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Posts Tagged ‘cat’

Bye, Kitty

In 1999, like everyone else, I moved to San Francisco and got a job at a “dot-com” company. I was paid generously in stock options and would surely be a tens-of-thousands-aire in no time. My company was Petopia.com, the internet pet paradise. (Notice you’ve never heard of it.)

Unlike stuffy non-dot-com organizations, we had a dogs welcome policy and even had an impressive astroturf dog park in the office. One morning I was sent on an errand to the local SPCA to pick up a turtle habitat for the office. (Totally normal, right?)

This SPCA is unlike anything I had ever seen. Each cat and dog had his or her own apartment. What? You, mean cage. No, apartment. Large rooms furnished variably with bedroom, living room, even dining room furniture. The apartments were so nice, that during one particularly harsh winter storm the city housed the homeless there. (I don’t know what they did with the cats and dogs during this time. Or how they kicked the homeless people back out onto the streets in order to give the apartments back to homeless cats and dogs.)

While walking down the cat wing, I saw an apartment door was ajar. As I went to close it so the little kitty didn’t get lost, I saw the cat inside and decided I could spare a few minutes to go into her house and hang out. She was amazing. Orange long fur, demure, affectionate. I was smitten. Without thinking, or talking to my roommate or boyfriend (now husband) I adopted the cat.

I returned to work not with a turtle habitat, but with a cat. Again, totally normal. I was given an empty conference room to set the cat up for the rest of the day, and later brought her home to a surprised roommate and a reluctant boyfriend.

Fast forward a few plane rides, several apartments and houses, a couple of babies and countless tons of cat fur, and it brings us to today, when I put the cat to sleep. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made and I’m not sure it was the right one, but it’s done. I held her in my arms as she drifted away. It’s only been a couple of hours, but my house already feels emptier.

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Generally I feel confident in my abilities to do just about anything. I figure if someone else can do it, then I probably can too. This is the attitude I had at 9 or 10 when I decided the bar in my closet needed to be raised from little kid height to normal height. I got my dad’s tools and removed the brackets from the wall, repositioned them, re-screwed them in and replaced the bar. I did a fine job and the bar is still holding strong today, level and everything. It’s the attitude I had when I decided to try galloping and jumping a horse for the first time, when I traveled alone through Kenya, and when we moved to the middle of nowhere and I decided I could just take L everywhere by bike.

Lately though, I just want someone else to deal with it. Like yesterday when I was driving through the freezing rain with a very cranky, teething S and I got a flat tire. Sure I could have jacked the car up, struggled with the bolts, and put the spare on. As I imagined myself out in the freezing rain, I thought: “If I look sad and helpless enough, some guy will surely pull over to help me, right?” That’s right, I wanted to pull the helpless female card. Instead, I decided to go ahead and ruin the tire by driving it to my mechanic, so he could change it.

And it wasn’t long before I was a damsel in distress again. Just before 3AM this morning the cat started going nuts. She was chasing something, which I presumed was a mouse, all around the bedroom.

“T, do you want to get up and see what that is and take care of it?”

“Nope.”

He rolled over and went back to sleep and I stayed in bed listening to the hunt. Sure, I could have gotten up and taken care of it, but mice make me scream and stand up on furniture – something I’m not proud of, but accept about myself.

This morning, after a sleepless night, I got my favorite cords down from the shelf and as I began putting them on, a squirrel fell out of them and ran under the bed. A squirrel was in my pants!! Naturally I screamed and jumped up on the bed. L came in at the sound of my scream, and when I screamed again as the squirrel darted across the room he began to freak out. We huddled together on the bed while I (unsuccessfully) explained that the squirrel is more scared of him, that it won’t hurt him etc. My periodic shrieking did not support my claim.

Finally T came out of the shower to find me screaming and L crying on the bed. He informed me that the bed is not a safe haven. Apparently the whole ordeal started when he felt an animal (non-cat) on the bed in the middle of the night and kicked it off. That’s right, folks. The squirrel was on our bed and T just went back to sleep. I scooped up L and ran from the room shutting T, the cat, and the squirrel in there together.

