Tag Archives: cats

The Great Realization

25 Aug

This past Friday night following a shift at work I arrived home to find blood on my desk. Obviously I freaked out because it was a clear indication that something was wrong with one of my cats. I immediately, and correctly as it turned out, figured it was Grete. She had been acting a little bit weird the past few weeks. She’s always been kind of a brat – waking me up in the morning by head butting me in a desperate attempt to get under the covers and knead me with her dagger-like claws and pissing on the floor right in front of the door to my bedroom if I didn’t feed her the second she started her dinnertime siren call – but she had never been overly vindictive. That is until a month or two ago when she decided to pee on my bed. That is the ultimate sign of feline displeasure. I will be the first to admit that there have been times when I have been remiss in my duties as a kitty mom. At that time, though, I’d been on top of it. So, what the fuck? I figured maybe something was wrong so I decided to take the two of them into the vet for their annual check-up (they get better health care than I do) and just see if maybe, just maybe, there was something beyond general cat-assiness that caused the problem. The vet seemed to think everything was okay. Great. I had an asshole on my hands.

Fast forward to the past week when I started noticing little dribbles of pee around the room. I started to feel like I was playing a game of whack-a-mole. You know, every time I would mop and then spot-clean the floor another dribble would appear. I started to get concerned. And then there was the blood. Clearly that was the last straw. Had to make an emergency appointment. So on Saturday morning at about 10, after sleeping barely at all following what amounted to a 16-hour bar shift between two places, I called the vet and made an appointment. And then I had to get Grete into her carrier. Have you ever tried putting a cat into a carrier? It is no easy task. It’s like they grow extra legs at every possible angle and use all those legs, and the claws that come with them, to forcibly keep themselves from being lowered into the chamber of doom. And then once you finally get them in there the yowling starts.


It’s horrifying. It’s the sound that I imagine a whale would make if it was experiencing a slow and painful death. It would actually be funny if it didn’t make you ears bleed. (Okay, nevermind, it’s funny.) Anyway, I walked my screaming cat half a block down to the vet (bless you, convenience!) and checked her in at the desk. I then put her carrier down on one of the chairs in the waiting room and tried to distance myself. By this point she decided that yowling wasn’t working and thought that perhaps making sounds in a desperate attempt to evoke pity from me would be a more effective technique.

Roooooooooooooooo…… roooooooooooooooooo.

She has it down. At this point I noticed another lady in the room who was alternatively looking at me judgmentally (she had her carrier on her lap and was whispering through the grates to her noticeably silent cat) and then glancing at the carrier that housed Grete with a great deal of pity and concern. Obviously I must be a terrible cat mom since I was standing 5 feet away, giggling to myself. I looked at the lady and said

“She is very dramatic.”

At this point the lady realized I had a heart afterall and asked me what was wrong with my cat.

Lady: Just a check-up?
Me: No, an emergency appointment. (I realized right after I said it that this probably did not make her feel better about my relaxed stance.)
Lady: Oh! Bless her heart!
Me: I think she’s okay. I mean, she’s eating and drinking the normal amount. Has energy. There was just a little blood this morning so I think maybe she has a UTI or something like that.
Lady: Bless her.

At this point, two younger women came in with their cat which they set down on a chair in between where they both were sitting. They took turns clicking lovingly at her. Then one of them looked over at my carrier where Grete was now alternating noises.

MEEEEEEOOOOOWWWWW!!!! Roooooooo………..

I looked at them and I said

“She’s fine. I swear. Just dramatic. Tough to be a kitty, you know.”

Then, this.

Young Lady: Oh, she sounds just like Maddie! This is Maddie. (She gestured at the carrier.) Her name is Madison, actually, but we call her Maddie for short. Oh your cat is just beautiful. A tabby?
Me: Um…yea?
Young Lady: So cute. (Addressing who I assumed was her partner) Doesn’t she sound just like Maddie? I keep hearing her and thinking Maddie is throwing her meow! But she isn’t! It is a completely different cat!

