and domesticated into prissy little eunuchs.  

But I was not happy.  My mind was chock full of filthy things needing to be cleaned and even if I did every single one of them, my E-crazed chinchilla was just going to deposit a sack of black dust all over my living room anyway.  And since I had nothing inanimate near me on which to take out my sometimes compulsive cleaning habit, I instead grabbed the offender by the scruff of his neck and the tub of his tummy and carted him to the bathroom.

I think this is where I did the most harm.  Hobbes loves the bathroom.  He loves the sink and the tub and the perfectly Hobbes-sized carpet I apparently bought for him.  He loves the shower curtain and the occasional drip from the tub’s faucet.  He lives like a king in that sacred room.  But he doesn’t like water.  I know this because when, in my fury, I splattered the water all over his dirty behind, his eyes turned to saucers, his tail went stick straight, and he engaged every fiber of his being into actively escaping the porcelain death trap I had set for him.

But I’m a human.  And humans trump cats.  Hence the domesticated nutsack-stealing.

I rinsed about a half pound of black dust and dander down my tub before I started to worry I’d genuinely give him a heart attack so I turned off the water and convinced myself he was clean enough. I smothered him in a towel and then made a note to do a load of laundry because I had just used my last clean towel on my cat.

Freshly toweled cats are hilarious, angry little things.  I highly recommend it on a rough day.

I followed up the traumatic session with a gentle brushing, which was actually in my favor more than his but he’s too stupid to know the difference between a proper petting and a wire brush.  Another point for the humans.  I then nursed the wounds he’d inflicted that, due to my nerdy cat allergies, had swollen to look like boils all over my skin.  Point for the cats.

But I felt better.  I had cleaned something.  Not just that – I had cleaned something that fought back – and I had won.  I mean, I tend to take out my stress on my dirty apartment from time to time, but that’s just a hurricane of cleaning that ends in my sweat and tears.  This! This was fantastic.  Five minutes of cat cleaning and I’m good to go.  I can dust a little, vacuum a little, pick up a few cups and be done.  The filthiest thing in my apartment had already been conquered and it was now so upset at the violation that it was cleaning itself. Perfection.

Therapeutic Cat-washing, folks: I highly recommend it. 

I Can’t Love a Wrinkly Flesh Beast

4 Apr

Dave wants to shave our cat.

Technically it’s his cat. I had a cat when he met me, he acquired a cat when we were just starting out.  Thus, one is mine and one is his.  He wants to shave his.  Though both cats are, in theory, “ours”, the acquisition of the cats is important to keep in mind when sorting out who is responsible for clawed up furniture, broken possessions,  hairballs and bowel atrocities of all kinds.  Basically, we have joint custody until something needs cleaned up or one of them committed a crime.

Or until he wants to shave one of them.

I imagine it will be much the same when we have children.

It’s all my fault, I suppose.  I was jamming a needle full of Facebook status updates right into my artery when I noted that a mutual friend of ours was taking a poll on whether or not he should shave his cat for the summer.  It went something like “pros: cats not dying of heat in summer, no fur around the apartment.  cons: pissed off death rat staring me down while I sleep”.

When I passed along my amusement to Dave, I expected him to laugh along and perhaps weigh in on the poll.  Instead, he said it was a great idea and that he should shave Hobbes.

This is, of course, in retaliation to the Air Conditioning War of 2011, wherein the defendant, Jackie, refused to spend money on air conditioning to help carry the apartment through the sweltering hot summer.  The defendant cited the oncoming autumn, a pride in low electric bills and a general distaste for the unnatural as her exhibits.  The prosecutor solely cited the blistering heat and the insanity of the defendant.

We got through the summer without air conditioning, but not without throwing the cats in the refrigerator on occasion.   You know, just to make sure they survived the heat wave.

So it seems that Dave is gearing up for Summer War of 2012 and has pitted his threat to shave the cat against my unwillingness to invest in an air conditioner.  And honestly, it’s likely he’ll win.  I can’t live with a shaved cat.  I certainly can’t touch one.  Oh my good great grossness I can’t even imagine how I would drag my hand along its raw, stubbly feline exterior without instantly flinging it from my arms in disgust and fear.  How revolting.  I can’t love a hairless cat.  I can’t.

