Sunday, January 22, 2006

The State of the Household

It's Sunday afternoon, what has been described as the long, dark teatime of the soul, by Douglas Adams, rest his twisted, brilliant soul.

Sara is napping, Colin released to go play video games at last, and Charles is watching the football championship game. One of them. Who cares which one. I am barricaded in the kitchen with both pets and the computer. How cozy.

So, Diana, how are things in the recently enfurred household of Piffle?

Well, just jim-swimmin-dandy, thanks for asking.

"Really?" you ask.

Ah. Truth?



Mad-kitty, it seems, thinks she is a dog, which includes drinking out of the dog's dish, which is a large dog's dish, seeing that the dog (if she makes it to big-dog-hood), will be a big dog. As a very small cat, she can only accomplish this by balancing on a single hind leg, her belly and front paws dangling over the edge of the dish, remaining leg hanging in the air. Now, she has her own small bowl of pristine (as it is changed a few times a day and she never drinks out of it) water, it seems that she actually prefers the water with chunks of saliva and dogfood floating in it. She also tries to cop the dog's food (kibble that is about the size of her petite kitty mouth) and sleeps in the dog's crate.

The dog is fine with all this as it makes kitty easy to ambush. Maybe ambush is not the proper term as ambushes are generally quiet and the dog thumps loudly as she careens across the tile floor, but, still, it is the best term I can think of.

If the pup finds Mad-kitty in her crate, she thumps down beside her, companionable paw over her, and then encloses kit's head in her mouth. Muffled "mraow"ing ensues and someone hollers, "Molly! Stop eating the kitty". Molly, looking surprised that we would misinterpret such an obvously neighborly gesture, opens up and kitty goes off in a huff. Molly gets out, as the only reason she ever wants in there is to torment the cat. The cat then goes right back in and the whole thing replays. Over. And. Over.

I am not making this up.

Clearly the cat wants to be chewed. We rarely intervene anymore.

We sigh a lot.

Her fur, in a strip from the back of her head to her tail, is matted, shiny, and encrusted with bits of dog food, as well.


Outside of that, well, she is still quite the gassy little 2 pounds of fur. As she is also quite the cuddly little thing, she also doesn't merely fart in your general direction, but in your face. It did get much better after the first de-worming and a bit better after the second one, but it looks as though a change of diet is in order. If she keeps up with the dog envy, though, we may need to change the dog's food, too. Drag.

She is also hell on plants. It is proof of how fond of her I am that she is still with us. An orchid I bought on a whim for $10 four years ago and debated tossing as it failed every attempt for me to get it to bloom again, (yes!) is finally putting out buds! I have moved it from my "keep out all you with small hands" cat-magnet of a sunny loft, to the dining room table, in an effort to enjoy these potential blossoms which will dangle beguilingly from the stem. I also didn't fail to notice that there was some potting soil on the table, trailing off from the only other plant not up in the loft, a toddler lemon tree. I think I will have to find another hiding place.

Yes, I know. You can't hide things from cats. I should just put it by the dog's dish, smear it in dog drool and be done with it.

She is very good with the kids, though, and even lets Sara tuck her in with a blanket and a stuffed dog. (No wonder the cat has a complex.)

And now, we turn to Molly pup. Or "Maul-y" as we have re-named her. Damn but she is the mouthy, chewy, one. We are making progress just this last week, though, as she has diminished her gnawing of our body parts and clothing from a conservative estimate of 4,089 times an hour to a mere 576 times an hour. That's a full order of magnitude, man! She also barks. Loudly. And often. And there is no doubt as to what she is saying, you stupid person, you. She, of course thinks she is a human. Her English vocabulary is getting rather good and includes "NO!", "Molly", "come", "treat", "down", "upstairs", "downstairs", "outta there", "inside", and "Leave. The kitty. Alone." The large spray bottle of water with a pinch of vinegar is also satisfyingly helpful in getting one's point across. At this juncture, just taking the bottle out and standing with it in your hand mellows her the hell out. This, of course, proves that she knows she is being naughty.

We almost took her back 3 times, but each time it was in the evening and by the time morning rolled around, we reconsidered the cute little fuzzball. She really is cute. And huge. At her 10 week check-up she was a bit over 20 lbs. We're guessing she will top out at around 100 lbs.

At 12 weeks old, she is now watching everyone who walks along the road with a suspicious stare. WTF? She's a baby! Emma didn't start that until she was a year and a half. Maia, our militant alpha female, did around 6 months.


So, that is where we are. Gnawed, farted on, bemused. But we all are trying.

Or "Oh, so very trying", as my Mum would say.

And then we roll the eyes. And buy yet another chew toy.

It is getting better. Slowly but surely, better.

Molly would also like you to know that she is very happy that the snow has returned, as you can see by the pictures. Much more fun to romp in snow. You can get it impacted in your sinuses and then sneeze big, snowy boogers all over the cat-dog.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, my! As I wipe the tears of laughter off my face, I can't help but be glad it is you, dear daughter, that is training this menagerie and not me. The patience you must have! Keeping tabs on one errant R Fer is about all I can handle. Give all a hug and try not to get slobbered or farted on.

Love, C.

7:12 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

The obvious solution to the cat drinking out of the dog's bowl is to dump the dog slobber-water into the cat's bowl next time you change it. Isn't it?

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Leigh-Ann said...

I've read that you can cover the soil of houseplants with aluminum foil to deter cats from digging. I guess you can't attach the foil too tightly, or the soil would stay damp all the time, but maybe just laying it on gently would work. On the other hand, I have two cats who love foil and plastic bags, so it wouldn't be an effective solution in our house.