At this point Grete and I got called into the office. I quickly smiled around the room, accepted the well wishes and the “bless hers,” walked into the exam room and explained to the vet tech what had been going on in my house the past few weeks. A few minutes later the vet came in, asked some more questions, did some feel tests and said it was likely a UTI, as I had suspected. We left the office $150 poorer and with a prescription for Clavamox. After dropping my still yowling and slightly traumatized kitty at home, I went to run some errands. During the errands I got to thinking about my experience in the vet office and I had a realization: I am not a cat lady.

Okay, so as a back story, when I adopted my cats over 4 years ago (I have two of them), my mother and I had a very serious (okay only sort of serious) conversation about what it takes to turn into a cat lady. At what number of cats is this an inevitability? We came to the conclusion that you could have up to three cats but once you found yourself at four and up you were basically screwed. I told my mom, at this point in all seriousness, to cut me off at three. We made it sort of a rule: over three, definite cat lady; under three, not so much. We did not, however, discuss the incidence of cat lady-ness at under three cats. It never really came up. I trusted in the fact that I was not a cat lady because I had under three cats, but perhaps there is more to it. Can one, without having an absurd number of felines, actually be a cat lady? I have a lot of thinking to do.

PS Grete is fine. Antibiotics are really something.

A Tail of Two Kitties

18 Jan

In my post from yesterday on ChafingIsReal.com I alluded to the fact that I would explain to my readers why it was that I missed writing a blog post this past Friday. Over on that blog, for those of you who don’t know, I am documenting my progress in a challenge to run 2,015 miles in the year 2015. In case you are wondering, it is going pretty well. So far this year I have run 64.64 miles which means that I have another 1,950.36 miles to go before I can call this journey a success. It is a little bit daunting, to say the least. This all means that, if I were to run every single day for the rest of the year (which I will not do because I don’t want to hurt myself and also that sounds miserable) I would have to get in roughly 5.6 miles daily. So, yea, that’s some work. If any of you readers (a) live in New York City and (b) are runners please let me know. I wouldn’t mind a touch of company every now and again.

Moving on. The other part of the challenge, which is an aspect that I designed for myself in order to improve my writing, is to post a blog post on that other site every single day. Obviously, I have failed. But that’s okay! I am not throwing in the towel! Sometimes life gets in the way and keeps us from doing the things we set out to do and we can either be mad at ourselves about it or just shrug our shoulders and realize that we are not in control of everything and sometimes cats, and a movie and a night that both turn out to be a lot longer than you anticipated, just happen. So, without further ado,* the story.

This coming Wednesday at 6:50am (uuuggghhh) I will be departing for New Orleans for my annual visit. I have friends down there so I like to get down there and hang with them for a week, give or take. In anticipation of this, I decided that it would be smart to bring my two kitties, Clark and Grete, over to my parents house so I didn’t have to cobble together people to feed them and give them scratches for the 9 days I will be out of town. My parents were not incredibly pleased about this turn of events but they love me so they agreed. (Thanks Mom and Dad! You’re the best!!) I happened to be watching my friend Katie’s car while she was in Costa Rica this past week (so jealous) and so I figured it would be easy to put the kitties in their little houses and drive them out to my parent’s place in New Jersey. So, while my friend Ben looked on, I packed my kitties into their little houses which caused some not so serious injuries to my shoulders. I should have cut Clark’s nails shorter. Live and learn. We then loaded the kitties, kitty accoutrement, and laundry into the car and I made the relatively short, but incredibly stressful, trek to my parents’ place. It’s actually not usually that stressful but have you ever driven for 40 minutes, including some time on the BQE (the lanes are so tiny!) with two yowling cats in the back seat? I do not recommend it. They make the craziest noises. Ben said they sounded like dolphins. I don’t know about all that but what I do know is that I spent the entire car ride cooing at them and oscillating between incredible guilt for having taken them from the only home they have ever known and crammed them into little carriers and fear that I was going to get rear-ended and my kitties were going to fly through the front windshield. Poor, poor kitties. Anyway, we got there safe and sound. Physically speaking, anyway.