Remember the Friends episode where Rachel brings home a hairless cat and names it Mrs. Whiskerson?  She pays a grand for it because it reminds her of a cat from her childhood.  But Mrs. Whiskerson goes crazy and rips her to shreds and Rachel ends up giving it to Gunther.  

 

She had to wear oven mitts to hold it.  I don’t want to wear oven mitts to hold my cat.  

Sometimes my cats surprise me in the morning by staring at my face until I open my eyes and promise to feed them.  Right now it’s cute because they’re furry and adorable and they need my love and my kitty food.  When Dave shaves Hobbes, waking up to him staring me down will be so traumatic I’ll have to go to therapy to recover.  I can’t wake up to this:

*Shudder* I mean, I know it’s not its fault but look at that wrinkly gathering of flesh around its neck where a ball of fluffiness should be. I don’t think I could ever sleep again, knowing this beast is slinking about the place.  Just thinking of it brushing up against my leg gives me the heebie jeebies.  I would probably involuntarily kick it.  Like a fight or flight thing. Listen, I can’t be held accountable for what my body does when confronted with great disgustingness.

Of course, this is assuming Dave will be successful in his shaving adventure.  How does one even shave a cat?  Are you just supposed to lather it up and hope it holds still until you finish the job?  Do you give it a sedative, do the deed, place a bottle of liquor and a razor beside it and hope it wakes up and blames itself?  I mean, I’m an intelligent girl but I can’t think of a single sensible way to shave a cat.   In an effort to introduce sanity to the situation, I suggested that if he was going to get the cat shaved he should at least agree to take it to a groomer.   But then I remembered that the groomer returns our cats with enormous bows around their necks.  And being given a hairless cat with a bow around its neck seems more like a warning gift from the mob than a professional grooming service.  No; there’s no way to do this that isn’t nightmare inducing.

It looks like I’ve gotta give in on this one.

It’s only Spring and the Summer War of 2012 is already over.   The defendant is found guilty of withholding sweet, manmade cooling winds from the prosecutor and when faced with the threat of one hairless cat, settled out of court.

One air conditioner, coming right up. 

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The Great Bunny Acquisition

1 Feb

Pog, running from me.

I’m trying to convince Dave to let me have a bunny.

A small, white, fluffy one named Pog.

He has some concerns, naturally.  First and foremost that this is one of a series of campaigns I’ve started on behalf of new and interesting apartment creatures.  For some reason I feel that I can avoid my obvious fate as a cat lady by instead acquiring a taste for a strange parades of animals.  I can.

So along came the Pog campaign, right on the heels of a teacup pig campaign and not all that far from my request for a manageably sized puppy.  They’ve been denied, all.

Second on his list of concerns is the idea of Pog getting put in the washing machine.  Apparently, Dave thinks that my would-be-Pog-bunny-bundle-of-adorableness would snuggle himself right up in the crook of a hoodie or the soft nesting of a pillow, and that in my bumbling hurry, I would toss out the Pog with the pillows.  It would be a watery, warbly, truly tragic passing.

Also, all those clothes would all need to be washed again.

Third on his list of concerns is that I plan to capture this bunny in the wild, so as to not encourage breeding of an animal that already overbreeds itself.  Thus, my acquisition of Pog would require me to sever him from his bunny habitat and thus rip him from the paws of his loving friends and family.  To this I argue that life is nothing but pain and separation and that by never knowing love, Pog can never know the lack of love.

I might also just surround him with stuffed animals.  I had a lot of bunny stuffed animals when I was young and I think I could do a great recreation of Pog’s natural habitat.

Fourth, final, and most damning of his arguments is that he would end up taking care of the bunny after I got tired of it.  I don’t know how I could possibly get tired of a bunny.  I can’t even imagine that a bunny needs a whole lot of attention, really. What can they possibly do for fun?  

Have tea parties with the bunny stuffed animals, that’s what.

Maybe I can try a new tactic with Dave.  Perhaps I can lay out a solid business plan on PowerPoint that involves our apartment being made into a petting zoo.  We’re surrounded by lots of students, who I’m sure could use some pet destressing around midterms and finals.  And unlike cat cafes in China, or groups of puppies brought in to schools, my destress petting zoo will feature a wide variety of creatures and folks can pick what they pet.

