Funny distractions… Basically some internet videos.

It has been a crazy week.

I had a horrendous call shift, I had a presentation, I worked a bunch… The usual.

I also watched White Christmas with the Child, managed to hit the gym and got to see some old friends for a bit.

I distracted myself with all sorts of randomness, Christmas knitting inclusive.  I thought I would share some of my YouTube distractions from the week… Mainly because nobody wants to see the dishcloths and other stuff I have been knitting.

To start, honest trailers.  This kept me from doing work last weekend for at least an hour.  I mean, they really are honest and hilarious.

Then there was this commercial a friend posted on Facebook that I just had to watch before bed last night.  And then, in my overtired state, I kept giggling about it.

Patrick found this gem tonight.  We laughed hysterically through most of it.  Maybe it isn’t that funny, but we really thought it was.  

And to make things festive, here is a video from Rhett & Link that the Child introduced me to that takes many of the Christmas Carols I hate and makes them, well, hilarious, thanks to autocaption fails.

Lastly, I found this gem looking for the previous Rhett & Link video for this post.  I feel like this actually happens when I am on road trips (minus the speeding ticket part).  It also happens when Patrick and I are walking down the street.  Fact… It happened tonight while we were walking down the street.  We are indeed going to embarrass our teenage children.

On that note, have you had recent distractions?  Anything entertaining?

Reasons Our Cat Is Purring

Jeter, our wild-child of a cat, is generally a very content feline.  He purrs incessantly for any variety of reasons including some that we, as humans see as somewhat inappropriate and others as very appropriate.

Patrick and I have had a bit of a running joke around Jeter’s purring. He has been content since we first got him… After he ran out of his carrier when we first brought him home and jumped from counter to counter and broke a mug then settled in as if he never lived anywhere else.

I am sure you have all heard of the fabulous site reasonsmysoniscrying.com.

Well, I have an alternate topic that we have discovered… Reasons our cat is purring.

I’ll start with some normal, somewhat expected ones…

  • We are patting him.
  • We are scratching him aggressively.
  • We just got home.
  • Cat nip.

    Rolling in the catnip on the scratching apparatus.

    Rolling in the catnip on the scratching apparatus.

  • We let him in our bedroom after he scratched incessantly outside our door keeping us awake since 5 in the morning.
  • We are playing with him and his feather on a stick.

    Playing in our new home.

    Playing in our new home.

  • He is playing with my pager (until it beeps, then he freaks out).
  • He broke my ear buds (again).
  • We are playing with him and his large plastic tie that was holding the air conditioner box together.
  • He is sprawled out awkwardly.

    This was one of his main napping poses leaning up against me.  He woke up only when I moved to take the picture.

    This was one of his main napping poses leaning up against me. He woke up only when I moved to take the picture.

  • He just ran to catch his toy.
  • He just got back from running to catch his toy (without the toy in tow).
  • He is snuggled in bed with us.
  • He is snuggled on the couch with us.IMG_0590
  • We opened the closet where we keep his treats.
  • We fed him treats.
  • A rousing game of hide and pounce.  Bonus points if the humans are sleepy and just trying to go to bed.

Okay, now for some that are a bit weird, but still within the realm of normal.

  • We picked him up.IMG_0856
  • We put him down.
  • We are having a wrestling match on the floor.
  • He broke his feather on a stick (again).
  • He hears any bag rustle that may be a treat bag but probably isn’t.
  • We brought home groceries.IMG_0519
  • He broke out and ran down the hall of the apartment building.
  • He got out on the balcony.IMG_0670
  • He came in from the balcony.
  • He knocked over a glass of water.photo
  • He knocked anything off of any surface.
  • He got wedged in a drawer.

    He likes to climb into our clothing drawers or cupboards.  And lets us close him in them from time to time.  Not the brightest.

    He likes to climb into our clothing drawers or cupboards. And lets us close him in them from time to time. Not the brightest.