So I called my mom and she came out and helped me carry the two little beans (that’s what I call them) into the house and down to the basement so we could show them where the litter box was. Clark quickly emerged from his box and hid underneath a shelving unit and Grete remained in her box, where she apparently felt safe, for the next 4 hours. Just in there. Sitting, staring, occasionally crying. It was heart breaking. Eventually she came out and hid herself, face against the exposed brick wall, behind some paintings that were leaning there. I am still unclear as to why that seemed like a good place to hide but there you have it. After dinner I decided that maybe the proper course of action would be to carry each of them upstairs into the less scary part of the house where my parents and I were hanging out so they could begin the adjustment period. Big mistake. Huge. They were shaking. Grete spent the first hour of upstairs time wedged between my left arm and the arm of the sofa, with her head behind a cushion. Clark spent his time hiding behind Grete. You guys, they are the wussiest kitties ever to have kittied. It’s really something. After some time Clark got spooked and went into the living room and hid between the back of the sofa and the wall. He remained there for something like 12 hours. I brought Grete up to my bedroom, thinking, again erroneously, that maybe being with me would make her feel more comfortable. She slept on the bed for a little bit but eventually ended up jumping down and hiding underneath it. Where she remained for the next 48 hours until my mother, bless her, went upstairs and pulled her out and brought her down to the basement were the litter box was. Oh, yea, I forgot to mention that in an act of both bravery and seething anger Grete took a shit on the bed.

Cats are such assholes.

As a person who considers herself a better-than-average cat mom, and who was really trying to do what was best for her little kitties, I spent almost the entire 24 hours I was at my parents house worrying about the kitties, talking about the kitties, trying to find the kitties and laughing at the kitties. I feel sort of bad about that last part but I can’t help it. Poor, pathetic little fuzzballs.

So as of the update my mom gave me last night at approximately 10:30pm, things had not changed much. My mom did manage to get Grete to come out from under the bed by sitting on the floor and reading. Eventually Grete, who is very much in need of attention pretty much whenever she is awake and not eating, came out purring and let my mom scratch her head. My mom then brought her downstairs where Grete is currently hiding. Clark, although he has still been taking refuge under the sofa in the living room, has used the litter box. I think both of them have eaten some snacks. Grete loves snacks.

Anyway so that is the Tail of Two Kitties (teehee) and also a long, drawn-out explanation as to why I did not run on Friday and also did not write on my blog. I simply couldn’t run. I had to meander around the house trying to figure out where the kitties were hiding and also at one point I had to drag Clark out from underneath the oven where he decided to wedge himself. That is not a good place to be a kitty. Also when I got back into the city I saw Boyhood with my friend Revaz at IFC. It was good. You should all see it. But maybe wait till it comes out on DVD (or streaming or whatever the kids are doing these days) because it’s almost 3 hours long. And that’s a long time.

If anything of note happens with the kitties I will be sure to let you all know. Feel free to send messages of love and concern. Also, read my other blog. It’s not that great but the posts are short and sometimes have something to do with running but usually have more to do with my imagination. Okay thanks.

* “Without further ado” is a phrase that I have said and never written and so I went on the internet and learned some things! Apparently people oftentimes write “without further adieu” instead of without further “ado,” even though if you were to translate the former it would mean without further goodbye? And that doesn’t make sense although it does look awful pretty. There is something to be said about the aesthetics of a bunch of vowels in a row. The word “ado” actually means hubbub or fuss, which I am sure all of you well-vocabularied people already knew but I thought I would throw it in here anyway. And also this one last thing because I didn’t know this and I think it is really cool. When people confuse words like “adieu” and “ado” it is known as an eggcorn! That’s what it means to confuse two words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings. Eggcorn! Who knew! I will now try and work the word “eggcorn” into casual conversation on the regular so be on the lookout.

