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Posts Tagged ‘pets’

Here’s my confession: the joys and benefits of Pet Ownership are somewhat eluding me right now.

Let’s put it this way: if you were to get all the Happy Pet Owners of Australia and gather them together in the Melbourne Cricket Ground, I would not come along to your little pet-lovin’ shindig. So don’t bother inviting me, okay? Look, don’t even talk to me about it. Sheesh. 

And before you judge me too harshly, let’s just say that Genghis Cat (resident pet) represents just another member of this household who:

a) follows me around the house, hassling me to give him food;

b) turns his nose up at whatever food I give him;

c) wants to sleep in my bed;

d) wakes me up by crying loudly when I won’t let him sleep in my bed; and when I do let him sleep in my bed…

e) keeps me awake by biting my toes (admittedly the kids do it by jabbing my kidneys with those pointy toes of theirs)

f) unexpectedly shits, pisses and vomits in equally unexpected places around the house; and 

g) gives me worms. 

To add insult to injury, the cat makes a point of sitting right in front of me and licking his anus for, like, 20 minutes while I’m trying to eat my chocolate brownie and then leaping over and running his tongue across said brownie the minute I leave it unattended. At least the kids don’t do that – if only because it’s physically impossible for them to lick their anuses. 

Experts say: pets make good friends.

I say: even my worst enemies haven’t thrown up on my bed.  

Experts say: pet ownership has many health benefits.

I say: as long as I don’t eat that brownie. 

Experts say: pets are good for stress-relief.

I say: as long as they don’t create more stress than they relieve. But then again, I sure feel much better after shouting “STUPID CAT!” at the cat. And it certainly feels way more comfortable than shouting “STUPID KIDS!” at the kids. Plus I can lock the cat outside when he’s really pissing me off. Or I can even lock him outside when the kids are really pissing me off. I mean, better the cat, right?

Shit, no wonder he’s so unreasonably angry. And I can’t even blame the cat for that one. Which makes me unreasonably angry. 

Stupid cat. 

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The other day, I woke to the distant sound of bells. In my early-morning delirium, I thought “Hooray! Santa’s here!” and then “Maybe he’s bought the giant pitcher of pre-mixed Flirtini that I asked for…”. But then I came to, and realised that it was Genghis Cat doing something at the other end of the house and, from the sounds of it, it was something far more vigorous than his usual bells-a-jingling activity (see “Out of the Bag“). 

I was tempted to just roll over and go back to sleep but I heard little footsteps running down the hall and an equally little voice exclaim “Oooooh!”. I stumbled out of bed to find Tiddles McGee standing at the laundry door staring in wonder at a flurry of grey feathers floating gently to the ground. Part of me desperately wanted to believe Genghis Cat had just gone head-to-head with our winter quilt but then I saw it: a freshly-deaded bird. Whatsmore, a freshly-deaded bird that lay between the toilet and me, with my post-three-pregnancies-at-bursting-point-clear-the-way-it’s-gonna-blow bladder.

And then ol’ Genghis appears from the shadows and starts snaking around my ankles in the way he only does when he wants some food. Which just made me angry because here he was, hitting on me for food with a whole dead bird not a metre away and 3/4 of a sachet of cat food still in his bowl from the night before. And he looks up at me as if to say “Wha’?”

I had originally thought that one of the prime benefits of pet ownership was about finally (finally!) having someone in the household that ate whatever you put in front of them. But of course I found out way too late that this applies to all pets with the notable exception of cats, many of which are even fussier than The Pixie in full-preschool Diva mode (see “Not-so-easy Riders“). Genghis Cat won’t eat chicken. He won’t eat beef. He’ll eat some fish but nothing with sardines or pilchards in it. Even when I feed him the stuff he apparently does like, he’ll have a vague sniff at it and then come straight back to me with this look like “Is that all you got?”. I mean, this is the cat who I’ve caught nicking a whole slice of peanut butter toast from Tiddle’s plate. This is the cat that won’t drink the water I put out for him in any bowl but will happily jump into the bath tub to lick the stagnant water around the bath plug. And, despite the fact I’m the one who feeds him every day and every night, this is the cat who never gives me any lovin’ or comes and sits on my lap: he reserves that honour for my husband, who has never once sullied his lily-white hands with cat shit from the kitty litter or had to scrape caked-on cat food off the side of the feeding bowl with his fingernails. I’m soooo that cat’s bitch-slave. 