  • He chewed multiple holes in his Costco sized bag of food (aka his buffet).
  • He sat on my laptop.
  • He crashed into a wall.
  • He fell off a high surface.
  • He is practicing his parkouring.
  • We had house guests.
  • He is watching us play Wii (namely the string on the controller).
  • He got first dibs on the post-shower bathtub water.
  • The maintenance man came to fix something in the apartment.
  • He got in the garbage.
  • Any kind of bag is in his presence and available to jump in… Bonus points if he can rip it or damage it in some way.IMG_0510
  • We were building something.

    Lining up the fabric on the cushion while Jeter plays with the screws from the bench.

    Lining up the fabric on the cushion while Jeter plays with the screws from the bench.

And then there are the things that are just plain bizarre.

  • He bit me.
  • He bit me again.
  • He is chewing on, well, anything.
  • He ate pea soup.
  • He was locked in a closet, drawer or suitcase for an unknown period of time.
  • He was caught drinking from the toilet.
  • He is all around present when someone is using the toilet.
  • He was in the shower when I turned on the water.
  • He gets to watch us brush our teeth.
  • He got OUT of the sun.IMG_0673
  • He is attacking what he perceives to the monster under the blankets (double points if he wakes up the humans in the bed with the monster).
  • The dishwasher is open.
  • He is trying to eat the flowers Patrick bought me for any given occasion (taking them away just increasing his apparent self satisfaction).
  • He is trying to kill the Halloween costume he was lent by his frenemy Ellie.IMG_0951
  • He sprinkled a generous serving of cat nip over the entire apartment.
  • He is shredding any important document we own into tiny unrecognizable pieces.
  • The printer is printing.

    Printing 99 copies of blank paper for his attacking pleasure.

    Printing 99 copies of blank paper for his attacking pleasure.

  • We sprayed him with the water bottle that is “a punishment”
  • We removed him (for the millionth time) from the dining room table/kitchen counter.
  • He is sending us messages.IMG_0853
  • Winter is coming.IMG_0946

This after just over one year of life together.

Again, the fact that he ate his cage name tag and tried to chew on my arm our first meeting should have been red flags.

At least he is happy.  Or that is what I want to think.

Diagnosing the Cat

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Jeter chilling on my parents’ fridge. No worse for the wear.

Patrick, Jeter and I had an interesting adventure this weekend.

Jeter came home with us, which is not that out of the ordinary.  He is a strangely road-trip friendly cat.

The weird comes in when he had this weird fit getting out of his cage at my parents’ house that I chalked up to being freaked out because his foot was caught.  Then, he did it again on our way to his grandfather’s house.  This time, Patrick thought he was having a seizure.

But, it wasn’t a seizure.

Nonetheless, he hissed at us (something Jeter has never done), so we thought there might really be something wrong. Patrick more than me.  But I have had the fear response beaten out of me.  We bickered about this.  That I claimed our cat just has some autistic type traits (in the end I was kind of right… Not autistic, but OCD, nonetheless something in the DSM.).

So, we took Jeter for his first “emergency room” visit.

We wound up seeing a really nice vet who happened to be in the office tending to a cat who was hit by a car and was subsequently having a much worse day than Jeter.

Jeter by this point was back to his curious self and repeatedly tried to leap off the table to explore the office and get up as high as humanly possible.

While I pinned down our now 6kg cat (apparently this is okay given his giant frame), the vet poked him over, asked us questions and declared him perfectly healthy.

Well, not perfectly.

Apparently, Jeter has a relatively rare and ill-defined syndrome called Feline Hyeresthesia Syndrome or Twitchy Cat Syndrome or Rolling Skin Syndrome.

The fact that he has weird back twitches (that I always thought were normal) and now these more intense “fits” (where he spasms from his head to his back legs) puts it together.  The stress of being in a carrier and being bounced around being carried across the yard on top of the road trip and such made him have worsened spasms.  Or at least that is the theory given the fact he never had ones that severe that we ever paid attention before.

We learned that basically it is some sort of fusion of an OCD type picture.  Anxiety worsens the twitching, the twitching makes the cat thing something is attacking him, he freaks out.  And repeat.  Apparently, it is also kind of neurologic because it seems to start in one dermatome and work its way down.

