For the cat(s)

 

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

I’m just going to acknowledge first and foremost that my mother isn’t going to like what I’m about to share with you. Nope. She’s already shared her feelings, but, I’m going to have to go out on a limb and do something she’s not going to be excited about (sorry mom). I’m getting a new kitty-cat. Since we had to put our long-time pal Delilah down in November, our little kitty Shasta just hasn’t really figured things out without her. We picked Shasta up when she was a kitten, and the hubs picked up Delilah from the pound in Santa Barbara. I lived with Delilah for almost 10 years, and have had Shasta for just about seven.

It’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t have pets at home what it’s like having pets. I love having animals around, heck, I’m partial to fish, too. But, when your pet isn’t right, it’s the worst thing ever. They can’t just come out and tell you, “hey, I’m feeling a bit lonely.” They do what they do, which usually involves behaving in a way that isn’t fantastic, sometimes annoying, and often darn-right-out-of-control horrible.

So, when we walked in the house the night we put Delilah down and Shasta saw she was now the lone cat of the house, she let out a truly sorrowful yeowl that caused both the hubs and I to succumb to horrid gasping dry heaving bawling.

And, guess what? The Shasta cat hasn’t stopped yeoooooowling.

She meeeeeeeeeows all hours of the day and night. It’s not like a social “what’s up” kind of meow, it’s a “I’m lost” kind of meow.

And, it’s the worst.

We’ve been up with her in the middle of the night, we’ve given her loads of extra attention, we’ve played with her, we’ve talked with her, we’ve chased her, we’ve thrown things at her, and we’ve doused her with the water gun.

She’s still yeooowling.

Getting rid of the Shasta cat isn’t an option.

So, another kitty-cat it is.

Meet Coco.

(sorry mom)

🙂

The lonely cat

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

Well, as some of you know, one of our cats recently moved to the Los Gatos hills (really, her ashes are scattered there), leaving our wonderous wee cat, Shasta, behind. Shasta only knew Delilah. She came to us as a kitten from a calico mama and a ferril cat dad. She really took to my husband when we picked her out, which made me mad because she was supposed to be MY cat. But, we still showed up the next day to take her home, helping out a work-mate of mine who didn’t want another litter of strays in her backyard.

Shasta REALLY loved Delilah. Delilah didn’t want anything to do with Shasta. I ended up locking them in the bathroom and walking away one afternoon hoping they’d figure it out.

And, they did.

It’s not like they were inseparable, but they tolerated each other. And, on good days, they enjoyed sleeping on the bed together, bringing way too many mice into the various places we lived, and chasing things about – mainly each other.

When Delilah’s time came, it was hard enough on the hubs and I. But, seriously, the minute we walked in the house after putting Delilah down, the noise that came out of Shasta was the worst thing I think I’ve ever heard.

The worst

I cried so hard that night listening to her yeowling and yeowling while walking about the house.

Well, it’s been a couple of months now, and the husband (surprise!) is the one ready for another cat. I’m still a bit reluctant. You see, even though Shasta isn’t really a big people person, or a lap-cat, or a well-behaved-not-peeing-in-the-corner-when-pissed cat, she’s kinda my cat and I’m worried she’s going to tear another cat to pieces or feel we are trying to replace her.

Yesterday the husband made us stop and look at rescue kittens. I was totally against it. Then, I started understanding. Maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea (yeah, mom, I know you aren’t excited about this…).

I am not sure how many more days I can take coming home to a cat that hasn’t left the bed, a cat that isn’t eating, a cat that only visits us at night for a short amount of time to then lurks back to the bed to sleep. A cat that happily spent her days playing in the yard, bringing us snakes and defending our yard, which now stares at the walls.

Over the last few weeks, I have shut Shasta out of the house enduring her horrid meowing to be let back in, tossed about countless amounts of string, bottle caps, catnip toys and treats only to watch the child pick the neglected things up and play with them. I’ve offered new food, tasty cooked vitals, and even (gasp) milk.

Nothing.

Well, what would you do?!

The damn cat needs a new friend.