See? There’s money in your passion if only you pave the path for it….and can convince Dave.  

 Guess I need to get started on that PowerPoint. 

Feline Battalion: Report!

10 Dec

My cat has launched a war.  I am without ample defense.

I was sitting in the living room when the first strike hit.  It was earlier this week and Dave left town in search of a dream (read: car).  Hobbes lashed out with unhappiness by knocking everything off the top of the fridge.  When I got up to find the cause of the clatter he had disappeared, leaving boxes of cereal and pill bottles in his wake.  He promptly followed up by standing at the front door and caterwauling.  

I should note here that Hobbes gets walks.  Yes, Dave takes him on walks.  I do not.  I refuse to walk a cat and things being as they were, Hobbes was devastated that the human who clearly loved him more was gone from his life.  

I tried talking sense into him.  I tried petting and loving and distractions of all kinds.  I tried meowing back.  But when none of those things worked and his cries grew stronger for my efforts, I thought I might harm him in some deep and violent way.  So instead I grabbed our bottle of catnip spray and soaked him.  He dripped with joy, rolled around, and promptly fell asleep.

Human: 1.  Cat: 0.

But the war didn’t stop there.  When I came home from work yesterday, a box of food that is normally well-guarded and out of reach was blatantly strewn across the kitchen tile.  The food wasn’t even devoured, which shows that it was a display of power rather than a desperate act of hunger.  Without damning evidence, I was unable to determine which cat was responsible and held my wrath for a later opportunity.

Human: 1.  Cat: 1.

In an attempt to wind down from carrying the burden of my corporate chains, I set up my laptop, got some food, and invited the cats to come share in my cozy couch contraptions by the light of the Christmas tree.  When I finally got everything just right I breathed a huge sigh of relief, slouched back into the couch cushion and grabbed my fleece throw made of boiled baby lambs.  But instead of warm, fluffy goodness, my hand plunged into a pile of cat gak.  Hairball. And I had just washed that blanket.

Human: 1. Cat: 2.

Since throwing up on my cat’s belongings wouldn’t do much to even the score, I was without ideas for effective retaliation.   I had given up hope and resolved to hiding in my domicile, terrorized by my bully cat and his gak until Dave could come save me.

Dave returned yesterday with glad tidings of great joy (read: car).  And as he opened the door to greet me, Hellcat darted out the door and into the cavernous halls of our apartment building, never to willfully return again.  Dave, seeing this as an opportunity to exercise good parenting, retrieved him and told him that if he had just waited until Dave was ready, he would have happily taken Hobbes outside.  But since he had to have things on his own terms and be so inconsiderate, he would now have to wait.

Human: 2.  Cat: 2

I’m worried about where this may go.  There are even numbers on both sides now that Dave has returned but he and Lola have yet to officially join the war.  There’s also a high possibility that if Dave expresses support for the humans, Hobbes will obey while he’s around and then take out his wrath on me when Dave’s not here to police him.

This is the next step in my transition to crazy cat lady: the suspicion of mutiny in the ranks.  Last night I heard a cold, lonely cat wailing in the wind and per Dave’s issued protocol, told myself that cats were never intended to be domesticated and that it is only us that makes it such, that it will survive without my assistance, and that Dave will kill me dead if I bring another cat in the apartment.  It was effective after fervent repetition  But when Hobbes gave me the stink eye later on in the evening, I thought of that cold, lonely cat and how it would undoubtedly be on my side if I took it in.

This is how it starts.

My Cat’s Christmas Protest

26 Nov

My cat has taken up residence in the box that harbors my (fake) Christmas tree.

Actually, the tree harbors it no longer, as my apartment is now officially decked with boughs of holly.  So many, in fact, the Dave has begun to question whether my holiday spirit is too strong for him to tolerate.   He was even a little embarrassed for me to light up our Christmas tree for fear the neighbors would think we jumped the gun.