The good part is that it is generally not severe and often does not require medication or anything like that.  If things do get bad, there are options.  The biggest concern is that he could start self-harming if the twitches are frequent.  He hasn’t shown a sign of that.

Basically, like having a kid with OCD or autism, we have to have him with a consistent routine, make sure he gets lots of exercise and eats well and minimize triggers.  It can be brought on or worsened by stress.

We learned that the carrier seems to be a big issue, even though he is fine with it in the car, he seems to run into trouble when it is more jostled.  So, we tried carrying him to the car and out of the car.  No big fits.

The other tidbit the vet suggested was to keep him safe when the episodes are intense, but don’t interfere too much or he might think you are involved.  That explains the hissing at me. when he is usually so jolly.

Jeter my Mom and Grandmother all visiting one another.

Jeter my Mom and Grandmother all visiting one another.

Since that day, he hasn’t had another “fit,” but I have started noticing his back twitching and that he intermittently bolts for no good reason like something is chasing him (although it is tough to discern whether that is related to the Twitchy Cat or just his general hyperactivity).  We are a bit anxious about traveling with him again, but really, he seems to be otherwise okay, so I am sure we will, so long as we are sure things aren’t getting worse.

So, yes… We learned that our cat is basically weirder than we originally suspected.  And he is strangely well adjusted despite that.   At least now we can explain a bit of the crazy.

Imperfection

Today’s daily prompt from the Daily Post is entitled “Imperfection.”  The prompt asks for an imperfection you cherish.

I fear imperfection and yet I embrace it.

It is funny how we tend to strive for perfection.  I worry about doing everything right.  I want my apartment to be perfect, I want my work to be perfect, I want my marriage to be perfect.  We want and we strive.

That is great, but not always realistic.

We all have limits.  We are imperfect.

The only person who is perfect is God.

I think that is what I love.  I love that we are flawed in some ways.  It makes us charming and unique.

The old house with the creaky stairs and funny wall paper has character.  The way Patrick mixes up song lyrics and tunes is funny.  The scars we collect over time have great stories behind them and show how we have grown and changed and survived. My cat that someone else lost or did not want who bites but never scratches is a funny little imperfection I wouldn’t trade for the world.

The little imperfections are sometimes some of the best things.

I dislike most of my own imperfections.  I think that is how we are programmed.  I hate that I am accident prone, that I have some dysgraphia going on, that I can’t rhyme, that I am a perfectionist and that I have acne scars.

I do like that my imperfections make me who I am.  I generally wouldn’t trade them in.

If I had to pick one imperfection in myself that I cherish, I don’t know what I would choose.

If I had to pick one overall, I guess I would pick the cat.  Because as odd and anomalous as he is, I really do like him.IMG_0394

The Cat’s In the Bag

Jeter is ridiculous.  I am pretty sure people have had wind of that.

He has a strange obsession with bags.  Especially the reusable grocery bags.  He likes to dive in them and chew holes in them.  So far, he has taken down two bags… One of which we can’t return for a replacement for free.  And the one we can try to trade in is so mangled we are unsure if we can justify it.

Although I have now begun to protect the bags fervently, he still tries to snatch them.  Particularly when we get home with groceries.  First, he finds the meat.  Once that is away, it is all about diving in bags.  It is kind of bizarre, but entertaining to watch.IMG_0510 IMG_0519

 

The biggest bright side to his bag obsession is that while he is diving in bags, he can’t be climbing into cupboards. That and it makes me laugh… So long as my bag remains intact.

All Things Green, Patricky or Snake-ish… A St. Patrick’s Day Post

Today is Patrick’s favourite day… St. Patrick’s day… Or as he was calling it today on Facebook, “St. Me Day.”

I would like to point out that I dug out a green sweater to wear today (that and it was a warm sweater and it is often cold in church).  I feel like that is leading me to embrace some of the Irish culture I married in to.  I would also like to point out that my very Irish husband is not wearing green, but teal… A color that is more akin to blue in my opinion, although I will give him the green undertones thing.

For more green fun, I have a friend who made green pancakes today.  And apparently some folks dyed a Chicago river green (that, my friends, is a lot of food colouring).

