Over the years, I have frequently referenced the many pets that have roamed this house, not always in a flattering light. Not ever in a flattering light. Sometimes you can’t even see the light because it’s blocked by too many pets.
This has been somewhat unfair of me and may have contributed to a general societal prejudice against pets, because, as with humans, nothing demonizes a group more than depicting them as a single faceless entity who lick themselves and poop in the basement.
Consequently, I would like to introduce you to the current roster of animals living under our roof.
Bella – dog
Bella is part Lab, part moron. She came to us from a litter just up the street. “Litter” is an appropriate word here because Bella loves garbage. If we don’t put the garbage can on the kitchen table when we go out, Bella will tip it over. The thing is, we compost most of our food. There’s not much in there but sharp tin lids and those meat diapers they use to line styrofoam butcher trays, so Bella is nothing if not optimistic. Also “Meat Diapers” is the name of my punk rock band.
Bella is almost 10 now and is starting to slow down, but she still gets super excited when we come home, as if she hasn’t seen us in weeks – wiggling, moaning with delight, licking and jumping. I’ll enjoy this while it lasts because I know from experience with marriage that this behaviour usually stops sometime around year 11.
Positive: warms my feet; non-judgemental.
Negative: barks at pedestrians/temperature fluctuations; noisy eater; steals my chair
Nellie – cat
One of the triplets temporarily fostered from the SPA as kittens and then retained permanently because of their adorableness, which is a sneaky, dirty trick, SPA! Nellie used to be my least not-favourite because she was so friendly. She’d look you in the eye, and if you meowed at her, she would talk back. So cute. Now I wish she’d just shut up. Probably this is because what she’s actually saying is, “Clean my butt!” Nellie is obese, too obese to properly clean herself, and each morning, after she drags her rear across the floor, leaving dubious streaks, she follows us to the bathroom, meowing aggressively, because that’s where we keep the baby wipes. Yup, and then we use the baby wipes. She likes it, a little too much if you ask me.
Positive: always willing to cuddle on lap
Negative: always leaving dubious streaks on lap
Ollie – cat
Ollie is the cat equivalent of the classic middle child. She’s average weight with no really distinctive colourings. She’s friendly enough but pretty much keeps to herself (i.e. leaves me alone). Sometimes I forget about her entirely. So clearly she is now my least not-favourite.
Positive: the only non-overweight cat
Negative: must have a tapeworm
Polly – cat
Polly is the reason I don’t get a good sleep. A couple of times a night, fat Polly will come bounding onto our bed, springboarding off my sleeping body to get to my wife’s side, where she will burrow in as close as possible to her head and snore loudly. She bounds past me because she knows she’s not welcome on my side. In fact, I can just glare at her and she backs away. This is called chemistry. Like ammonia and bleach.
Polly thinks she’s being friendly, but she’s a complete boor, just barging in, sticking her claws into you to get on your lap, not taking no for an answer, loud, smelly. She’s like Donald Trump, except in this case the pussy grabs you.
Positive: when she jumps up and hangs from the door screen and then has to be unlatched by a human, that’s good comedy
Negative: pretty much everything else
The Boys – cats
Lincoln and Chandler belong to our daughter Katie, but we’re temporarily taking care of them, and by “temporarily” I mean probably forever. The boys don’t make a lot of demands, they eat reasonably, are friendly without being needy and seem to understand that they need to earn their keep through occasional cuteness. In fact, the majority of our communications with Katie are just Snapchats of her boys snuggling together.
Positive: don’t ravenously devour every scrap of cat food put before them
Negative: the girls eat their leftovers = fatter cats = more baby wipes
I hope this gives you a better idea of the pets we live with and also a handy list of suspects after I fatally trip over one of them while walking down the stairs.
Proper diet will help all your cats! Chances are, like most, you are feeding dry kibble. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they must eat meat. Check out vet Dr. Lisa Pierson’s page for more info http://catinfo.org/
We switched to wet about a year ago. Too little too late.
Wow, Ross, you have a house full of animals.
Positive: You have a dog. Loyalty counts for something.
Negative: You and the wife already have become a cat couple without reaching retirement age. Five cats is four too many, maybe?
Agreed. Two of our previous cats just showed up at our door. Apparently there’s a network. We’re like the underground railway of cats.
Ha. Your compassion is admirable, but still gives me paws.
Five cats is five too many. We had four at one point, now down to one due to attrition. Dog population is rising, though, to compensate I guess.
My wife seems to think the cats like each others’ company. I don’t think they care.