Besides Dave’s naysaying, Christmas decorating comes with a slew of obstacles.  Well, really just two: Lola and Hobbes.  Together, they’re a tag team of holiday terror, batting around ornaments that haven’t yet been added to the tree, eating half the garland strand before I notice and pull it from their intestines, and chewing ever so loudly on the tips of the artificial tree.

This year Lola carried out all the duties on her own.  I wondered where her partner in crime was until I went to put the Christmas tree box back in storage and instead found it as the new home to Hobbes.    It was adorable when we started, but now it’s day two.  I’m starting to think this is some sort of Occupy movement.  Is my cat against Christmas celebrations?  Is he fighting against the consumer-focused aspect of the holidays?  

I never knew he was so political.

There was only one other time that Hobbes took up residence in a box.  It was a banana box – one of those great rectangular ones that are relatively shallow and have a hole cut into the top of them.  I had finally gotten around to emptying items from it that I never really needed to have in storage in the first place and instead of taking the box right to the trash, I let it dwell in my living room for a day.  When I finally went to take it to the garbage, I found Hobbes inside, the curve of his rotund paunch resting ever so gracefully against the thin wall of cardboard.  We thought he would eventually move on, but he didn’t.  Every time we passed through the living room, he was inside. 

Since we couldn’t bring ourselves to throw away his favorite toy but also didn’t want a banana box hanging out in the living room, Dave and I decided to decorate it.  We sat down one night and painted the box brown, with blue waves and fish on the bottom half.  We secured a pole to one corner of the box and hoisted a handkerchief to the top, thereby making Hobbes the captain of his own sailboat.

My favorite was when he stood up in the center of the box where the rectangular hole was and it looked like he was sailing the seas.  I’d have given him an eye patch if he weren’t so squirmy.

The problem with the Christmas tree box is that it’s just so darn big.  I really can’t justify redecorating it and keeping it around; it’s enormous.  Plus, why get him all excited only to throw the tree back in and haul it to the basement in a few weeks?

Still, I’m not sure I have the heart to evict him.  I might fashion it into a canoe.  Or I could make it simple and hoist a banner that says “Occupy Christmas” across the top of the box.  

Let’s just hope the neighborhood cats don’t catch wind and come join the cause. 

Things My Cats Do to Upset Me, or, The Case for a Teacup Piglet

14 Nov

Don't let the cute curl-up-and-sleep pose fool you. Look closely: she has one eye open.

  1. Even if I pet them for an hour, they will still ram their heads against my various limbs, knocking cups, books, and handheld electronics to the floor in their fervor.
  2. They always nest on freshly cleaned clothes if I don’t put them away immediately.  
  3. They can’t handle it when I bring things from the outside world.  Each item gets sniffed, snuggled, and batted around. 
  4. I’ve bought a myriad of cat treat brands to finally find one that Cat A will eat and another that Cat B will eat.  Yesterday I went about my usual business and fed each their respective preferences only to find that Cat A cares for neither now and Cat B likes them both. They have no respect for me.
  5. It is impossible to have a basin of water in the house anywhere without one of my cats seeking it out immediately, dipping its grimy litter-laden paws inside, and scooping out little licks worth of water to lap up for fun.  When at the dinner table, great precautions must be taken.
  6. When I’m sleeping at night, I often awake to the gentle gnawing of a cat on a plastic bag and it makes me want to tear my skin off. 
  7. They continually barf up hairballs and clumps of food on things they know I need the following day, thereby forcing me to take immediate emergency cleaning action, which I despise.
  8. Sometimes they’ll lie in the bathroom sink and refuse to move so that I can wash my hands, forcing me to pick them up out of the wet basin, leaving them covered in toothpaste and my hands covered in wet fur.
  9. When I get comfortable at night, they come lie next to a bend in my body so that I have to monitor my movements throughout the night to avoid clobbering their soft bodies with my monstrous limbs.
  10. The way they dig at the plastic on the litter box instead of at the litter. For ten minutes. WHERE DO THEY THINK IT WILL TAKE THEM?
Sometimes when I look at all these things together, I realize I’m living in a prison of my own design.  I also begin to lust heavily for a teacup pig, who would commit none of the above offenses. 
Unfortunately, my cats would annihilate it while exercising habit number three. 

He knows he's a monster. Don't buy in to the face.

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