Our cake looked like this before it baked… Except slightly darker… And much darker on the way out. Image via jennicanknit.blogspot.ca.

Speaking of food colouring… Once, when I was 11 or 12, my friend V and I were at her house and decided to bake a cake from scratch.  So, we found a recipe for a white cake.  But, we thought said white cake would be more fun if it were not white.  So, we dyed it my favourite colour at the time, green.  Except we got a bit keen on the food colouring, so it turned out to be a really, really dark green… Like garbage bag coloured.  Then, she picked her favourite colour for the icing… Pink.  We were scared of it turning red, so we were so easy on the red food colouring it was a flesh-tone sort of pink.  We presented it to her parents after supper and could not figure out why they weren’t super game on eating it.  As I recall, it looked disgusting.  And I don’t even like white cake that much, but I thought it was pretty good.

For some Irish flair to today’s post, I present to you the “Leprachaun Brothers” singing “O Danny Boy.”  You just have to love the Muppets!

This little diddy made me laugh through all kinds of tough times (well, Patrick finding it on YouTube and playing it for me did).  One of my med school friends and I used to sing this at times each taking one of the characters and doing the harmonies.  Sometimes it was sporadic, but other times it was brought on by this hymn we sang in choir at the palliative care memorial services that was to the same tune.

In other St. Patrick’s day related stuff, he apparently drove snakes out of Ireland.  I just thought I would take this random post full of unrelated stuff to share about how I watched a snake hunter show the morning of my wedding with my parents in their bed at 6am.  And my mother, who is terrified of snakes freaked out repeatedly.  What a way to spend some of my last hours of single-ness.

We had a friend in high school who had a pet snake.  I wanted to borrow it sometime.  She assured us the only time it bit was if you happened to smell like a mouse.  Pro-tip… Don’t ever smell like mouse in the presence of a snake.

Lastly, the name Patrick makes me think of two things besides my husband… And neither of them are the day.  Both are commercials from the 90s.  One is a life insurance commercial in which a son (Patrick) calls up his Dad to report he took out life insurance.  We always used to quote this line, “Patrick took out life insurance!  Good for you, son!” at Patrick when we first met him.  The other is a Canadian Heritage moment about how we got some good Irish names. 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Guest Post: The Land Before Jeter

Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, you are in for a special treat.  My lovely husband Patrick has decided to write what will be his second guest post  (to see his first guest post click me) here on this blog on a topic near and dear to his heart me our cat.

It’s me again. You have already heard a lot about Jeter’s (pronounced “Gee-ter”) infamous shenanigans from my wonderful wife.  Now I’d like to tell you my side of what led to us getting our unique creature!

Image from avena.co.uk.

As she said, it’s true that growing up I was rarely without a pet cat – which was awesome as the animal and cat-lover I am.  My family back home and I said goodbye to “Cuddles” this summer after 15 great years. I was glad I could be there for her last moments, which was hardly a given considering we had just moved closer to home after years on an island a day’s drive away.

Cuddles was actually the kitten of Mitsy, my grandparents’ cat, which is funny story in itself.

Granky, as we still call him, decided he was going to surprise Grammy with a cat for Christmas since their previous cat had died a couple years before.  Of course his first stop was the local animal shelter, however he didn’t realize their no holiday adoption policy. So he replied to a newspaper ad and picked up the cat from its owner a few days before Christmas. He then had my Uncle who lived in the basement apartment below them keep the cat so it could truly be a Christmas surprise.  Everything went as planned and needless to say Grammy was overjoyed to find a cat with a pink collar under the tree on Christmas morning.

Unbeknownst to anyone Mitsy was preggers! So less than two months after Christmas, Mitsy had a litter of 3 kittens.  We were between cats (so to speak), so my little sister was allowed to pick one of them to take home.  She picked the runt of the litter, a small black and white kitten who she named “Cuddles,” of course.

What Cuddles lacked in size she made up for in personality to say the least!

