What's Not to Laugh?

Almost everything about aging–except grave illness and death–can be funny as well as disturbing. I try to find the funny and help us all get through it!

Archive for the tag “adopted cat”

Who moved my potty?

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Something new to kvetch about

Penelope again, checking in. I haven’t had too much to whine about lately…although that never stops me. But recently, my humans did a switcheroo on me. They relocated my potty (known as the litter box to you).

Ever since I joined their household (July 2014), the litter box was in the first floor powder room. It’s an intimate, dark space, perfect for privacy while doing one’s business. The only drawback was that guests also used that space to do their business. But that wasn’t a concern of mine because the mere sight of a guest…or even the ding-dong of the doorbell…has me running into my favorite far-away spot.

I like my mom and dad, but I  refuse to mingle with anyone else. (It looks like I’m terrified of outsiders, but that’s not the case; I just choose not to associate with them.) I had been hoping that guests would decide to avoid sharing a potty room with a feline, even though I’m meticulous in my potty hygiene. (Okay, I’ll admit to getting a little aggressive and flailing around a bit of litter. Just a bit though.) But when everyone leaves and I feel confident that I’ll have privacy again, I enter the room and see the evidence: used paper towels in the wastebasket. Many people have used the room! The only good news? I didn’t see any of them. I was busy hiding…er, sheltering in place…in an upstairs bedroom.

Then, one day not too long ago, my mom called to me while holding my empty potty. “See, Penelope? Your litter box will now be here,” and she set it down next to the washing machine in a little alcove dedicated to laundry. She filled it with litter, relocated all the other equipment that goes with it, and said, “It’s ready now when you are.”

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My new (cramped) potty space

Am I ready to change the habits I refined in the last two years? Am I ready to do my business with the sloshing and spinning of the washer and bumping and thumping of the dryer as sound effects?

Do I have a choice? Sure, many of my fellow felines have been known to relieve themselves anywhere and everywhere, but that’s not me. Besides, I depend on the kindness of these two people who feed me, talk to me, give me belly rubs, and most important of all, scoop my poop.

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She’s real…honest

As regular readers know, we have a cat. I assume you believe me that we have a cat, her name is Penelope, and she sometimes writes blog posts. (Okay, I understand if you don’t believe that she actually writes those posts, but you do believe that we have a cat…don’t you?)

Why am I asking this question? It seems that the people who have been to our home may be wondering if it’s all a ruse. They may be thinking that we place various cat toys and scatching posts strategically around the house, fill a plastic box with litter, and put out food and water bowls just to keep the ruse going.

Penelope (our real cat, honest) loves us but is terrified of everyone else. At the first ding of the front doorbell, she flies up the stairs and into the most remote snug space she can fit into. She stays in that spot, ignoring her need to use the litter box or her growling stomach, and doesn’t emerge until she’s absolutely certain that the last guest has departed.

If she happens to be on the first floor when somebody comes through the front door, she scurries up the stairs so fast, you’d think you just saw an animated grey streak.

Her current hiding place is a tiny space behind my husband’s Elfa rolling filing cart that’s tucked under his drawing table in his office. It’s impossible to find her there unless you’ve exhausted your search of all the logical and illogical places in the house. To be sure she’s there, you have to lie flat on the floor and look for a glimpse of fur between the legs of the table and wires of the cart.

Nobody can see me here, can they?

Nobody can see me here, can they?

Her most feared guests, I’m afraid, are my twin grandsons. They love cats and have one of their own, Nimbus. But Nimbus, besides being as big as a medium-sized dog, is the coolest, most easy-going cat I’ve ever met. He strolls around the house, rubbing against anyone who happens to be around. He’ll lick your hand and snuggle up against you, never uttering a sound.

The boys, no matter how many times I tell them that Penelope is frightened of strangers, will scour our home trying to find her. If they discover her hiding place, she’ll scurry out of it and look for another. Once, when they were younger, she was trapped under the loveseat in the living room, hissing at one of the boys as he laid on the floor trying to entice her out. That was the first and only hiss we witnessed. It meant she had reached the peak of her terror.

I think they've all gone now. I'm hungry.

I think they’ve all gone now. I’m hungry.

The twins, therefore, can attest to the fact that Penelope is real. But other guests still have their doubts. If you’re one of the doubters, I invite you to cat-sit for us. You may not see Penelope, but eventually you’ll notice that the once-full food bowl is empty and the once-pristine litter box has clumps that need to be scooped. What more proof do you need?

Penelope: I’m bored

Can't you tell I'm bored?

Can’t you tell I’m bored?

I don’t expect anyone reading this to actually help me fight boredom, but since whining (kvetching) is what I do best, I had to write this post. I’m a growing girl (I’ll be 4 years old in July…I think), so I have lots of energy and need lots of stimulation.

And speaking of growing, I’m hearing not-so-kind talk from my owners these days. “She’s getting fat!” is practically a daily announcement. Can I help it if you feed me several times a day? Is it my fault that you put treats in my bowl? Do you hear me distinctly saying, “I’m hungry” or “I need a treat”? I didn’t think so. Nevertheless, if I am putting on the ounces, that’s all the more reason I need outlets for my energy.

For months, I was happy to chase a little red laser beam around the house. It was fun, even if I could never quite catch it. Then, suddenly, it wasn’t fun anymore. I realized the futility of it and decided to give up.

Then there’s the game She’s named Mousie. She tosses one of dozens of catnip mice (I managed to bat most of them under the refrigerator, so there are only a few accessible) across the room, and I run after it. Sometimes She tosses it right at me, and I catch it! I can jump high into the air to make the catch, and She always claps afterward. But then she spoils the moment by adding, “I’m afraid you’re going to get hurt jumping like that!”

