Saturday, March 25, 2006

What Part of Not for

What Part of “Not for Cats” Don’t You Understand?
Did I Ask for a Face Full of Cat Butt?

People often tell my friend Hilde that they’d like to come back as one of her cats in their next life, because she indulges them so much.

This same Hilde thinks I spoil MY cats.

Honest, Hilde, I didn’t—they came that way! As I’ve said before, their motto is “I’ll have what you’re having!” and for Sethra, at least, that means “before you’ve finished it.” I have never encountered a cat with such an overwhelming sense of entitlement; and if you know cats, you know that’s saying quite a lot. I often like to have cold meat, all by itself (no bread) as a bedtime snack, because that’s a good protein snack for a diabetic. They will not just pounce on the bag; they will keep coming after it and coming after it as I’m eating it. And Sethra, with her most demanding “MEOW!” will try to put her paw, or even her face, right into my mouth to help herself.

I’ve mentioned before that she is very imperative about having her toy tossed when she wants to retrieve. Her favorite toy at the moment is Aliera’s old SafeCat collar, discarded when it became too small. She drags it around with her, hides it in the bed, and will stand on top of me and yowl till I throw it for her. They also go after the small plastic cup in which I keep my nightly allotment of pills while taking them. I don’t think they are drug addicts so much as “small round things I can bat across the bed with my paw” addicts. And they think it socially acceptable behavior to stand there with their butts in my face while they do so, or even while they are simply investigating the pillows and bookcase headboard to see if I have stashed anything interesting or edible (or, perhaps, if they want to read anything I’m reading).

I know that sniffing one another’s butts is an important method of feline communication. What I haven’t figured out yet is how to explain to them that as feline-to-human communication, it’s a non-starter. It’s not that the cats are odoriferous; I use a very good odor-eating litter. And they are constantly engaged in combat washing. It’s just that it’s…so…GROSS!

Since the old LitterMaid automatic litter box stopped working, I have just purchased a new and very expensive one that is a much superior version: it does everything but lick their little butts clean when they’ve finished. This seems to have cured the crapping-on-the-rug problem, as long as I remember to top up the litter when needed and empty it in a timely manner, which works out to about every four days. I was going to get them a new water dispenser (the one they have is water-cooler style, but there’s something green growing inside), but I think I can clean the old one properly now that I’ve found my bottle brush, so they can still have fresh water. I give them filtered water, the kind I drink myself. They are getting so spoiled that last Cat Food Night they left half the Choice Ocean Fish in their dishes. And they hadn’t had any gourmet moist food for a while, as I’d cancelled the previous Cat Food Night because of the wickedness of Sethra. I can only conclude that they’d filled up on kibble just before dinner. Just like kids.

They are very strange about food. They will start yowling when I get out a can of chicken or tuna for myself even before it’s open; can they read the labels? (It’s not just the can-opener Pavlovian thing, either, as they aren’t fed canned food but foil-packet food.) Yet last night, when I fixed chicken and noodles with mushrooms, I put down the empty chicken can with quite a bit of licking-worthy remnants in it, and they couldn’t seem to find it. Or perhaps they’ve become so spoiled and arrogant that they think that I should eat THEIR leftovers!

I think that what annoys me the most is Sethra’s rudeness. She speaks to me in a bloody arrogant “I am Siamese, if you please” tone of voice that just makes me want to smack her. Tonight I watched NANNY 911, as I sometimes do when DR. PHIL is a rerun; and for only the second time, the nanny didn’t fully succeed in taming the family. (The first time, the problem was with the marriage, and the episode wound up with a marriage-counseling spin-off.) The stepfather did his best with the three young children, but it must have been really relaxing when he went off to his job as a prison guard because the environment would be so much more civilized. The mother spent her time sitting on the couch, eating junk food, and verbally abusing her kids. The woman was in total denial about her kids’ behavior and her own; in fact, I think she was psychopathic. The kids were totally out of control. The younger boy (couldn’t have been more than six or seven at most) swore at Nanny Stella, hit and kicked her, and even spat in her face. Ironically enough, in the course of the program (later on), she was the only one shown as giving the kids any affection. The father learned something from the week with the nanny, but right up to the end the woman simply refused to believe even the evidence of the recordings of her behavior and that of the kids. I really feel sorry for them. I can’t imagine the marriage lasting much longer, especially as she didn’t bother much with how she looked and her husband was a real babe. If they do split up, of course she’ll get the kids since he’s not their natural father. Tragedy in the making.

Come to think about it, I guess the cats aren’t that bad, after all. Come here, my darlings, for a group hug….