Cuddles was like no other cat we had before and did not live up to her name in her early years. Unlike Mitsy, who was very friendly and happy, Cuddles let you know if she was not pleased by biting or hissing more than our previous cats. She was however very much a lap cat (when she felt like it) and would sleep on your lap four hours if you let her.  But what made Cuddles truly unique in our eyes was how talkative she was. Most people say one the best things about animals is that they listen to you without talking back, however Cuddles always wanted the last word. It didn’t matter what you said with her around she would give her opinion on it.

Although she was officially my sister’s cat, I’d like to think I was one of her favorites, evidenced by the fact that she barely ate the first time I was away from home for a summer. Cuddles also liked to sleep in my room and would whine loudly if I didn’t let her back in after she inevitably let her out in the middle of the night.

I don’t know if animals go to heaven but if they do I think Cuddles will greet us by saying “what took you so long?” Cuddles was a one-of-a kind cat and it was tough to lose her as any animal lover can relate to.

So you see when Trisha and I decided we would get our first cat together I wanted a cat with personality even if I knew it wouldn’t be the same.  As they say, be careful what you wish for!

We knew Jeter was different the moment we met him. He ate his name tag and then pawed at Trisha’s head through the cage or as Trisha told me recently “tried to pull my head closer to bite it” as Jeter does like to do when playing.  Jeter also quickly adjusted to his new home after briefly jumping on the counter and breaking a mug.  Instead of hiding like most cats do when put in a new situation Jeter jumped on the coach and sat between us, where he stayed until I had to go to work soon after.  That was the first sign that Jeter was not a lap cat…..yet. The closest he got was putting his two paws on our stomachs while sitting beside us.

Jeter is currently sleeping beside me in his….I mean Trisha’s spot on the couch. The only time he gets on our laps is if we hold him there or if Trisha picks him out of a dead sleep when he is sleepy and defenseless.  I admit I’ve been tempted but can’t bring myself to do it, even if he sleeps half of his life away.

Jeter doesn’t talk as much as Cuddles did, at least not to us. He does like to talk to himself, which could be a hunting call according to some sources.  He will respond to his name if he’s in the mood in his own language.  He also does not get that loud but sounds pitiful when he really wants something.

Trisha has talked about his dog-like qualities of following us around the house and stretching after a good nap similar to the dog we dog-sat over New Years.  Jeter is very playful and bites when he gets over-stimulated or excited, however I assure Trisha that he will get gentler as time goes by based on experience and articles I read. We both agree that he likely won’t settle or  change too much in terms of energy level which is fine with us. IMG_0380

Recently, I saw a “calming collar” in a pet store for cats that are stressed or need calming down etc.  I’m sure it does the job when necessary and think it’s great if it makes the difference between someone keeping a cat or giving it up. However, I don’t think Jeter is that extreme despite all his craziness (although I don’t like to use the C-word… Just kidding!) and wouldn’t want to change him that much.

I really think Jeter was meant to be for us, as corny as that may sound. After all, he is the first cat to win over my wife’s heart and that has to mean something! She is amazed as I am that she really loves Jeter despite his “spirited” ways.  I really don’t need any more reasons to admire and love my wonderfully cheerful wife, but seeing her play, talk and cuddle Jeter gives me one more.  On an aside, I can only imagine the effect seeing her with our first child will have on me. Oops, I think I officially crossed Trisha’s mushy tolerance line so I’ll leave it at that.

I also think that our new apartment/city feels much homier with a cat around.  Not to mention he is nice company to have around on nights like tonight when Trisha is on-call at the hospital.

In conclusion, I think it’s already obvious that for us Jeter the cat will go down in history as much as the Yankees great he is named for!

-Patrick

Related Jeter Posts: Minionship… How We Are Learning To Be a Family With a Cat and L’Halloween et un chat.

Our Fake Family

Today is post-call day 2/3 in 6 days. I am glad I don’t stem from the day and age that everyone did regular 1 in 2 or 3 call. It is painful. Even the cardiologist I am on service with thinks it is crazy.

Last night was a bit rough. Not Gen Surg rough, but 2h of sleep rough.

