Saturday, November 22, 2014

Confession #11: Cat Lady Problems (1 Through 5)

I got 99 problems......and Myrtle is ALL of them. 
In no particular order:

1. Dry winter air.
When you were a kid, did you ever take a balloon and rub it on the carpet and then have fun sticking it to your clothes, or use it to make your hair stand on end?

A cat in winter seems to have the same properties of said balloon.

The other day I had to peel Myrtle off my pants. It was as if each fine hair on her body became a tentacle, ruthlessly grasping fibers of my clothing. The crackle of electricity momentarily silenced Myrtle's hisses of displeasure. I'm fairly certain we generated enough wattage to light a few lamps.

I'm ready to slather that cat in some hydrating lotion. Otherwise, I may show up to work one of these days wearing Myrtle- via the magic that is static cling.

2. Thievery and War Games.
I spend literally HUNDREDS of cents on ear plugs. Myrtle loves to steal them from my night stand and hide them. Until the night comes. And then she hunts them. Loudly. Crashing through the apartment, bouncing off the walls, and howling her fierce feline battle cry. I'm also pretty sure these ear plugs must be some kind of strange living organisms to put up such a fight. And......apparently they breed like rabbits. Having learned my lesson, I keep a pair of ear plugs in a case so Myrtle can't get to them, but I STILL find them all over the place. I throw them away, but they keep showing up....

3. Cat "Empty".
I woke up one morning to Myrtle meowing loudly at the door. Like, really pathetically. As in the echoing wails were trailing off into shaky, shuddering little sobs. Her wee paws reaching, beseechingly, under the door, searching for anyone, ANYONE, who would come to her aid.


I opened the door and she streaked in, desperately performing several figure eights around my feet. Then, she trotted down the hallway, stopped, looked back. . ."Mew?"

She led me to where the food is. Myrtle sat in front of the bowl, looked up at me, and let out one more big, "MRRRRROOOOOOOWWWWW!" This one more accusing. As in, "I'm starving!! I can't believe you let me go this long without sustenance. Look at this travesty. . . an EMPTY BOWL. . .as empty as your soul, human!"

I looked at the travesty. The "empty" bowl. The bowl was filled to the brim with a ring of food. During the night, she had eaten the middle out of the bowl. And that, my friends, is the definition of cat "empty."

4. Pain.
Myrtle has a Brillo pad tongue she occasionally tries to bathe me with. She seems to think human skin is not clean until she has reached a layer of new skin cells. She also possesses a diabolical knowledge of human anatomy. Especially during the cold, dark, pre-dawn hours. Jump on the kidney. Pounce on the solar plexus. Knead the bladder. .Then it's, "Hey, as long as you're up. . .feed me, pet me, don't pet me, stare at the wall with me, turn on the computer so I can sit on the keyboard. . .NOW." Hiss. Swat.

5. Sneak Attacks.
To prevent sneak attacks from maniacs hiding in the bathroom, I rarely keep the shower curtain closed. However, I made the nearly fatal mistake of pulling it closed one night, and in a fit of movie girl idiocy, I went to investigate strange noises. As I parted the curtain a hissing, clawing maniac came leaping at me. I am now scarred for life. Physically and emotionally. Darn you, Myrtle! Darn you to heck!!!!!

Make no mistake, Myrtle is a wonderful cat. And I fearlove her so much. Myrtle is an adorevil cat. (Thanks to my friend T for coming up with the term "adorevil." There aren't words in the English language to describe Myrtle, so we must create new ones. And, yes, those are my kitty cat jammies. They are freakin awesome, are they not?) 

I will be sharing more Cat Lady Problems in future posts. 

But right now I need to go take care of a pressing Myrtle-related situation.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Confession #10: And, Suddenly, I'm a Money-Loving City Girl

Ever wake up one morning and nearly everything in your life has changed?

As of my last blog post (here) I was on a farm in the middle-of-nowhere-Kentucky, unemployed, broke, and living with the dog, the cat, the cat, the cat, and the cat....

Now, I'm in an apartment in the city, employed, slightly less broke, and living with the dog and the cat. I could only take one cat.

Which cat?

Myrtle, of course. Myrtle wins everything.

The other cats are at the farm with Mom and Dad. I miss them. A lot. They are transitioning to full-time outdoor/barn kitties. . .unless any of you want one of these semi-famous, adorably cute, kind of neurotic cats. . .

Anyhow, we're all settling in. City life is different. But I go where the money is. I love money. You know, so I can buy fun things. Like food. And shelter.

Charlie, who is the most perfect angel dog, has adjusted pretty well to apartment living. Mostly. He misses being able to run free on the farm, but we live in a lovely area and take lots of walks. There are two things we've had to work on, though:

1) I've shared before (here) that Charlie does a fantastic James Earl Jones impression when strangers pass by our door in hotel rooms- a low, imposing rumble. And now, our apartment- every time our neighbors pass by. E.v.e.r.y.t.i.m.e. Sometimes, if the neighbors walk a little too close to our door, Charlie breaks out his pretty darn convincing Cujo.
He does that with the cats, too. But always feels ashamed afterwards.

2) Charlie has a beautiful singing voice. He used to howl along with the occasional siren of passing fire trucks. We now live near a hospital. . .
After several weeks, he now understands that his howls are terrifying to others- and LOUD, the echoes bouncing off the other apartment building as Charlie serenades them from our balcony. So he has learned to ignore them, or sometimes he just softly croons. He has learned the art of dimenuendo.

Myrtle has done surprisingly well. Mostly.

She has me a little worried, though.

