Thursday, March 31, 2016

TV Ban

For the month of April my family and I are giving up television. I'm working on a book, my husband is trying to find a hobby, and we'd like to spend more quality time with our daughter so we are turning off the television (except on Saturdays before 10 am) to see how much more we get accomplished without the shiny distraction of TV.

I'm starting to panic about this. I know that is ridiculous and realistically speaking we don't watch that much TV, but I can't wrap my mind around not having the ability to distract myself from other things at all. I know I will get so much more reading, writing, and cleaning done and in the end I think I'm really going to enjoy it but I can't help but get a tight feeling in my throat at the thought of going without it for a while. I think that is a sign of a problem. I guess we will see what happens! Who knows, I might even finish my book!

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Horse Screamer

A couple of months ago we had to re-home one of our cats. We had two, a sweet grey kitty who wants nothing more than to sleep in bed with us at night and the orange one who finally had to go live somewhere else after seven years in our house because he was too damn smart and his wants were diametrically opposed to my needs. He wanted to eat literally everything that could possibly be considered food and he wanted me to be awake 24 hours a day.

At first I thought maybe he was just bored and harassing me to keep himself entertained. So I bought laser pointers, jingly-bell balls, catnip mice, and all the other things a cat could use to keep himself occupied. We played, he chased, he hid toys in my shoes and under the couch, but none of it helped. The yowling never quieted, the destruction of furniture and door frames never ceased, and he never stopped standing on dressers and tables in the middle of the night to push things over and cause a clatter while I slept.

Then I thought that maybe he was just really hungry all the time. I decided I would increase the amount of food he was getting to see if that would help him be calm. I got up to feeding him 6 times a day before it became clear that no matter how much food I gave him the noise would never stop. I could feed him so much he would literally explode and his disembodied little head would still roll around, screaming and looking for additional noms. So maybe it wasn't the amount of food but the fact that he saw me as the "feeding machine". So off to the pet store I went and I brought back a small automatic feeder. It had two sides that held food, each with a timer that could be set to open the door a specific number of hours later. This was the worst decision. Both cats could smell the food inside of it and had nothing but time to screw around with this machine to see if they could outsmart it. First they smacked it. When that produced no food they used their heads to push it around the room a bit. When that didn't work they used their claws to try and gouge open the plastic. Oh, and did I mention that this was all happening at 4 in the morning? By the time I gave up and went to open the feeder just to make the noise stop I saw both of the cats trying to figure out how to unhinge their jaws like a fucking snake so they could swallow the box whole.

So that feeder went into the garbage and I upgraded to the BIG feeder. It held 5 pounds of food and released it into a dish on the bottom of the machine in whatever intervals you chose. I brought that sucker into the house, filled it up, and knew it would be the thing that finally ended the sleepless nights in my house. But to my horror I discovered that the insatiable appetite possessed by my kitty could not be stopped by the mere presence of an automatic feeder. He quickly learned that if you knock it on it's side the top usually pops off and then you have access to 5 lbs of food! So I just as quickly learned that the top of the machine has to be held on with duct tape.

And so it went, my coming up with solutions and always being one step behind. The grey cat had no issues, he just wanted to participate in the fun of playing with his friend, but the orange cat was a noisy, destructive bastard. Shutting the noisy one in another room just meant he shook the door and pooped outside of his box in anger. I couldn't make him an outdoor cat because we lived on a major street and he would have been hit by a car (or eaten by a coyote, which we also have around here.) Feliway, sleepy treats, and other calming products accomplished nothing at all. Multiple vets had examined him over the course of several years and none had found a medical cause for his caterwauling. So what is a person to do when all of the options have failed? I sent him to the farm.

That isn't a euphemism. I found a miniature horse farm and cranberry bog about half an hour from here and brought him there to be a barn cat. I still get pictures and updates letting me know how happy he is there with lots of space to explore and other animals with which to spend his time. I hope he is ecstatic with his life there now, though my experience with him as my kitty for 7 years makes me think that now he just stands in the middle of the barn and screams at the horses all night long. I'd feel bad for the horses except they seem to be doing fine and I am getting a full night's sleep now, so I consider this a win for everyone.

I miss you, Oliver. I wish you could have been happy living in my house, but if you are happiest screaming at horses then I'm glad I was able to give that to you.