But then, I get to come home to my lovely family. Patrick, the cat dog and our apartment house in the middle of a snowstorm. We are dog sitting for one of the other residents in our program and tonight because we like the dog and because the weather is suboptimal for three trips to the dog’s house, we are having a sleep over.

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I kind of feel like the song “Let It Snow” is relevant.

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I had a nice post-call nap and we are settled in for an evening of books, movies and Scrabble. I am even wearing my sweet new PJs from Patrick’s sister. All in our pretend house with our pretend dog. All we need is a pretend baby (although baby may hamper my sleep).

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Also, we found this gem… A snowman either building, kissing, or as I prefer beheadding another snowman.

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Simple days like this make life great (I only hope it rains a bunch again to take the snow all way before we have to leave in the morning).

Minionship… How we are learning to be a family with a cat.

Patrick and I have been minions to our cat Jeter now for a month and a half.

Some people might call us cat parents, but honestly when people call themselves “Mommy” or “Daddy” to their cat, it freaks me out.  We made a deal not to say that.  We think our cat is smarter than that too.  He likely sees us as glorified servants… Or his minions.

Having a cat in some ways is a flash forward to parenthood.  Not in entirety.  Cats are easier than kids.  But, sometimes, especially where Jeter is only around 1, which makes him like a cat teenager, it feels like we are parents to a difficult child.

As I said previously, Jeter is my first ever real pet, minus some fish in elementary school and some freakishly well cared for earthworms.  Patrick has had a number of pets, including several cats and a bird.

So, when we got Jeter, I read a bunch around having cats.  I set up his food and his litter box in different areas.  I made him a box-bed, even though odds are he wouldn’t use it because that is what one website suggested.

Turns out he adjusted more quickly than most cats.  He was at home with us in a day.

He is ridiculously friendly.  He greets us at the door.  He greets strangers at the door.

He isn’t quite a lap cat.  He doesn’t just climb up to cuddle.  He will sit half on you or near enough to be touching.  He loves being patted (just not for too long).  In fact, we suspect, based on his ability to fetch and how he likes his affection/attention, he may think he is a dog.  He even drinks out of the toilet!

Patrick and Jeter having a rare full on cuddly moment.

Patrick and Jeter having a rare full on cuddly moment.

He is quiet.  Even when he is being loud.  But he has the pathetic noise mastered.   And he talks all the time.  Just not loudly.  We have yet to hear him growl or hiss.  We debate whether he just doesn’t know how or if he is never being devious.

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One day, I was chilling out, watching TV and this is how he fell asleep beside me.

He sprawls more than curls.  In fact, he can be found in some rather precarious positions.

In fact, he often appears to be dead.

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We find the cat like this or sprawled on his side. And often discuss how he looks dead. He just stares at us through squinty eyes and goes back to sleep.

Jeter, like a child, has endless energy (at least during those few hours he is awake).  His exploration skills are top notch.  On his first day with us, he  disappeared and was found in our stackable dryer.  A few weeks ago, Patrick couldn’t find him and found him in a closed kitchen cupboard.

The best part  of this incident is that all we heard was a thunk and then a crash and meowing.  The door had closed behind him.

The best part of this incident is that all we heard was a thunk and then a crash and meowing. The door had closed behind him.

The problem is, sometimes we just don’t know what to do with his energy.  He uses a great deal of it to climb up on counters and tables and all kinds of places we don’t want him to be.  He has gnawed a chunk out of a corner of poorly laid carpet.  And he thinks we are his cat buddies and intermittently tries to chew on our legs.

Thankfully, he never uses claws, and doesn’t bite hard enough to break skin.  Also, his scratching habit is limited to our fake leather ottoman, the carpet outside our bedroom (because he wants to get in) and at times the couch (the biggest issue of all).  It appears he generally only does any of this when we are home.  Otherwise, things would be more mangled.

He likes to climb into our clothing drawers or cupboards.  And lets us close him in them from time to time.  Not the brightest.

He likes to climb into our clothing drawers or cupboards. And lets us close him in them from time to time. Not the brightest.