A Letter to my Cat, Clark

2 Oct

Dear Clark,

I know that it has been hard for you recently, what with me working so many late nights and your feeding schedule being somewhat unpredictable. I also know that you have a lot of needs like head scratches, games of fetch, and the like. But right now your person is attempting to finish up an article on human rights and the water shutoff in Detroit and your constant meowing and knocking things off counter tops is proving rather distracting indeed. I understand that you like the sounds things make when they fall, but you must understand that sweeping up broken glass and picking up trash bag ties all over the house is not exactly my idea of fun. Also, I would very much appreciate it if you would stop chewing on things, such as the wicker basket on the kitchen table and my computer power cord. In fact, if you could stop going on the kitchen table entirely that would be greatly appreciated. I understand this is a lot to ask, but your sister does not seem to be having one bit of trouble with my requests as she has been sleeping contentedly on the sofa for the past 2 hours. You might argue that it is because of her ability to sleep for extended periods of time that she is a total fat ass, and you would have a point there, but I do not believe one day of catnaps would have any significant impact on your svelte physique. Any adherence to these requests would be greatly appreciated and subsequently rewarded with a catnip mouse.

Your frustrated person,


What I’ve Learned So Far in 2014

6 Jan

I know, I know, 2014 is only 6 days old.  But, whatever, I’m like a sponge.  A sponge of learning.  And since I have found these new tidbits of information so titillating, I figured I would share them all with you.  Isn’t that great?  I think so.

1.  As many of you know, or have read, I have an intense dislike for companies that call me with fake credit offerings and the like.  Over the past few months, I have significantly altered my approach to these calls.  Instead of reporting said companies to the National Do Not Call Registry because it is fucking useless, I have simply been blocking the numbers from my phone!  Every time I get a bullshit call <BAM!>, blocked.  Of course in my case I don’t often receive calls from the same number more than once but still, it is so empowering.  I really feel like I show them, you know?  Anyway, that’s not what I learned.  Here’s what I learned.  I received a call the other day from a restricted number which I answered because my landlord calls me from a restricted number and I like him, he’s nice.  But it wasn’t my landlord at all.  It was a company asking to lower my interest rate.  So, obviously, I got mad and I was feeling sassy so I pressed a number to talk to a person to give them a piece of my mind.  After I had finished telling the dude on the other end what he could do with his lowered interest rates I hung up the phone, feeling good and strong and righteous.  Then I went online to see if other people had received calls from this same dubiously named company, “Card Member Services.”  In my search I found a very useful bit of information:  whenever I press the button to talk to someone to tell them that I think they work for a morally bankrupt operation, their computer algorithm thing thinks that I am a sucker and am actually interested in the “service” the company provides (AKA having them steal my money) and puts my number up towards the top of the calling list.  Then I get more calls!  I am my own worst enemy!  So this is what I learned: do not talk to a representative no matter how sassy you are feeling because, in the end, the joke is on you.

2.  I am not good at email.  This is something I have known for years.  In fact, for the past five years in a row my one and only New Years resolution has been to be better about email.  Every other year I have failed.  Considering it is now the 6th of the month (and year!) and I just checked my email for the first time, I am not feeling much more confident in my potential for success.  See here’s the thing:  my email is mostly junk.  I go in there and delete like a million things and then I have 4 or 5 actual emails that I want to respond to but by that point I’m so frustrated with the junk that I don’t respond to the actual emails.  The result of this is that emails go unanswered and then those people emailing me get frustrated and stop emailing, and then all I have is junk.  Just a bunch of stupid things from Yelp and Madewell and The Center for Food Safety.  So you know what I learned?  Unsubscribing is Life!  I just went on an unsubscribing-fest and it was AMAZING.  Goodbye Yelp! Goodbye Madewell! Goodbye Center for Food Safety!

3.  It’s really cold outside because of something to do with the arctic circle.  It’s so cold, in fact, that tomorrow we will supposedly experience a high of 13 degrees.  For those of you who are a little slow like me, that means that the warmest it will be tomorrow is 13 degrees.  That also means that at times it will be colder than 13 degrees.  Colder than 13 degrees.  I learned that tomorrow is going to be terrible but you know what is worse than tomorrow in Brooklyn?  Today in Minnesota.  The governor of Minnesota closed all the schools in the entire state due to cold weather for the first time since 1997.  So this lesson is two fold.  The first fold is that even though tomorrow is going to be insanely cold at least I can go outside without my face getting frostbitten within 2 minutes.  The second fold is that I never want to live in Minnesota.

