17 years isn’t enough for this cat.

I started this blog years ago when I was sitting with my sick “firstborn” (he wasn’t my first cat ever, but he is the first that I alone chose at the age of 16). He recovered, as he always did, from the anemia that time, the pancreatitis before, the blocked urinary tract before that. Now here I sit again with my firstborn on my lap, my baby, my chunkalunk, the one I cried over for weeks when I moved out of my mom’s house. But this time there’s no recovery. His birthday is a day before mine, March 1st. He just turned 17. And he went from feeling a bit bonier than usual on Monday to a cancer diagnosis on Wednesday. These little a-holes hide everything until it’s really bad. His normal girth didn’t change, apparently because it’s not filled with fluid, and didn’t even have any interest in the one true love of his life – food. So I’m here visiting, as I will do every day that I can until he tells us it’s time.

He will happily sit here for hours. My butt might not be ok with that, but I am.

He will happily sit here for hours. My butt might not be ok with that, but I am.

I know 17 is a long life for a cat, but I suppose somehow I expected him to be around forever. It’s life, I know, but when he’s sitting here on my lap (which was a rare privilege for him to bestow before), my heart breaks. It feels more like he’s trying to comfort ME. When my legs go numb eventually and I am going to have to move him off my lap, he will fight to get back on it. He’s just sitting and purring and occasionally looking up at me with his big eyes and his fu manchu whiskers (both reasons I fell in love with him at the shelter in the first place).

This is the life of an animal parent, we take on these furry babies and hopefully give them the best life they can have knowing fully that we will, almost certainly, outlive them.

I apologize for being a downer. A blog about a dying kitty (especially after so many months of not posting anything) is not exactly uplifting material. But, well, this blog is about being a crazy cat lady, and crazy cat ladies all have to deal with this at some point.

So many things have changed since I was 16, but Fatty has always been my kitty. This sucks.

Why are my cats pussies? (pardon the pun)

I can understand that cats identify with smell, which SUPPOSEDLY accounts for why they smoosh their heads into our faces, legs, arms, etc. (although I maintain that MY kitties do it simply because they love me, even though that completely goes against my undying trust in science).

This does not account for why the mere opening of the front door to greet a human that they do not encounter on a regular basis sends my boys into panicked blurs of fur, not to be seen again until several hours after the offending “alien” has left.

Judging from my own experiences at fellow cat-owners’ homes, I’m not alone. I’m also not UN-alone, because some people have cats do not run like their tails are on fire when I walk in. This is not to say that I am necessarily ACCEPTED by these cats; my friend’s cat, whom I have known since kittenhood, will meow at me like I’m killing him and swat at me (but also still allow me to pet as he wishes).

In my mind, aside from smell, I feel like we all look the same to cats. They don’t have great eyesight and they have pea brains. We should all be equal until they’re close enough to sniff.

Furthermore, no stranger has ever done anything to my cats for them to have emotional damage from (well, Moosh maybe, but oddly enough, he’s the more friendly of the two). Since all humans have EVER done to them is feed them and love them, WHY DO THEY ACT LIKE ANYONE NEW IS GOING TO KILL THEM?

Even-further-more, why am I even remotely attempting to understand my cats? These are the same assholes that will sleep in the exact same place every day and then one day, randomly decide to to change it up and sleep in a place that is so impossible for me to find that I may or may not be convinced that they got out somehow and spend an hour panicking and retracing my steps.

Denim beds are all the rage, didn't you know?

Denim beds are all the rage, didn’t you know?

It’s really just like arguing with a stupid person. I should stop.

I’m free!

I did something a lil bit crazy.

I quit my job.

Ok, so I only quit one of them, but still. I worked at UPS for almost 15 years. Only part-time, but I’ve been there since I was 18. And I quit. I should point out here that I do, in fact, have a perfectly good full-time job, one that I have been at for 9 years, that I am continuing my employment at. So I’m not, you know, jobless.

