Thursday, May 30, 2013

How not to hate your cats by Jill Culver

The truth is that shortly after our initial honeymoon period with Mimi and Mort, we sort of ... fell out of love with them. Turns out all kittens really do is ruin furniture and wood floors, make a racket wrestling and chasing each other, jump on your kitchen counters, and fill litter boxes with disgustingness that needs to be dealt with every day. I don't say any of this lightly either - which is why I didn't announce it here. I had fallen out of love with these cats and I was feeling pretty terrible about it. I considered finding new homes for them but was wracked with guilt about it. And while Jeff was experiencing the same disillusionment, he pointed out that if we gave up these cats, we didn't really deserve to try again later with new cats. 

We kept asking ourselves, "Is it kittens in general? Or THESE kittens?" In the end, responsibility won and we kept them. But it wasn't until 2 things happened that I decided maybe I maybe sort of loved them. 

#1 (and most importantly): We decided to let them use the cat door. We'd locked Maurice's old cat door when we brought them home, but one sunny week last month we decided to try unlocking it. We let them out in the back yard while we had a picnic dinner. Life has been INFINITELY better since the cats have become indoor/outdoor cats. They come and go as they please, we lock them in at night to keep them safe from the raccoons and they have chilled out considerably. Instead of wrestling on the leather chairs, they wrestle in the grass. And when they come inside? They are TIRED. And do the appropriate cat thing: sleep. We no longer have to slam the doors behind us when going outside to keep curious cats inside. Edie can play in the backyard while I make dinner and I can keep the back door open to keep an eye on her without worrying about letting loose the cats.
Also? Mort made a friend:

Edie named her Mirabelle.

Mimi watching her stunt double Mirabelle from the bathroom window:

The first night we let Mort out, he huddled in my lap terrified but curious. He's since proved bold enough to visit the neighbors regularly, taking to pooping in our friend's back yard which is funny but also horrible. Any suggestions on how we can make them stop and/or compensate our neighbors?

#2 is that one night Mimi didn't come home by 10pm. I was going to bed, wanted to lock them inside, and realized I hadn't seen her in hours. She hadn't come home for dinner. I went to bed fretting and had terrible dreams that Mort died of loneliness when Mimi never came home. I thought I'd have to tell Edie and she would be so sad. So when Mimi finally showed her face at 3am I was SO RELIEVED. Which made me realize that maybe I *did* care about these cats after all. What a relief to find I'm not a terrible, animal hating asshole. Whew.

This is Mimi's "Oh Shit" pose:


Amanda Buchan said...

love this post. Parkour was definitely an asshole kitten and now he's great. Indoor/outdoor is the way to go but get ready to feel bad about all the things they kill. Maybe you'll get lucky and they will only kill mice. I worry every time they stay out late but usually it just means they are hunting.

sandralbruton said...

This is what Sandy G suggests you do. It worked/works for her cats.
First, give your neighbors a tin of cayenne pepper to sprinkle over the beds they've chosen to use as their potty. They'll soon stop. Every time it rains, the neighbor will have to go out and sprinkle again. You buy cat litter that is basically crushed walnut shells. It greatly reduces odor. Then begin a slow process of moving the litter box closer to your back door. Every few days move it a little closer until eventually you have it on the stoop. Then they are doing their business in their box which is out of your house. Does your stoop have an overhang so the box stays dry from the weather?...that's important! That's Sandy G's method for peace in the neighborhood and an odor free home...xo

lindsey. said...

These pics remind me of how much I love your backyard. It is such an urban oasis. And yay for you not being an evil animal hater! Bonus.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a cat fan, but I really like every one of these cat photos.