Of Fur, Food, and Freaked Out Pets

>> Thursday, October 8, 2009

Things have been unusually interesting in the cat colony here. We've crossed the line from Cat Owners to Weird Cat Family. Yes, we've begun to treat the emotional issues of our pets. I never thought I'd see this day.

I think I've mentioned that Houdini is not popular among the prior four-footed residents, but he is very popular with Toddler. Houdini goes back and forth between acting like he doesn't care about this and wishing everyone just loved him enough to just sleep in a big giant fur pile with him like all good cats are supposed to.

Let's take the bed, for example. Prior to Houdini moving in, Girl Cat would sleep on DH's feet, and Big Black Cat would sleep on mine. This was peaceful, or as peaceful as life could get with a 14 pound cat vibrating the bed with the force of his purr and rocking the bed springs with the motion of his tongue-bath. Then came Houdini, who decided that if everyone else could sleep on the big bed, so could he. But there was no peace if he slept next to the other two at the foot of the bed, so he tried to sleep on the pillows. Umm, no. I thought maybe that would have been fun when I was about 10 and tried to get the family cat to sleep on my pillow, but I'm older and wiser now, and I don't want 11 pounds of shedding orange Houdini fur next to my nasal allergies. So, the pillow was out. Next, Houdini decided he wanted to be on top of, in between, or preferably both, DH and me. *sigh*

We've tried banishing them to outside the bedroom altogether, but Big Black Cat will claw the door, Houdini will yowl, and Girl Cat will smack the boys around until they open the door, and I'm too much of a softie to lock them in the basement.

All this dispute started lots of anxiety among our family of four footers. Girl Cat boiled over in a pit of resentment when Houdini moved in, and apparently again when Toddler was born. She took it out on us and the house. There was nothing we tried that made a lick of difference for months and months and months. Sometimes it would get better, but I knew that it was only a matter of a few days before I was going to have to get up in the morning and clean up a nice puddle of resentment from the floor. What a great way to start a day, right?

So, finally, we found this magic (and very expensive) cat pheromone room deoderizer that has brought affection and tranquility back to the house. There are still swats, but no more rolling fights. The liquid resentment has declined to the occasional, "I saw you pet him, take that" in the front room, and the purring has increased. So, sadly, has the "pet me, please, right now" behavior from all cats, in the middle of the night, first thing in the morning, and any time anyone is trying to sleep. Now, instead of trying to march around the house dividing it into individual fiefdoms, they all try to jump on the same lap at once. (Ouch!)

And now, to top it all off they hate both sets of that test food the nice cat food company sent to us. So, not only do they want lots of attention, they're hungry too. Hungry cats don't sleep at all. Starting at about 4:30 in the morning, Big Black Cat sneaks up to my belly, starts purring, and nuzzles my head to let me know that the pheromones make him very happy and content, and he is very, very, very hungry please. Food. Now. Most happily and respectfully, of course.

I don't know where this story will end, so consequently, I don't know how to end this blog entry except to say that I never, ever, ever, ever imagined I would honestly become the Crazy Cat Lady who mistakes her pets for her children. I never thought Houdini would be the sort of cat to let Toddler roll all over him, thus making it impossible to give him away. I never thought I'd get pushed out of my own bed by three cats, one of whom has a big crush on my husband.

And, most of all, I never thought I'd be so glad for an expensive bottle of cat smell in my outlets.


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