After dealing with my noisy felines this morning (Pete is now yowling downstairs for no discernible reason and Owney woke my daughter at 4am by knocking all the pens off her desk), reading about your annoying pets is semi-comforting. My relationship with our furballs is definitely of the love-loathe type. Whoever said cats were low maintenance has never had any.
Misery loves hairballs.
I have one, had two, and MY cats are low maintenance … 😛
Like humans, it’s the luck of the draw.
Or good education 😛 Yes, cats CAN be trained. Within certain limits. And you have to be patient – and consequent. If the cat gets your attention when meowing at night, learn to ignore it. Do not encourage bad behaviour. My one cat sometimes tries, but gives up within minutes (and not in the MIDDLE of the night but just when I went to bed).
I believe that. My daughter’s cats are relative sweethearts.
I’m a big meanie. Sometimes they can be nice.
I figure that if you write a post about every animals interactional pattern with every other animal, and throw in the humans for good measure, this could be a year-long series.
Which would be just terrific if the chuckle count stays this high. 😆
I’ve tapped this well aplenty. When writer’s block hits: pets. (Now that my kids have grown.)
Ah, a glimpse into the future. Seems it might involve kitty litter.
Glad to read about Polly, that clears up something that’d been puzzling me, because now that you mention it, I have seen cats stuck on screen doors – – I didn’t intervene, or get too close, thinking they were those Québec Furry Winter Mosquitoes we’ve been reading about. I’ll help ‘em down from now on.
I know you’re the editor, but I’m thinking instead of “dubious,” these streaks might be “We put the Big in Unambiguous.”
Yeah, I’m 2nding LonelyKeyboards, more animal stories please ! 🙂
The jumping on the screen at least provides some exercise: catisthenics?
Sure, good exercise, better than being glued to the screen. followed by a teaspoon of catatonic.
Ross, you handed me a wonderful laugh-out-loud break this morning. Thank you! When I read “the pussy grabs you,” I chuckled so hard my stomach hurt. Great post.
Another case of an entire post built around the need to produce that single gag. Thanks!
Yay, cats! Cat pictures, too! Funny stories about cats! I feel spoilt.
I feel bad about Ollie.
My allergic husband would have to bring an entire pharmacy along were he to enter your house. On the other hand, maybe all that dander in the air would build up immunity for him. I say let’s give it a try. I’m desperate for a cat. 😁
Our son is home from school and completely de-desensitized.
good thing you’re not rating your litter of kids by ‘least not favorite’ category. could stir up a hornet’s nest of trouble. )
Never! I feel bad even hinting at it.
Oh my god the baby wipes on the cat’s butt, so dark….like my favorite kind of chocolate-dark.
Perhaps not the correct context to be referencing chocolate…
Not lost on me.
Funny, I was working on a cat related post. One of our two is obese, so I feel a little better seeing these photos. They all look adorable, btw.
If there’s one thing the internet has proven it’s that there are never too many cat posts.
Nice list. We have a 2-yr-old lab-Great Dane mix (SPCA guess), but everyone says lab-Mcnabb collie with a sprinkling of greyhound. So she’s usually operating at warp speed. If you can give me any insight into how we can get her to stop expressing herself (yes, those lovely glands) at inopportune moments, I’m all ears.
At least you’re not all nose. (badum-TISH!)
Man, I thought your *last* post was the shizzle but this one really tickled my ass with a feather. Not only are the all excellent specimens, they have great names. Was that your doing? Bella-Nellie-Ollie-Polly has a beautiful poetic flow to it. Walking haikus.
I have nothing to do with any of this. The only cat I named was our first (first couple pet, AKA training-child). Her name was Otis. Yeah, that Otis. We also had a Shoe. I think I had a hand in that naming too. “Come here. Shoe! Come here! Shoe!” Little pleasures.
Writing about the pets comes easily, and I’ve probably tapped that well too many times. In fact, I had to delete a gag that I had written almost word for word in October. I knew I sounded familiar…
Particularly nasty weather.
I have a cat I adopted from the vet that I call Chandler. Unlike your cats, my cats are angels 🙂
Sounds like Katie’s cats are fine, so obviously you are the problem. 🙂 Your cats know which buttons to push. They are very perceptive and know how to annoy those who are not fond of them.
Hey, last week I took time off work to take one of these dumb cats to the vet after it got bitten in a late-night fight. That’s something. (P.s. we didn’t know the cat had escaped; we try to keep them in at night.)
Very good. Bet you did it for your wife, not the cat. 🙂
Well… can’t it be both?
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