Navigating the world of cat behavior has been rough.  Like any new parent (minion), we read all sorts of things on the internet.  We yell “Ow” when he chews on us.  We push towards him when he chews on us.  We ignore him when he chews on us.  We chuck him off of surfaces.  We redirect him with toys.  We pat and praise the pulp out of him for good behavior.

When none of this worked, we invested in dollar store spray bottles.  Whoo negative conditioning. It worked on other creatures.  He isn’t a big fan.  He now knows when he is doing things wrong, but still waits for us to move towards the bottle to stop.  And he doesn’t actually hate getting wet.  He twitches at the bottle.  But he only actually moves if you get him near the head/neck.  Lower limbs/body mean nothing.

Then, it was on to positive reinforcement.   Cat treats for using his scratching post.  Cat treats for not jumping on the counter when we yell at him from the living room.  Cat treats for not chewing on us when he sits with us on the couch.  Then he realized I keep them in my pockets.  And he tried chewing on my pocket… Clever.

We read somewhere to get the pet a toy their size to fight with.  We had this lying around the house.  This is one of the only times he attacked it.

We read somewhere to get the pet a toy their size to fight with. We had this lying around the house. This is one of the only times he attacked it.

Finally, it was becoming even more child like.  We started doing time-outs.  He gets sent to a room alone for repeated bad behavior.  Only for 5 minutes or so.  But, he hates being in another room, so it probably works the best.

Really, when it all comes down to it, our cat is kind of like a teenager.  He sleeps most of the time, but then goes out of his way to make us a bit crazy.  He makes eye contact before doing something bad and seems to get a kick out of our reaction.  But, in the end, he still needs us (and I think he likes us).

And his behavior, for the most part, has improved exponentially.  He doesn’t jump up on surfaces nearly as much.  And he has stopped randomly chewing on us, most of the time.  Except when we fight over the Christmas tree or him wanting to sleep with us at night.  And he really doesn’t eat guests.

What? I am totally not trying to eat the tree.

What? I am totally not trying to eat the tree.

As I say this, he is tearing around the house like a banshee!

Despite attempting to buy him cat toys, his favorite item is still yarn I gave him on his first day.  And it still makes Patrick a little paranoid because he had a cat die from choking on yarn.  The thing is, it is a big wad that is all knotted.  And Jeter isn’t exactly one to eat stupid things.

This yarn, however is our tool to get him out of places he shouldn’t be and redirect him from attacking other things around the house… Like our Christmas tree.

I knit a lot, though.  This makes him a bit crazy.  But, it also encourages him to cuddle with us.

He is afraid of the vacuum cleaner, fascinated with the potential world outside our apartment and rather obsessed with the printer.  One of his first time outs, he jumped up on the printer, slid over the other side and got stuck behind the shelf the printer sits on.  Another time, we heard the printer going and found him sitting on it… Making 99 copies of nothing.  And watching the paper come out.  He comes flying when he hears the printer start.  Probably because he loves paper about as much as his string.

Printing 99 copies of blank paper for his attacking pleasure.

Printing 99 copies of blank paper for his attacking pleasure.

Yes, paper.  We became concerned about his whole paper fascination and looked it up online (again, like crazy parents).  It is normal cat behavior to like mangling paper or plastic.  They usually do it when they are bored.  Jeter is either bored a lot  or just really likes paper.  He shreds any paper (he prefers that it not be the glossy thick stuff) into tiny bits.  These tiny bits inhabit every corner of my house, which drives me completely crazy!  He tries to steal our mail.  When I was working on my presentation this week, he would sneak up on me and my heaps to try to steal a page of journal article.  On the plus side, he is encouraging us to make sure all of our important documents are in a safe place.  He did, however eat half of a movie coupon Patrick had.  Thankfully, the bar code is still intact.  Should be interesting to redeem nonetheless.

In cat parenting, we have learned valuable communication lessons..  There were a few days where Patrick thought I was feeding Jeter in the morning when I got up to go to work.  I thought he was feeding him after he took me to work.  Patrick couldn’t figure out why the cat was going crazy and trying to eat everything.  Turns out, he was just starving.

Although we know almost nothing about his past, we have learned he knows to come running for the sound of his food or treat bags.