Anyone have advice for me?

Oh, kitty.

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

On top of all the crazy holiday stuff, our cat decided it was her time to not be a cat. It was a normal day, and I was busy doing my thing while the babe napped, and then, while enticing the wee tot with some pasta, I heard a noise. And, it was a noise that needed immediate attention.

You see, we recently discovered that our cat was deaf. She was old (like 110 in our years) and was starting to become a little more bothersome than normal. The hubs and I figured it was due to the changing temperature, the amount of food we were giving her – the fact that our child walks on her…

Neither one of us wanted to acknowledge that it was more so probably due to the fact that she was old. OLD.

When I met my husband, he had this cat. This cat was his GIRL. And, she knew it. I don’t think she fully accepted me until last year as a part of HER household.

I was so worried when I got pregnant that Delilah was going to start peeing in the corners, scratching the house to shreds or acting all crazy-like. Actually, Delilah was the one who let the baby grab her tail, touch her whiskers and seriously squash her.

She totally let our daughter get away with tons. And, I think she actually liked it.

So, today when I head her give some big-ol YEOOOOOWLS, I knew there was something going on. I mean, I know she’s deaf and all, but, wow, this was something else.

I found her at the bottom of the outside deck stairs, and she was sitting in an odd position. She couldn’t move. Her back legs weren’t working.

I knew this was bad.

I tossed the babe in the crib (because I knew she was safe there) and got out the flashlight (because it’s dark now) and found her. She didn’t fight me when I picked her up – which made me realize it was really bad. I knew at that moment things weren’t going to go well for the rest of the evening.

I called the hubs. He had a feeling.

We met up at the vet.

Within the hour we were forced to make the decision. Did we want to put our cat through potentially weeks of not knowing what was wrong, keeping her confined while doing blood tests, racking up hundreds of dollars of tests……

Yeah, I know some of you out there would do it. But, we aren’t you. We both knew in a moment and a quick look that this was it. This was the moment.

It was time to help our amazingly wonderful fantastic cat move on to the next part of whatever was to come for her.

We both bawled.

Thanks, Delilah, for almost 20-years of awesomeness. We all loved spending time with you, pulling your tail, bitching about all the f*cking black hair you left everywhere, and your ability to look good at all times.

You rock.

I love you and miss you already.

Delilah

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

Well, it’s official. Our cat is deaf. It’s a little sad – and a bit entertaining at the same time. I really didn’t figure it out until a couple of days ago when I noticed she wasn’t awaiting our arrival at the door to yowl for food, which is her normal behavior. In fact, she was sleeping so soundly I actually nudged her to make sure she was okay.

The cat was still breathing – but what I didn’t realize was that she couldn’t hear us coming up the stairs to alert her of our arrival to then stand at the top of the stairs and begin her ritual yowling.

After a few days, I asked the hubs about it. He clapped around her, stomped his feet, said her name… She eventually (with total disdain) turned her head to him. He declared her perfectly fit.

I did some research with my trusty computer and was told to do the vacuum test. Basically, turn your vacuum on when your cat’s back is turned and see if they bolt – unless you have a cat that loves the vacuum, but I’m not really sure if I’ve ever heard of a cat that LIKES the vacuum.

The other day, Delilah was happily lick-licking away at her long black fur so I picked up the handy-vac and turned it on. Nothing. I even went so far as to vacuum her. Nothing. She didn’t even turn her head. If fact, she meowed.

Either we have a cat that totally doesn’t care anymore or a cat that is totally deaf.

I’m leaning toward the deaf thing.

I still think she’s an awesome cat and love the fact that she lets our daughter sit on her, pull her tail, and squeeze her around the neck. I realize now that part of the deal is Delilah can’t hear her coming, so is potentially more tolerant to the babe because of it. But, she also gets loads of affection out of the deal – along with lots of leftovers from the daughter’s dinners.

Healthful Mondays: Pets

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

I have two cats. One that my husband had before I met him over 10 years ago, and the other I picked up seven years ago because I thought having a kitten would be fun. Well, that kitten grew up, the other cat has gotten old, and now our cat pets are the topic of many discussions in our home.