It’s a bit weird for me, as I’ve spent my entire adult life there. And although I had come to despise both the job and the lack of free time, I haven’t quite wrapped my head around the idea that I don’t HAVE to be there anymore (I say “have to” as though I could just show up when I please and tell ’em I’ll work for the day hah!). As I’m now on the husband’s Big Brown insurance, I’m really losing a paltry sum per month by not working there since I spent most of my time trying to get out early every night anyway.

So I’m free. This is my first free Monday. It was productive, except for learning I have to replace all my brakes (great timing, right?). And I get to spend time with the kitties and feed them at the time they have become accustomed to (the hubs has been at home having had surgery and just returned to work last week) and were so VERY unhappy to shake up last week (while we were both working nights and they had to deal with a 9pm vs. 7pm feeding). So they’re happy. I’m happy. Tiny bit freaked out, but happy. I don’t do change well, and I always take the safe road. Sooooo here’s to my new life as a married woman with one job (still no kids, I swear, the cats are enough).

What’s in a name?

CLINGING ON TO NORMALCY.

CLINGING ON TO NORMALCY.

If I had known how insane it is to change the name you’ve had for 32 years, I may not have changed it. I was going to hyphenate, and while researching the proper way to go about that I learned that it is somewhat difficult, causing issues with forms and credit cards and whatever. I also considered making my maiden name my middle name, but my dad gave me my middle name (it’s Amelia, my dad’s a pilot), so I asked him which of his names he thought was more important. He said that he was traditional and also that he thought having the same name made a relationship stronger — and although my new husband said “it’s up to you,” through constant questioning I finally got him to admit he rather liked the idea, so as I do with most big decisions in life, I said “fuck it” and went all in. Pardon my language, but this is my method for making big decisions. I HATE change. I mean, I REALLY hate it. I second guess everything after it’s done, so I’ve learned that the only way I can do things out of my comfort zone are to say “fuck it.” You know when the light turns yellow, and you’re right at the point where you have to decide immediately whether or not you have to slam on the brakes or gun it? I make my decisions this way. I mull over the options and then if I am not totally sure which way to go, I make a decisive decision and do it.

I have had comments from married people, both male and female, how impressed they were with how quickly I got it all done. This is ONLY because I had to preempt my natural laziness. I knew that if I let some slide, I’d never get around to it.

I was NOT, however, prepared for the identity crisis that the name change incurred. Not that I regret changing it, despite my aversion to tradition, I think my dad was correct. It makes you more of a family. But again with the aversion to change…I feel slightly lost. I am currently trying to convince people to call me by my maiden name as a nickname. Oddly enough, I have very little ties to my first name other than that my mom picked it out. But there are SO many of me. We have like, 4 Sarahs at my work alone.

I also feel like it is a LOT of BS that the woman has to give up HER last name and get CHARGED for it. New license. New registration. And my bank TRIED to charge me for my new card until I called them and ripped them a new asshole.

So I’m mostly changed everywhere, except for my bazillion online accounts. And I know this probably doesn’t matter in the least, but the cats are under my maiden name at the vet…do I have to change that too? Will THEY have an identity crisis? Probably not, since neither started life with the names that we gave them and for that matter, as I’ve written about in a previous post, they could be called any abomination of their name at any given time.

I swear, I’m not going to make this blog into a “blah blah married life” thing, because really, not much has changed. Except for my name. And various legal things.

The cats are no longer illegitimate.

So that’s what’s new with me. The boyfriend is no longer the boyfriend, but the husband. Which is still, after a week, weird for me to say. After all, he’s been “the boyfriend” for 11 years. I suppose it will take a bit more than a week to get used to the idea.