4.  Last night I had a really hard time sleeping.  I felt sleepy when I got into bed but then I was wide awake.  I was just lying there, surrounded by cats, unable to move because despite the fact that each of my two cats only weighs 10 pounds they manage to take up all of the space.  I really believe that if I had a bed that was the size of the entire universe, my cats would still sleep in such a way that would leave me curled up uncomfortably in a ball.  Part of the reason I was having trouble sleeping was because I kept having itches. There was the itch on the bottom of my foot.  One under my left arm.  Another one in my hair.  I became convinced that I had bedbugs.  Then I thought, what if the ants escaped!  (They didn’t.)  Then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I had the following thought: it would be terrible to be pregnant.  Not that for other people it is terrible.  For other people I think it is great!  I really do.  I love when my friends have kids.  But honestly, whenever one of my friends tells me they are pregnant (which is happening more and more often these days), after I am very happy and excited for them, I think to myself “better her than me.”  So here is the other thing I learned:  I probably should never have children.

5.  The other day I went to a bar to have a glass of wine and read my magazine before I went home, ate vegetarian chile and spent too much time watching shitty television.  There I was, minding my own business, reading about eating horses (???) when I caught the guy two chairs down staring at me.  I decided to pretend like I didn’t see him and went back to reading.  Unsuccessful.  The inevitable happened: he talked to me.

Guy:  Um, excuse me Miss?  I would like to buy you a drink.
Me: Oh, thank you but I actually think I am just going to have the one.  But if I change my mind you’ll be the first to know.
Guy:  (At this point I noticed some slight slurring)  Are you sure?  Because I was going to leave and then come back but only if I can buy you a drink.
Me:  No, I think I’m good.  I’m going to go home and eat dinner.
Guy, staring:  You have just the most beautiful hair.
Me:  Oh, thanks.
Guy:  It looks just like my mother’s.
Me: ……..

My philosophy, by the way, is to never accept a drink from someone at the bar because, aside from the fact that I am seeing someone,  you are then obligated to talk to them.  I mean, despite his obvious mommy-issues I am sure this guy was perfectly nice but no thank you.  Another thing that I learned: avoiding eye-contact with guys at bars is not always effective in combating off-putting pick-up lines.

So I guess that is it.  I guess those are the things that I learned so far in 2014.  Stay tuned because I am sure there will be equally interesting lessons to follow.  And now I will stop procrastinating writing this article that I am supposed to write by rambling on my blog and start procrastinating the article by making the Super Bowl pool thing for my job.  Okay, wait, here is another one.

6.  I love to procrastinate and I am really good at it.

There is a Cat Stuck in this Box

18 Mar

A few years ago I was on the phone with my mom when we started discussing cats.  Or, more specifically, we started trying to figure out at which point one might go from being a lady with cats to a cat lady.  After a good amount of discussion we came to the conclusion that when you go from having 3 cats to 4 you have invariably crossed the line.  In hindsight, this was a rather convenient solution seeing as how at that moment my mother was the owner of exactly three felines and she certainly didn’t want to have to think of herself as a cat lady.  To be fair, though, I had found and lured the two younger cats, both of whom were adorable stray kittens, from different potentially dangerous situations and then dumped them at my parent’s house.  One of them, Chicory, had taken up residence in our front yard and driveway which sits just off of a relatively busy road with limited visibility and the other one, Chamomile, I had wrested from the arms of a drunken co-ed who was sitting weeping on the steps of a fraternity during my Sophomore year in college, squeezing the diminutive kitten to within inches of its life.  And then there was Sassafras, by far my favorite, a bitch of a cat who we adopted from the kennel when I was in Kindergarten who only lasted two years after I brought Cammy home and those two years, to be honest, were not her best.  She was very sick with liver failure and passed away on the very same day I went to a dress fitting for the bridesmaids dress I was to wear that coming summer to my brother and sister-in-law to be’s wedding.  At the end of the conversation I said to my mom, in as stern a voice as I could muster,

Mom, cut me off at three.