When I got pregnant, I was so worried about the cats. That was “before.” Those of you that have kids and had pets “before” know what I’m talking about. You USED to slather your pets with attention (even if they acted like you didn’t exist) and go out of your way to do nice things for them – like buy fancy shmancy food and stuff. Were the cats going to be okay with the new addition to the family? Should I get a cat cover for the crib so they don’t want to snuggle with the baby? Are they going to scratch the babe – or bite her?

REALLY?!

Our cats didn’t care a fig about us other than to make sure we fed them and opened the door to let them out. Neither one ever slept in the bed with us or snuggled with us on the couch – so they totally weren’t going to do that with a new wiggling screaming thing.

AND. If they didn’t like the addition of a new baby – tough. They’re cats. They’ll get over it.

Thankfully I didn’t invest in any cat screen covers or anything, and when we brought the baby home (the hubs even took the baby blanket home for them to smell the night before as suggested) they sure didn’t behave any differently. In the almost two years of our child’s life, only one cat has let her touch it, and we’ve figured it’s due to the fact that she can’t hear, or probably really see, anymore.

Our cats want to go outdoors all hours of the night, which keeps me awake the entire night, making me feel a bit crazy in the morning – like I’m breastfeeding an infant again. The old-deaf one walks about making this horrid yowling noise mainly because she can’t hear herself and because she feels she should be fed every five minutes. And, they scratch scratch scratch at everything.

Okay. Pets DO have wonderful benefits. They are adorable. They are soft and petting pets helps lower your stress level and increase your ability to bond and create healthy relationships. Interacting with pets also encourages activity – even if it’s dangling string in front of your kitty.

So, on the days that I’m ready to lock the cats out for good, I think about how cute they are, how the big old one lets our daughter pull her tail and even sit on her, and that the other wee one brings us snakes because she loves us.

Ah, pets.

The preschool situation

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

Well, as you know, my daughter just started preschool, and I went back to school with her. So, not only is she getting used to a new routine, I’m right there with her. Things have been going pretty smoothly (for the most part), but I knew it was only a matter of time before things started to get crazy.

Ironically, I had just been chatting with my friends over at the Motherboard about hitting the preschool scene. My daughter has a bit of a runny nose from her first foray with various germs that she wasn’t exposed to in my squeaky-clean house (HA!) and I was curious if this was a common occurrence with other babes. That’s when things really started to go bump in the night.

Really.

First off, my cat has been really enjoying bringing in various living creatures to visit (like snakes) and we’ve had to nip that in the bud by keeping all doors securely closed at night. This sometimes means that wee kitty is left outdoors to fend for herself. Don’t worry – she’s a big girl. But, that didn’t stop her from making some major noise the other night, which woke me up, which then woke up the babe.

I couldn’t get her back to sleep.

So, there we were. Wide-awake at 4 am in the morning – on a school day.

Blech.

Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t only essential for growing kids, but for adults, too. When everyone is happily rested, it sure is lots easier to gather homework, pack lunch, and easily, and calmly, drop the little bugger off at school. AND, he’ll probably skip away with a huge smile on his face, too.

I’ve learned that having everything ready to go the night before helps ensure that on those crazed mornings (whether due to cat shenanigans or a snoring husband), I get my daughter to school with her important essentials – like food and water. I’m so fine with the fact that she often has on miss-matched clothes or grabbed a unique lovey item to share at school during the day (like my watch).

So, let’s be honest. I’m also having a bit of an issue with the fact that my wee baby IS old enough to go to preschool. AND, that she literally does skip away from me with a huge grin on her face at drop off. Granted, I’m next door and we sometimes see each other during the day, but she sure doesn’t care when I say “bye” and head to my classroom.

I’m learning how to understand that she’s a big girl now, and is ready to have her own adventures without me. It still makes me a little sad, but I’m figuring this whole thing out as I go.

We all are, aren’t we?

Our cat loves snakes (me, not so much).