T eventually caught the squirrel and released it, and later I’ll have him put poison or traps in the attic. I know that if he had not been home, the squirrel and cat would still be locked together in the bedroom and I’d stay out of the house until he came home tonight to deal with it.

I know that I’m not presenting best example of female strength and ability for my kids. I try to be the mom who can do it all: I unclog toilets, rewire stuff, put together new toys, mow the lawn, cook fabulous meals with a baby on my hip and bravely receive flu shots. But a squirrel in my pants? Changing a tire with snow on the ground and sleet coming down? No, thanks. I’ll outsource those. After all, the ability to delegate needs to be modeled too, right?

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Cat Killer?

I know that this blog is supposed to be all about motherhood and parenting and my kids, and this entry isn’t at all about any of that. But it’s my blog and I can do what I want to. Right now, my big problem is my cat.

I’ve written about her before. My sad, anxiety ridden cat. My cat who has ruined our carpeting, several throw blankets, baby blankets and playmats and recently 2 pieces of my sectional couch. My cat who for the last year, has been peeing (and sometimes pooping) all over my house. It’s been a year, a year, of this and I’ve had enough.

Prozac was meant to be the last chance. Now even that has failed and I’m faced with a really hard choice: put her to sleep or keep her, knowing that she will continue to pee on things until at some point in the future things get so bad that I’ll be faced with this choice again. Adoption isn’t an option. She’s a 15-year-old, indoor cat who pees inappropriately. Taking her to a no-kill shelter isn’t a good option either as I feel like it’s not a kindness to her. She’d be so unhappy, and unhappiness is her big problem. Sequestering her isn’t an option either. We’ve done that and it only made things worse.

Am I really capable of packing my cat into her carrier, bringing her to the vet and having them kill her? Because she pees?? I wish this was more black and white. I wish she was sick, in pain, suffering. I wish I wasn’t the grown up here and that this problem could just go over my head to the person who is really in charge.

Right now she’s on my lap. This sucks. I thought I was going to be putting her down today, but I can’t. If I’m going to do it at all, it will have to wait for Friday when I have some time with no kids so I can take care of it. Am I a very bad person to consider this? Am I going to be wracked with guilt for the rest of my life if I do it?

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Cat Update

People have been asking me what happened with my cat in the end. (For the whole story, check out Kitty is Depressed.) I’m amazed to say that the Prozac seems to be working. She now has the run of the house again and has not peed and pooped anywhere except her litter box! I shudder to think how close I was to putting her to sleep! So, for now, she has a new lease on life. That combined with the ingenious concoction of baking soda, dish soap and hydrogen peroxide to get the cat pee smell out of the carpet, life over here is pretty good, cat-pee-wise anyway.

I wonder if I put some Prozac into L’s milk if he’d stop pooping in his pants? (Kidding, I won’t drug the kid. I really probably won’t.)

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So, today sucked. I want to pretend it didn’t happen. All day I was wrestling with the idea that I might be putting my cat to sleep today. It was awful. Finally I spoke with my vet and we decide to give Prozac a shot, so I don’t have to make that terrible choice. Not today anyway. But now I’m emotionally spent, and I haven’t spent any of it on my kids yet.

Enter S who is sick or teething or something because if she’s awake, she’s crying if I’m not holding her. Enter L who has absolutely no regard for anything I say or want, and routinely runs away from me. Enter my temper.

I tried and tried to be calm. I tried and tried to be nice. I tried and tried to just hold it together. Spoiler alert: I failed.

“L, I know you want to stay outside, but it’s time to go in now.” He runs away.

“L, you need to listen to me. I told you we had 5 minutes left, then 2 minutes, and now it’s time to go in.” He continues running, now saying “Haha, you can’t catch me!”