No, it is not because I have a “bun in the oven.” It was mostly for insurance. But somewhere along the way, despite our idea that it was just a piece of paper, I’ve realized it’s more than that. Although I am not religious and extraordinarily averse to doing things for tradition’s sake, being legally bound to your significant other IS different. My main beef with marriage is that if it doesn’t work out, you just get a divorce anyway, so what’s the point? It’s just a more expensive breakup. But we took the plunge. At the courthouse. Without guests (so no one could get upset, and I didn’t think they’d allow the cats, and even if they did, the hubz would have nixed that idea quickly). The idea of a big fancy day all about me sounds absolutely splendid, and in fact, I did get caught up in planning something – but it is disgustingly expensive and I can think of a million different things that would be a better use of money. Also, I hate planning. Simply because I am bad at it. So we’ll have a party for the family and friends who were still a teeny bit sad that we didn’t do it all in front of them. In retrospect, very glad, because just in front of the clerk of the court I felt awkward and weird and I cried unexpectedly.

So we told the cats they weren’t bastards anymore. They don’t care. Apparently they are the least affected by this legal union. Someone still puts food in their dishes.

In other news, I got the new iPhone 6 (not the Plus, I do not want to hold an iPad to my head on the rare occasions I actually use my phone as a phone). And how have I utilized my BRAND NEW technology that is so highly in demand? Taking slo-mo videos of the cats. Fingerprint ID is neat and all, but I could watch Moosh shake his head in slo-mo for HOURS.

Yup. Nothing has really changed at all here.

It DOES take some mighty good pics!

It DOES take some mighty good pics!

What makes indoor cats go rogue?

The other day, a friends of mine, through a course of unfortunate events that unbeknownst to them, left their door able to be pushed open if the bolt wasn’t locked. This led to the door, either through wind or through cat, opening at some point during the night, so when they woke up, one of their two strictly-indoor cats was missing. The other one apparently had no desire to explore. There was no prior indication that the cat ever wanted to see what else was out there. The cat, as far as I know, is sadly, still missing, although she does have a microchip so if she is picked up for any reason, they’ll be notified. And they’ve alerted the neighbors, canvassed, put up signs, etc.

So what’s different between cats?

My cat at my mom’s, Fatty, LOVED to run out the damn door when he was younger. I would get up at 5am, open the front door to get the paper, and WHOOSH! Cat bolted. At the time, I didn’t have glasses and had never put in my contacts yet so I blindly and barefootedly had to run out in the dark yard to chase after him. He usually only made it to halfway around the house, where he would then turn and haul ass back inside. Sometimes it went on a bit longer than this, maybe under a car, maybe all the way to the backyard, but he usually didn’t venture much further even though a large, blind human was chasing him. I think it was just him screwing with me. Nothing is funny at 5am, especially not chasing a cat while stepping on slugs.

Long ago, when we were just a one-cat household, I didn’t quite latch the door when I left for work and the boyfriend woke up to a wide open door. He ran out to find Moosh sitting on the porch chair. The porch is not enclosed, and he could have gone anywhere. It seems the porch was enough for him.

There was one other time we woke up to a wide open front door. Neither Taco nor Moosh had any interest and in fact, seemed to be as far away as possible from the door. My assumption is that they associate fresh air with the vet, because they only start howling in the cat carrier when we step out the door. Neither of my cats are chipped. This is probably very bad on my part, but since we only have two doors, and they are TERRIFIED of the sliding glass door and run away whenever it’s opened, and they don’t have any desire to go out the other one, I figure they’re not going anywhere.

But what governs cats’ desires? Why did Fatty rush to get out while Taco has never set foot? Taco’s mom was, as far as I know, feral. If anything, he should have more internal desire to roam. And all the cats I speak of are fixed. So it’s not a desire to mate (that would speak for itself).

You cat people reading this…what are your experiences with indoor cats and the outdoor world?

Clearly, he would not last long in the harsh reality of outdoor life.

Clearly, he would not last long in the harsh reality of outdoor life.

Latest obsession. Bad movies.