If you decide to try it, please let me know if it works. Oh, and don't forget the wonder of bitter apple as a deterrent from chewing on certain things, although I don't know if it would be ethical to coat the kitten in bitter apple.

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Kate W. said...

Yep- you just affirmed that I do not need a dog. But then I look at Mollys picture romping in the snow and I can just smell her sweet puppy breath and I...NO! NO! I must not be overcome!
Trust me, in the long run you WANT a cat that thinks it is a dog! Those cats are the BEST! You get white fluffy snow, we get cold miserable rain...sigh
Give that sweet Molly a big kiss on the lips from me!

10:38 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Cathy- What WERE we thinking? At least ours should get easier as they mature, unlike dear old Dad.

Teri- *head slap*

Of Course!

Leigh-Ann- I think I love you. I will try the foil suggestion. I was mulling on using something like that but had not thought of foil. I'll put some perforations in it as well. I suspect she may be using the largest pot as a second bathroom for when she just doesn't want to go down the stairs to use her box. Bleh.

Bitter apple, you say? I will also look for it. You are wonderful!

Kate- We've had 2 other young puppies that we raised and they were both a piece of cake compared to dear Maul. I think she will be a marvelous dog, provided we get through the first 1-2 years.

(I gave her a big smooch before we left this morning.)

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still remeber Ginny and Patches--the 2 partial siamese that learned that one must use the cat box my its location not function. These 2 would use the corner of the bathroom even when the box was relocated into the basement. Even better, they would hang their "business ends" over the edge of the box and proceed to utilize the floor, not the box with its nice absorbant. Much luck to you-all.

The Ole RFer

1:34 PM  
Blogger moegirl said...

It is funny to have cats with identity issues. When I was growing up we had a cat that not only believed he was human, but also head of the household. He domineered over our dog- a golden retriever/Collie Mix. He also "provided" for his family by bringing my mom dead snakes and birds, and setting them before her favorite chair if he could not find her.

Take heart that they will probably mellow with age--maybe.

I heard that citrus smell is a turn off for cats digging in your plants- like cut open an orange or a lemon and leave it in planter. My parents did this to keep their kitties away from a live Christmas tree. I guess it worked, tho, they still played with ornaments.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Dad- I remember them. They were the sweetest, dumbest little cats.

Stacy- I didn't know that about citrus. I think I'll squeaze a bit of the orange on the tin foil that Leigh-Ann suggested.

Yet another reason to be glad Kit is not going outside. The worst she will bring us is dead bugs.

5:39 PM  
Blogger listmaker said...

It sounds like a wild and crazy time chez Piffle. I've never owned a dog, but have had 4 cats in my adult life. The craziness of kittenhood is why our newest cat was adopted when she was about a year old. She's young enough to be playful and frisky, but old enough to not be a full out lunatic. She does, however, find it necessary to show us her food bowls every time we go to the basement - weird little left over quirkiness from her previous life, I suppose.

6:31 PM  
Blogger brooksba said...

How absolutely adorable! I have to giggle at the joys of baby animals. They are finding their identity and they will be funny the whole time! We had a dog one time that we thought was stupid because he kept running into walls as a puppy. He was just excited and didn't look. He grew out of it and was such a joy.

Personally, I think cats that think they are dogs are better. Much more socialable. Cute!

7:20 PM  
Blogger Cagey said...

Ah - how CUTE. That is great you got the puppy and kitten at the same time . It sounds like they are going to be best buds. :-)

9:04 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

List- oh yeah. Crazy like Thorazine with a chaser of Haldol. This is our last puppy. (It is now officially your job to throw this back at me if I consider another dog under the age of 1.)

Beth- The cuteness is the sole reason that they are alive. And here. I just went up to the loft and found that the kit has, indeed been using the big plant as a second toilet. All are foil-wrapped and have at least one chunk of orange in the pot. She is evil incarnate.

Cagey- Best buds who will conspire against us, wanna bet? What were we smoking?

OK, Stacy and Leigh-Ann: The tin foil and citrus experiment begins. Day #1.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

So true that you cannot hide things from a cat. We have found that out (the hard way) time and time again.

Sounds like your two pets have personality with a capital P!

I don't normally comment on the word verification word (or nonword), but for this comment it's "fidrinie"--reminds me of "semprini." :)

11:04 PM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...


Sorry. I don't mean to laugh. Well, yeah, I do.

You have inspired a post about some of the cat/dog activities that I've dealt with. I'll have to work on getting that up in the next day or two.

In case I haven't mentioned it lately, I adore you. I so needed this laugh.

1:42 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Rozanne- I'd forgotten that Python! I really need to go back and watch all the episodes again.

And now.....The Larch.

Dana- So glad I could entertain you with the emotional abuse meted out by our pets. Hope you are feeling better? Can't wait to read your tales. (tails?)

9:29 AM  
Blogger Babs said...

I wish we could get The Beast and my 2 cats to have the sort of semi-dysfunctional reltionship that Maul-y and Mad-Kitty enjoy (read: not kill each other).

This is currenly put off by the Beast viewing them as nothing more than cunning and elusive appetizers who live behind Trash's door.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

In all my reading about you and yours, I had no idea you had cat, let alone 2. Poor traumatized dog tormentors.

6:04 PM  
Anonymous Leigh-Ann said...

I hope you'll have great tinfoil and citrus success! I've got an orchid which has never bloomed... perhaps I need to get one of our cats to dig in it?

Regarding Bitter Apple, it's been a great thing to keep on hand. We use the spray, not the cream, and have sprayed everything from electrical cords to dog beds (for the dog who wants to lie in his bed and eat it, too). We initially tried to use Vietnamese hot sauce as a deterrent but the damn dog thought of it as an appetizer.

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