“L, please listen to what I’m saying. Come.In.Now.” He turns his back to me.

“L, I’m getting angry.” Nothing.

“I’m going to count, when I get to 3, I will be angry and you will be getting a time out…1……….2……………………….(I gave him a lot of time here)…….3!”

And then, out of the depths of me came the rage.

L was grabbed and dragged inside and upstairs. S is crying on my hip while L is hitting me and trying to bite me. (Keep in mind that S is 20 lbs and I’ve been carrying her all day, and L is 40 lbs.)  I’m screaming in my meanest voice things like “I WAS TRYING TO BE NICE DAMMIT! WHY CAN’T YOU JUST BE GOOD SO I CAN BE A NICE MOM AND NOT HAVE TO YELL ALL THE TIME? WHY DO YOU MAKE IT SO IMPOSSIBLE TO BE NICE TO YOU? LOOK WHAT YOU DID! NOW THE BABY IS CRYING!” (As if S is crying because of L’s lack of compliance and not because of my terrifying voice.) It’s hours later now and my throat still hurts. So does my pride.

What I’ve learned is that I’m perfectly capable of my new nice-mommy approach, except with things get hard. Then I revert back to crap-mom.

Tomorrow has to be better, right? Right????

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Kitty is Depressed

Generally, when I think of my role as a mother, I’m thinking of my relationship to L and S. But long before I had them, long before I was even married, waaaaay back in 1999, I adopted a 4-year-old cat from the local animal shelter and thus first became a “mom”. So, it follows that my WTF moments sometimes involve her. Today’s WTF moment is the fact that my cat is on Prozac.

No, L’s defiance and contrary streak haven’t been getting to the cat as well. It’s actually S who was my cat’s last straw. This second child, another insult to my cat’s position in the family, just put her over the edge.

It started as a mystery. When S was a couple of months old and I was putting her down on the floor on blankets or playmats, I noticed a strong pee smell in the area. I couldn’t find the source. Finally, I found a wet spot on a blanket left on the floor. I blamed L. I thought he was acting out as a reaction to the baby and that he peed on her blanket. I got mad. He apologized. I thought that was that.

The pee smell persisted and one day I caught my cat in the act. (Why didn’t L deny the charge?) I could not believe it. This was a cat that had no annoying habits. She never meowed, never woke us up, didn’t scratch, claw at things etc. She was the perfect cat. I brought her to the vet. Clean bill of health. Went home with the advice not to leave baby blankets on the floor.

To compress a months’ long saga into a short one, the pee apparently soaked through the blankets into the carpet and once the smell is there the cat keeps peeing there. I used every cleaning product and concoction known to man. It’s through the carpet to the padding and probably the wood underneath. My only solution will be to replace my carpeting. Bad cat.

Months went by and we lived like this. The cat peed. I got crazy mad. I cleaned to no avail. Finally, I had enough. I brought her to the vet. Went home with the advice to sequester my cat to a different, smaller, area of the house. So, that’s how the cat came to live only in my master bedroom and bathroom. She has almost no human contact during the day. After a month of this, I guess she had enough, and she began her campaign of biological warfare.

As T and I climbed into bed, the cat jumped up and pooped in the middle of the bed. Holy shit. Despite every urge to take her outside and throw her in the woods  right then and there, we decided that what she needed was more attention and affection.

The next two days saw the cat reintroduced to the rest of the house, and to human contact. She was pet, brushed and held. She was around people all day. Surely she’d be happy now? Well, that’s when she peed on the bed and started peeing on the couches. That brings me to today. I called the vet. Prozac is this cat’s last shot. I’ve been feeling horrible all day knowing that soon I might be making a decision to put the cat down. She’s 15 years old, poops and pees everywhere – this is not a cat I can live with, and not a cat that is adoptable. This is sad. Maybe we should both start the Prozac.

So, wish us luck. Hopefully the Prozac will work; otherwise I’ll be facing a terrible decision. 😦

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