We treated him to his first cat nip the other night.  This was more of a bizarre social experiment, as we didn’t know how he would react, but hoped that it might have some sort of calming effect.  It did, in a way.  It kept him contained to licking, attacking and rolling around one area like a fool.  Mission accomplished!

Rolling in the catnip on the scratching apparatus.

Rolling in the catnip on the scratching apparatus.

Problem was, the cat nip smell coming from the drawer he already knows contains his treats led him to go on a mission to learn to open said drawer.  We aren’t sure if we didn’t close it all the way or what happened exactly, but somehow, the cat got in, chewed a bunch of holes in the cat nip bag and sprinkled it all over the living room carpet.  And then removed not one, but both bags of cat treats (one full, one half empty) and chewed holes in those and ate what I considered to be the equivalent of his body weight in treats.  Thankfully, he has enough common sense not to eat until he pukes.  Needless to say, he didn’t eat much of anything else that day.

Our crowning minionship moment came last week when Jeter started coughing.  In my opinion, it was a croupy sounding cough.  He coughed and coughed and looked miserable.  Patrick Googled “how to treat a choking cat.”  We cornered him and I got nominated to have a look in his throat (because 4 years of med school gives me so much useful knowledge in this area).  Apparently the movement of being snatched combined with the forceful coughing helped him to get out whatever he had because after a few pitiful yowls, he seemed fine.  We played a bit and went to bed.  And Jeter came with us.  Because Patrick didn’t want him to be alone in case something happened.  The only thing that happened was that Jeter hogged my side of the bed, then in the middle of the night decided to chew on Patrick’s toes.  He was then relinquished back to his hallway and out of our room.

It seems that our minionship has helped us to adjust to the ups and downs of parenting.  There are days where I am convinced he hates me and days he is just plain spiteful and others he can be quite lovely.  I play more now than I did before.  And we get a number of good laughs.

I actually like having him around more than I thought I would.  Funny how life works sometimes.

Oh, to have a pet

I have never really had a pet.

Okay, not quite true.  I did have fish for a couple years when I was around 5.  I was super creative and named them things like Spot and Goldie.  One offed himself by leaping out of the tank.  Eventually, my parents decided that enough was enough and we stopped with the fish.  When I was 16 and working at cadet camp, my friend V and I had fish, as well.  The first summer, we had Mac and Cheese and in an unfortunate turn of events, Mac ate a chunk out of Cheese (after we made jokes it would happen).  The second summer, we went through boot and polish, then polish and cloth, then cloth and kiwi (polish and cloth were still alive for their second pairing)  and then we realized we had three fish die in about a two weeks and decided to call it quits.

There was also this phase when I was around 9 when I kept worms.  Earth worms.  I even built them a full size habitat.

A man up the road had a small hobby farm. He let me name and take care of a rabbit and a goat.

My mother used to tell me she was allergic to dogs and cats, that is why we couldn’t have one.  Turns out she is terrified of dogs, not allergic.  And I was the one who was allergic in the end.

That is my pet resume.  Obviously, it is a bit lacking.

Patrick, on the other hand, has had a number of pets over the years.  He wants to get a cat.  I do too, but more out of curiosity than the same sense of necessity.

So, when our friend V asked us to cat sit her two Siamese cats (brothers), we agreed.  They are super cute and, well, it will help feed Patrick’s longing for a pet.  And maybe I will learn how to take care of one.

I have never taken care of a pet before.  I went to the house on that first day on my own and realized I have never cleaned a litter box and, really, I don’t even know how their little refillable water jug thing works.

I figured it out.  I also spent the entire time I was cleaning the litter box convinced I was going to develop Toxoplasmosis however irrational it is.  It really isn’t too bad.  Not as gross as changing adult diapers… Just saying.

And both cats are still alive.  This is good, especially given one hid most of my first time there and I had an irrational concern that it died somewhere in the house and I would not find it until it started to smell and/or it somehow escaped.

It is a fun trial run pre real pets.  So long as I don’t develop Toxoplasmosis.  And given that is extremely unlikely with a good immune system, I may just get a real pet of my own (and Patrick’s own) at some point.