So you’re totally going to think that this is brought on by Shark Week (which is this week, in case you haven’t seen the commercial with Rob Lowe that plays every 5 seconds on every channel that WILL make you want to feed Rob Lowe to a shark after about the oh, say, 59th time). Or because Sharknado 2 just came out last week. But it’s not.

When Sharknado came out last year, I thought it was just some goofy D-list movie. I was amused, but thought nothing of it.

Until I discovered that EVERY MOVIE ON SYFY IS EQUALLY OR MORE AS BAD AND AMAZING.

This obsession didn’t even start with shark movies. I think the first day I got sucked into a full day of bad movie marathoning, there was a movie about underground methane veins that threatened to destroy the world, and then another about the poles reversing and the world being overtaken by magnetic storms, so on and so forth.

I can’t stop once I start. These movies have completely unbelievable plot lines, horrible writing and even worse acting…but they’re like train wrecks. I can’t look away. There ARE a ton of shark ones. Some more out there than Sharknado, even. Sand Shark, anyone? Who fancies a Ghost Shark? SHARKTOPUS???

But you know what there is NONE of?

CATS.

This is more like it.

This is more like it.

WTF.

I have had exactly two cat sightings. One was a zombie movie, and it was a zombie tiger. Now THAT was an interesting point. If there ever WAS a zombie apocalypse, it would not be the pansy-ass human zombies I would worry about. Zombie tigers? Now THOSE you don’t want to eff with.

Still, it was just a cameo. And there was an alien movie yesterday where a cat made a cameo as the pet of a brilliant Russian electrician who barricaded himself from the aliens in some sort of electric cage.

That’s it. Apparently only sharks, alligators and dinosaurs are fearsome enough to be considered as bad science fiction fodder. Where’s Ocean Lion? I hear producers everywhere smacking themselves in the face, wondering why they haven’t come up with that. You’re welcome. That one’s free.

It’s entirely possible that because this new obsession is still in its infancy that I am just not aware of such compelling titles. If so, I humbly apologize. But SyFy better run a marathon of those soon, because as much as I think sharks are pretty darn neat, I’m getting just a TEEEEEENY bit sick of them.

There are no cats in hospitals.

Which is where I currently am. Nothing horrible, the boyfriend just had to get a tiny bit of spinal surgery done. Amazing what they can do these days. Just clip out the bad ol’ disc and pop in an artificial one! No worries.

There is, however, a lot of waiting. While this hospital seems to have everything operating like a well-oiled machine, there is still, nonetheless, a lot of waiting. Arrive 3 hours before surgery. 1 hour with anesthesiologist. 1.5 hours of actual surgery. 1.5 hours of recovery from anesthesia. This is where I’m at now. Waiting for him to be brought up to his room. So much better than the surgery waiting room, which is pretty small and REALLY full of people. Especially when there is an entire Italian family waiting for one particular patient.

I prefer to wait alone. I’m not good at waiting. I’m impatient. I was never actually worried, because I do have a rather large amount of faith in modern medicine, plus I did an awful lot of research so I knew exactly what the risks were and the benefits and the procedure, all that junk. Granted, it’s easy for me to say since no one was cutting ME up, but the person being cut happens to be someone I love very much and would prefer to keep in one piece.

No, I’m just antsy. Give me a couch and a book and I’ll sit there all day, but give me the same book with an uncomfortable chair and tell me to read while I wait for something and it’s an entirely different story. So while everyone and their mother (literally) offered to keep me company, I declined. Antsy and impatient are much better alone.

But since this blog is about cats, I should probably tie that in somehow. Maybe if I could bring the kitties to entertain me while I wait. A cat-petting waiting room. Probably not very sanitary. I feel sanitary is really at the top of the list at a hospital. And as far as hospitals go, this one is pretty decent. Even got a black bean burger for lunch. But I’m probably going to have blood clots in my legs from sitting all day, because although they put some of those compression socks on the boyfriend to avoid blood clots, they do NOT pass those out to the waiters.

Who doesn't love a good pair of compression socks and snuggle socks?