And so we come back to the dead bird, the disposal of which stood between my bladder and sweet relief. I’m not good with corpses – and birds give me the heebie-jeebies even when they are alive. So let’s just say, I had to be very brave and carry out my duties swiftly, while Tiddles watched and clapped his little hands, exclaiming “Birdy!”. Yes, Tiddles. See the birdy. See Mummy squirm. See the nice birdy go into the dustpan. See Mummy shudder and groan and dry-retch. See the birdy get tipped into the outside bin. And then see Mummy run. Run Mummy, run! As fast as her potato-pickin’ peasant legs will carry her, all the way to the toilet and hear her shout “Thank Christ!” and then hear her mutter menacingly about “that cat” for the rest of the morning.

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Genghis Cat

Genghis Cat is one angry mo’ fo’ of a kitten. 

Of course, we may have somewhat shaped his destiny by calling him Genghis Cat. Let’s face it: the pages of history contain few killers by the name of Mr Fluffkins.

Unlike the other characters featured in this blog, I’m not giving Genghy a nom de guerre. A cat this cranky shouldn’t really have his anonymity preserved – if anything, he should have an AVO taken out against him. I don’t care to count the number of times an unsuspecting and already hard-done-by parent has been attacked, unprovoked, on the way to the toilet in the early hours of the morning. 

But it wasn’t always this way. He came to us as a small grey bundle who hid in corners and who I cradled gently to emulate the warmth and security of the mother cat he’d left behind. He was the little cat that turned me instantly from a distinctly *non*-cat person to a “I-like-this-cat” person. As my dear friend KT said, “Well it’s just about now in the cycle of things that you’d be pregnant again.” She had a point. We’d been churning out children every two years and my husband’s vasectomy had put an end to all that. A kitten seemed the perfect thing to fill my achingly empty arms. 

But what we didn’t realise when we brought him home was that there was a Jungle Beastie lurking within – one that could turn any household chore into a siege situation. Nothing enhances washing the dishes quite like the jaws of a small creature around your ankles. 

Nor did we realise that, by acquiring a cat, we would immediately sever the bonds of friendships with a number of people harbouring previously undisclosed cat allergies. Whether or not they really had the allergies or just saw a convenient way out of our lives, we’ll never know. 

Nor did we foresee my husband would have to give up his morning meditation. It’s hard to feel at one with the universe with a cat clamped firmly on your vitals – although some might argue this is a true example of instant karma. 

And we certainly never dreamed that getting a  kitten could further damage our already sagging public image. My typically disheveled children now have cat scratches across their hands and faces to join the Milo stains on their shirts and their perennially missing shoes. 

Still, we all love Genghy. We feed him, we play with him, we pat him, we clean his kitty litter tray (although, with the kitty litter, by “we” I mean me). And most of all, we admire him because, as the smallest member of the household, he has garnered a lot of power. Even the fearsome Tiddles McGee (aged 21 months) is learning to show him deference. 

But now I fear that some greater mischief is afoot. Since we did our civic duty by getting Genghy de-sexed and microchipped, there’s been a new edge to it all: a sense of growing resentment, a rising tension between beast and owners, a promise of payback Big Time. 

If I happen to look out into the garden, more often than not I see him there looking straight back at me, as if he were channeling Robert De Niro himself from “Cape Fear”. Even as I type, he’s out there somewhere, lifting weights and getting tatts, and watching… planning… waiting…

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