I still like playing Mousie, most of the time.

In the bedroom, I have a small cardboard box that’s open on both ends so I can crawl through it. I can also roll around in it and even try to catch a rope that She or He dangles over my head. That’s still fun.

Now that it’s spring, I get to sit by the window and watch the birds dart from tree to tree. If only there was no window screen and window between us, I’d show that feathered creature who’s boss. I also watch as cars drive by and people walking their dogs pass the window. Those dogs think they’re so privileged, getting to run around outside and breathe fresh air. I’ve been outside—when I was homeless on the mean Chicago streets—and it’s not so special. And inside I’m protected from nasty fleas and ticks. Cats have it better! But I digress.

So I have things to do. But…it’s not enough. Please don’t send in suggestions about some of those “self-amusing” cat toys shown on TV. We’ve had a few of them, and I chose to ignore them. What good is any toy without a devoted human to interact with me? I want nothing less than constant attention. Except when I’m napping. Or eating. Or using my litter box.

Most important of all, don’t dare suggest that our household needs another cat for me to play with. I am the only Princess, Cutie Pie, Sweet Patootie, Kitten Kaboodle, and any of those silly names my owners call me. And I don’t share.

 

My pet peeves

Hi again. It’s Penelope. I liked the experience of blogging so much (or as much as I like anything) that I thought I’d do it again. This timPenelope_crop2e I’m going to point out the annoying things my owners do. Please don’t misunderstand. I have a good life with them, and I’m reasonably happy. But it could be so much better

if She would just call me Penelope and stop using those insipid cutesy names. All day long I hear, “Hi, Sweet Patootie!” or “Here’s my Lover Dover.” And there’s “Kitten Caboodle” and “Cutie Pie” and “Baby Girl.” Okay, I get it. She loves me and finds me adorable. That’s good, but for heaven’s sake, I’m an adult cat! Three-and-a-half years old (or thereabouts)! I don’t know what that is in people years, but it sure isn’t a baby or even a toddler. Let’s have some mature name-calling here.

if they would not go off and leave me at times during the day. I don’t mind it so much when one of them leaves, although I manage to have that forlorn look that makes the person leaving feel guilty. I’ve perfected it. But sometimes both of them are gone at the same time. For several hours. Do they even think about how I feel with nobody to play with? I have toys, sure, but they’re no fun without someone waving them in front of me or chasing me while I run after the laser dot.

if they wouldn’t go to bed at night just when I’m feeling most vigorous and playful. I try to make my feelings known by bouncing on and off the bed, catching pieces of blanket with my back claws as I go. But do they change their minds and get up to pay attention to me? Of course not.

if they would stop scolding me for scratching the furniture and rugs. This isn’t their first cat. They must know that a cat has needs, and one of them is to sharpen those claws wherever and whenever. Besides, I rarely make any holes in the upholstery. Or pull up threads in the rug. And I think the “you have a cat, don’t you?” decor is trending.

My owners are not young, so teaching them new tricks may be a lost cause. Plan B is to be so loveable and charming that they can’t bear to leave me and will eagerly devote their days (and nights) to my needs. I think I have a chance.

New cat, different experience

Last Saturday we made it official: We agreed to adopt little Miss Penelope from Heartland Animal Shelter. We returned to the shelter to decide if we would adopt beautiful Cinnamon, a 7-year-old rotund but sweet girl who needs to be the only cat in a home or adorable Tazzi, a tuxedo (black-and-white) girl who is a little younger but also very sweet. Just before returning to the shelter, we agreed to give Miss Penelope another look. It had been hard to tell much about her earlier because she was confined to her cage. She had not yet had a rabies shot, and she was recovering from the spaying procedure—and giving birth to 6 kittens. We were allowed to put our hands in the cage and could tell that she was gentle and welcoming, but we hadn’t seen her moving about or interacting with the other cats. She’s three years old and weighs 7 pounds. According to her shelter profile, “she never met a human she didn’t like.”

We took a leap of faith and chose her. We were to pick her up the next week, and yesterday (Thursday, July 31) we arrived at the shelter to meet with the adoption counselor and take Penelope home. (We’re dropping the “Miss.” Penelope itself is four syllables long…no need for a fifth.) It was a pleasant experience, but the only time I’ve signed my name or initials more times was when we refinanced our mortgage!

When I asked about helpful hints for keeping the fully clawed cat from destroying our furniture, the counselor mentioned keeping her claws trimmed. She suggested we watch her do that and learn how to do it ourselves.  That’s when she retrieved Penelope and brought us all into another room. She methodically clipped each of the cat’s claws, and Penelope did not budge—nor complain. We knew then that she would be an easy-going pet.

After the adoption process, we brought her home and put her in the safe room that we had created (our first floor powder room, equipped with litter box, food and water bowls, a box with a cutout that she could hide in if she needed to, and toys). The shelter had given us the small blanket that she used in her cage because it had her scent on it and would relax her.

She was in there about a half-hour. When my husband carefully opened the door to check on her, she bounded out and started exploring her new territory. She stopped every now and then to rub against us and get petted. When we went upstairs, she did too. In fact, she made herself at home on our bed. (See photo.) And she slept with us all night. Correction: She slept most of the night and spent the rest of the time mewing and walking all over us, but the good news is that she’s comfortable with us.Penelope_bedroom

She’s also perfectly at home clawing at our upholstered furniture. Since we’ve made the decision not to declaw (so far), we will be training her to use the scratching post and pads and we’ll put deterrents on our furniture. Penelope also has very long legs—something we didn’t see while she was in her cage, which means she can leap even higher to land on our countertops. Gentle training will be needed.

Will Penelope contribute to this blog like her predecessor did? Stay tuned.

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