Who doesn’t love a good pair of compression socks and snuggle socks?

Pro tip of the day: bring your own. If there is ever a next time, I will know to do that. But I’ll still leave the furry sons at home. No smuggling.

You learn something new every day.

I have 3 litterboxes. You’re supposed to have as many as you have cats, plus one, and there should be one on every floor (I live in a townhouse). However, since we added one downstairs in an effort to stop Taco from peeing on the couch, both cats have, for the most part, abandoned using the two upstairs, mostly likely because the downstairs one is next to the kitchen and they can cause the most destruction with their foul smells. It’s great, really. I love knowing my olfactory senses are working to full capacity.

That being said, since they hardly use the upstairs ones, I only check them once a week or so. Perhaps that’s slightly neglectful. But honestly, the smell is usually a dead giveaway if there’s waste requiring removal.

So imagine my surprise when last night, I opened the covered box to find it was completely and utterly infested with tiny brown bugs. I mean, hundreds. And after closer inspection, I realized that the tiny brown bugs were not just confined to the box, but all over the surrounding carpet.

Now, I freely admit I’m not the best housekeeper. I’m more like a PigPen. This does not mean I live in filth. The boyfriend makes up for what I lack, and I do try to keep things tidy. I’m messy, but not dirty. But still, I would like to think that I would have noticed a bazillion of these freakin’ bugs all over. So I’m reasonably sure that the infestation grew fairly quickly.

We took the box outside (where it still resides, I don’t feel like cleaning it just yet) and vacuumed up the offenders. The boyfriend immediately blamed cat poop.

So I did what every good American would do.

I googled.

You know those bugs that end up in your pantry, usually in your flour?

Yeah. Turns out they dig corn, too. Which is conveniently what my cat litter is made of. It seems there’s a certain trade-off in being environmentally friendly and therefore shunning clay litter.

The danger is always lurking.

The danger is always lurking.

So hey, at least I’m not the only one this happened to. And maybe it’s because they don’t use that box. Because the high traffic box doesn’t have a single bug (at least that I can see).

World’s Best Cat Litter, I am hereby calling you out. I do like your product, but give a girl a warning, seriously.

Birthdays and vets and kittens and fat.

Took Taco to the vet yesterday. Just the yearly checkup, which I think was 2 months late. Anyway, both the boys just had birthday, Moosh is now six and Taco four…and apparently 4 is the year to get FAT. Because according to the vet, that’s what Taco is. Tell me how I’m supposed to reduce his food when he eats all of the food? I can’t starve Moosh to cut back on Taco. I got a grazer and a gorger. Guess who wins?

Layin' out

Layin’ out

And seriously, 13 lbs for a cat is NOT that bad. Sure, he was 11 lbs for the majority of his adult life but 2 lbs in a year isn’t THAT bad. As much as he runs around I cannot believe he’s getting fatter. Plus, I discovered that we’ve actually been buying “moderate calorie” food, which explains why we’ve been running through it so fast — and why the cats have been begging for food 3 hours after morning feedings.

It also is a two-man job to even get Taco into the carrier, despite careful planning. I had attempted to carry out the kidnapping without waking the boyfriend up but alas, it got too loud, which was fortunate because he heard enough to shut the bedroom door just in time to avoid Taco running in and hiding under the bed. Then came down to help, since I got Taco in but couldn’t close with one hand.

They have kittens for adoption at my vet. These kittens were adorable. I threatened Taco if he didn’t shape up, I was trading him in for a new model. His performance didn’t improve, but the vet rejected my trade offer. Go figure.

As all cat owners know (I assume all, every cat I’ve ever had is MISERABLE in the car) I endured bone-chilling howls all the way there. Slightly muted on the way back. And, upon arriving home, feeling horribly guilty for all my evil doings, proceeded to give Taco all of the treats in the world. Including turkey, which he meowed incessantly for, but didn’t know what to do with upon receiving. Shrugh.