I am squarely in the safe zone, being a lady with only 2 cats, one full feline below the edge.  I go through my days proudly telling people about my cats, Clark and Grete, and not worrying about the judgement I would receive if I were to then rattle off an additional three names. It was with this calm attitude that I headed out for a run last Thursday afternoon before work.  As I was running past a train yard I heard a loud, shrill, kitten-sounding call for help coming from somewhere within the gated yards.  I stopped and looked around, following the sound, until I located the kitten stuck inside of a kelly green electrical box.  I looked around for help, but it was after 5 and everyone had gone home.  I retraced my steps and ended up at the entrance to some other MTA-owned property with a security guard who seemed relatively unconcerned about the fate of the cat, although he did assure me that he would “send some fellas to check it out.”  I looked around and didn’t see anyone.  What fellas, I wondered to myself, was he talking about?  I figured he must be a dog person.

I headed back in the direction of the cat, saying to myself over and over again that I had to be at work soon, that there was nothing I could do about the cat in the box, that I simply had to trust in the existence of these invisible fellas and that everything would be okay.  As I approached the box I heard the desperate cries of the trapped kitten.  I simply could not pass it by.  So I crouched there and I started talking to the kitten in the box.  Now, mind you, I was on a busy road and cars and people were passing by and the kitten was invisible to everyone but me and, wouldn’t you know it, as long as I was cooing at it the poor little thing stayed calm.  What this meant for me was that it appeared to those passing me by that I was a crazy person in full running get-up talking to a green metal box and frantically looking at every passer-by with panic in my eyes.  Finally, after 1/2 hour of crouching alone by the box in 25 degree weather, a lady, who had just walked past and not given me a second glance, heard the meow and stopped.  I looked at her and to her stationary back said

There is a cat stuck in this box.

She quickly approached and we started trying to come up with plans.  I had noticed a few minutes earlier that the gate to the yard was open but my law-abiding self was afraid to enter and get yelled at by an approaching fella that I had neglected to notice.  She seconded my concerns (minus the fella) and added that she was pretty sure the gate had an automatic lock mechanism and if someone closed it while I was in there I could get stuck and she didn’t care how official my running clothes looked, there was no way I would be able to scale that fence AND the razor wire at the top without (1) getting arrested, (2) falling or (3) ruining my clothes that she was sure were pretty expensive.*  Just then I realized that a car that had glided to a stop was still idling about 20 feet away and I hadn’t noticed anyone get out.  When I looked up at the car, it approached, and the tinted window of the passenger’s side slowly rolled down.  A man in a baseball cap looked out at me and I said to him

There is a cat stuck in this box.

The man looked shocked and quickly came out of the car.  So there we all were, standing on the sidewalk shoulder to shoulder to shoulder, staring at a stationary electrical box and gesticulating wildly.  The man shrugged off our warnings about the possibility of an automatic lock mechanism and entered the yard, with me closely behind him and the lady standing in the entrance to the yard so just in case the doors started closing she could stop them with her body.  He started moving the lid of the box around, I kept an eye out for fellas, and then, just like that, the whole top and side disconnected from the rest of the box.  We peered in and there it was, the cutest, smallest, scaredest little beige kitty.  It wouldn’t come out of the box but, wouldn’t you know it, the man happened to have cat food in his car so he opened a little can and left it propping the box open so the kitty could eat and escape.  Each of us, we discovered, would love to take the kitty home but both the lady and the man already had 4 kittys and I, as I mentioned before, had 2.  So, we left the kitty to its own devices and went off in our different directions, all of us feeling good about having released the kitty and me, with my comparatively small number of cats at home, feeling even more secure in my status as a lady with cats.

*In actuality I bought them on sale, but I still would have been sad if I ripped them.