Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Things I Have Learned From Having Pets

This week Le Bug turns 8 years old. And instead of getting a new toy or treats she will be heading with Beans to my father's house so I can go snowboarding. She's going to be very upset with me and probably spend the duration of her stay hiding under the bed in my childhood bedroom hissing at anyone who dares to look at her. She has serious separation anxiety. When she was 1 year old I went to Hawaii for two weeks and my mother said she sat at the top of the stairs crying all night. What can I say? She's my baby.

The little squirts:

I grew up with a myriad of animals in our house. At any given time there were always 2-3 cats, a dog, my two bunnies, my sister's birds, we both had hampsters, and I also had turtles. But I never really did much in the way of ownership care until I decided to adopt my cats as an adult. I had never even scooped litter before I brought Bug home. But those first 24 hours were a whirlwind of experience and I quickly learned to take care of a small, helpless creature who was totally dependent upon me. So it being 8 years since my little rugrat was born, I thought I'd make a list of some of the things I have learned over the past few years.

Here we go...

Apparently there's something about my hair that Bug has to always be attached to it. I've come to think that maybe she doesn't necessarily love me, just my hair. Because when my hair is up in a bun and she can't immerse her face in it, she doesn't seem all that interested in cuddling. 


And Bug is not the only one obsessed with my hair. This gal is Bella, aka Marilyn, aka my favorite four-legged New Yorker.

Is this normal? Does anyone else with pets experience the hair attachment?

Sick days really aren't so bad, especially when you have the most comfortable bed in the world and a furbaby to spend the day napping with. The only time I've been sick and not appreciated having pets in when I had the flu and Bug didn't understand that I was not okay with her climbing all over me. She doesn't understand the concept of personal space. 

Why bother purchasing cat toys when an empty box is really a cat's favorite toy? I have not, nor do I want to, estimated how much I have spent over the years on cat toys, treats, scratching posts, etc. My sister is fond of saying my girls are spoiled. They have mousie toys, mini softballs, catnip toys, etc. But an empty box is easily the best thing they could ever have. I mean, I totally get it. When I was little building forts with my sister and cousins was one of my favorite things. It's free, it's easy, it lets you use your imagination. I don't think Bug and Beans are using their imaginations. They're just playing It's mine!

Growing up, our family cats were not cuddlers. They roamed the house and would ask for a fly-by pet when you passed them, but they weren't the type to be picked up, or sit on your lap, etc. And they certainly never slept on my head. So I was unaware of the amazing thing that is cuddling. And then when I got Bug I started toting her around the apartment on her back like a baby (where is a baby bjorn when you really need one?) and I guess we both just assumed that was how it was going to be. At some point she decided she was too big for baby carrying and now insists on the two-paw hug (one on either side of my neck). 
And then we have Miss Beans. Who knew that a cat could be as addicted to TV as I am? I must preface that up until a few years ago Beans didn't like cuddling, necessarily being held, and especially didn't like being kissed on the head (when I would try she would lean away with a look of panic on her face). You would have thought I was trying to give her an enema every time I picked her up, from the way she squirmed to get free. Somewhere over the past few years she must have watched me smother Bug with love so often that it changed her mind. Now she headbutts me repeatedly if I don't pay attention to her. And often during calls with my mother she'll ask What is that sound? Oh you know, just me repeatedly kissing Beans on the forehead.

I mean look at those little paws? How can you not just melt into a puddle at her adorabless? Don't you just want to boop her on the nose? Gah!

I should also include throwup. I used to get grossed out changing diapers when I babysat. Then I got cats. And now poop, throwup, blood, it doesn't phase me. In my first 24 hours with Bug she pooped all over herself. It wasn't her fault (it never is) - she was in a new place, was just a baby, and had an accident. The past month I've had to clean her up almost daily (she has pantaloons) because she was on some medication that effected her insides. Poop, schmoop. I'm not scared.
Then we have Beans who likes to scarf her food and them race around the apartment. So obviously she then barfs it all up. Usually in the middle of the night. Sometimes on my things. Last week it was on a sock that hadn't made it into the laundry basket. That'll teach me! I've learned that I do not like carpet. Wood floors are so much easier to clean when you have pets. Germs on public door handles or holding onto the rail while riding the T induce fits of hand washing, but a little bit of poop on my hand - psht! Aint nothing.

Once you bring a pet into your house there is no place that hair can't go. Mostly, I find it in my eyeballs. I guess I shouldn't rub my face all over Beans' head. My bad. The minute I bring a new item of clothing into the house, regardless of whether it even goes near one of the cats, it suddenly has hair on it. I should stop buying anything black because black seems to attract white hair like a magnet. I don't understand the physics of it. It's like there's a special rule regarding cat hair and clothes.

And then we have furniture. Nothing is safe. I bought the chair below and Bug immediately deemed it her personal scratching post, even though she has an actual scratching post. My mother wanted me to use leopard print duct tape to cover the chair but then it would look even more ridiculous than just a torn up chair. I'm too embarrassed to show you my luggage. Let's just say when it comes off the conveyor belt at the airport everyone looks at it like Who the heck has a lion at home? Even materials that are smooth and not conducive to clawing, like leather, are at risk. My father's leather easy chair? I'm not taking the blame for that (it's totally my cats' fault). But here's the thing, furniture is replaceable. My cats are not. And no one ever sits in that chair anyways, so whatever.

Growing up I never really loved our family pets. I mean I loved our dog (most of the time, except when he barked excessively in the car right behind my ear as he scrambled to gain purchase and crawl into the front seat) but I wasn't over the moon about him. And the cats were just sort of... there. But then I grew up and adopted two goobers of my own and my friends and family will tell you I adore those little critters more than anything the world over. Regardless of my shredded furniture or hair-covered clothes. Or that permanent invisible hair roving around my eyeball. Or cleaning up poop or vomit on a daily/weekly basis. Because all of the not so good is worth it for just a few minutes of cuddles at the end of the day. So worth it. Nothing beats a kitty hug. 



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