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

Some of you may be aware of our cat and snake issue. It seems our cat is REALLY happy in our new house because she is bringing squiggly snake presents to us on a regular basis. I’m so glad she’s showering us with her cat-love, but I’ve had enough. Between picking up, re-depositing, and walking around the house twitching, I’m also pretty sleep deprived and having countless serpentine dreams.

I finally snapped a picture of the one of two (YES, two) snakes that made a visit to our home yesterday and was able to determine they are a harmless itty-bitty type of snake native to Northern California. SO, luckily they are no threat to us humans (other than being just icky). But the real question is, where are they ALL COMING FROM?!

The first night, I thought the cat had a piece of string or something, until I turned the light on and saw the string give a good slither. I totally freaked, started screaming, the cat went running, the baby started crying, the husband kept snoring, AND the snake made its way under the floorboards. I figured that would be the end of it.

Nope.

The next afternoon, my husband made some interesting noises as he went down the stairs and then let out a good whooooop. The cat had deposited another wriggler in the hallway. I headed over (because I am the designated snake-wrangler), picked the little guy up with the help of a towel, and re-positioned him across the driveway in an area the cats DON’T GO.

And, then it was quiet for a couple of days.

Yesterday there was a double-header with a visit from a snake around the babe’s bedtime (also re-deposited far far away from the house in a non-cat visiting location) and then another late night. That one got thrown out the bedroom window with some pretty good force (sorry wee snake). I can’t fathom that these snakes are really the SAME snake, which then kept me up for the rest of the night as I imagined a den of snakes slithering about under the house.

There’s some old wood hanging out  under the deck off our bedroom, which also happens to be our snake-cat’s favorite hangout of the moment.

My plans for the day include donning long pants, socks that come up to my knees, boots, and going at the woodpile with a shovel to try to locate the darn snakes. Hopefully there wont be anymore. I don’t think I can take it.

Anyone interested in some brown snakes? They are free for the taking…

5:30 am

I love my cats. We have two cats and they are very different. One is old and fat and doesn’t do much other than beg for food, shed her long hair all over the place and lie on the floor. She has so mastered the art of lying on the floor that I have recently started nudging her to make sure she is still alive. The other cat is small and fast, and enjoys spending time outdoors. Neither one gives a crap about us other than when they want to eat or be let outside.

When I got pregnant I had crazy visions of the cats wanting to sleep with the baby in the crib, the cats scratching my baby, the cats doing nasty things to the baby…. None of these things happened. The fact is, I don’t think either cat COULD jump into our daughter’s crib even if they really wanted to, and just like my husband and I, they don’t really care about her unless she were to start feeding them or letting them outside.

Everyone adjusted to each other fairly well after our daughter joined the household. The small cat runs and hides when she comes near her and the big fat cat just lies there. She even lets our daughter pull her tail without protest, which seriously surprises me.

So, the cats are okay. Our daughter is okay. I am not.

My side of the bed is the side that has the sliding glass doors that open to allow the cats to go outdoors. My husband, who slept soundly through the first year of nights with baby, sleeps through everything. He doesn’t hear the scratch, scratch, scratch at 5:30 am. He doesn’t hear anything. One night I tried yelling at him to see if he would wake up in an emergency. He didn’t even roll over (that’s a whole other story).

It seems the cats have decided that the break of dawn means it is time to go outside and chase the awakening birds. It seems I am the one that has to suffer through the incessant scritch, scratch, scratch of the cats’ nails against the glass. I get up in a daze, open the door, the cats go running out, and without fail my daughter wakes up.

She falls back asleep. I don’t.

I have been living life on 5 hours of sleep for two weeks. I feel like I am slowly going insane. I would like to strangle the cats, but they’re so darn cute.

So, until I figure out a way to leave the sliding glass doors open without allowing the raccoons in, causing our heat bills to be astronomical or train the cats to jump out a window to get outdoors, I will be walking around in a daze.

I did pick up some water guns the other day. Maybe some good cold early morning squirts to my kitty-cats’ heads will keep the scritch-scratching away.

I’ll let you know.