Of course, I did my due diligence as I was apartment hunting. When I was checking out my current apartment, I responsibly checked the plumbing, light fixtures, and opened the fridge to make sure there was no Zuul.

But ever since we moved in, Myrtle has been doing some..........creepy...........things.

Everyday, Myrtle spends some time staring at my walk-in closet door. Intently. Completely still. Expectantly.

I hope and pray that it's just Narnia on the other side.

And then there's this:

Last week Myrtle started jumping on the headboard of my bed. In the middle of the night. Right above my head. And stares. And makes a low, guttural sound- not quite a growl, not quite a hiss.

I don't even know what to hope and pray for here.

But most of the time she now pretends to be a real (cat food commercial) cat. All affectionate and cuddly-like. We cozy up all together in front of the fireplace all the time now- I read my book and they snooze.

It's a wonderful life. Change is good. The cat lady continues to be a cat lady. Just a little more catless. For now.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Confession #9: The Cat Lady Dates....Or Not. I Am Selective.

Quitting singledom for love and companionship is great and all, but sometimes I want to quit being single just so I don't have to be single and deal with dating. It is a lot of work. A lot of awkward, awkward work. 

I know that holds true for most single people. 


Think first dates are awkward? Try being a cat lady on a first date. 

Things always start off so well....and then....

Man: So, tell me a little more about yourself. Hobbies? Interests?

Me: Well, I love to read. Mostly mysteries. And Jane Austen. And Harry Potter.

Man: My dear lady, I ardently admire and love Harry Potter books. 

Me: You are freakin awesome. 

Man: Thank you.

Me: I also love animals. I have a giant Golden Retriever.

Man: Dogs are cool. Especially big dogs. Any dog less than 50 pounds isn't even a real dog.

Me: Oh, my gosh! I always tell people the same thing! Let's see....what else? Oh, I have cats.

Man: You have a cat?

Me: No, I have cats. Catssssssss.

Man: How many? Two?

Me: Uh, more.

Man: Three?

Me: *cough* More.

Man: What? Like, ten?

Me: No, no, I'm not a crazy cat lady. Four. Just four cats. Only four.

This is the critical juncture of this cat lady's first date. Man's response to my response to The Question: How many cats do you have? 

This will determine if there is any future for Man and me.

Examples of "No Future" responses:
Pained silence.
"Uh, um, wow, uh. Sooooooo....look at the time."
"I'm allergic to cats."
"Cats are evil."

Examples of "There will probably be a 2nd date" responses:
"I'm cool with that. Four isn't even that many."
"Do you want to see some funny cat memes?"
"Hey, I've got four cats, too! We could totally Brady Bunch this thing."
"Cats are evil- we should go look at some kittens after dinner."

Now, should we continue courting, Man will need to understand a few more things. 

-If I have fixed him a delicious meal and he happens upon a random cat hair, he should calmly remove it and keep eating. Or eat it and experience cat-like stealth and an enormous sense of superiority for the next 24-hours. You are what you eat.

-Should we be cuddled on the couch watching Harry Potter movies and the phone rings or the pan of brownies in the oven finishes baking, the person with the least amount of cats in his or her lap is responsible for getting up.

-Should Man find that a cat has puked on his shoe, the only acceptable response is to mutter, "Jerk cat," and ask for a paper towel. Cat puke happens.

-Man must learn that there is NO substituting of the established brands of kibble and litter. NONE. Any deviation will result in excessive complaining and severe punishment. From the cats. Not me. 

-Man must master the delicate- and somewhat dangerous- art of cat petting.

-In direct relation to the aforementioned, Man must have a high threshold of pain.

And, finally....

-Man must lovingly temper my crazy cat lady tendencies OR lovingly go all out and join me. We could be one of those Hollywood-type power couples, like Brangelina- adopting cats from all over the world. We would be amazing. Or crazy. 

We would be cramazing. 

But, before all this cramazingness can happen, I guess I just need to keep slogging through the awkwardness of dating to find Man. Not that I'm in a huge rush to run out and get married or anything. In spite of the awkward dating parts, being single is fun, too.

On the other hand, my next birthday officially puts me closer to 40 than 30. I don't know if I can handle that many cats on my own....

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Confession #8: I Didn't Vote in the Last (Cat) Election

*This post is rated PG-13, due to violence, cat swears, mild cat sensuality, and scenes of intense melodrama.

The world of cat politics is a medieval morass of plots, intrigues, secret alliances, and, yes, even seductions.

I always thought Myrtle was just a name. But in this household, it’s much, much more. It’s a title.

One of these days I’m going to walk into my living room and find a cat triumphantly standing over Myrtle’s lifeless body as the rest of the cats chant, “Myrtle is dead! Long live Myrtle!”

Or, in the tradition of Hamlet, dead bodies scattered across the floor, no one a victor. Or, perhaps it will be more like Macbeth- murder, witches, ghosts, and descents into utter madness. Yeah, that’s probably the one.

Act I, Scene I
(A living room, midnight. Three cats encircle a cauldron, whiskers tossing wildly in the wind- the gusts blowing dust bunnies furiously across the darkened room from the swirling ceiling fan. The dim glow of the nightlight gleams wickedly in their eyes.)

First Cat:          When shall we three meet once more?
At mid-day sun, when naps are o’er?

Second Cat:     When the hissy-fitting’s at an end,
                        And all are established as foe or friend.

Third Cat:         That will be ere night and day blend.

First Cat:          Where is the place?

Second Cat:      Upon the counter top.

Third Cat:         There to meet with Myrtle.

ALL:                Right is wrong, and wrong is right;
                        Slink through the silent and murky night.


Although, things would get a little muddled because I guess Myrtle could be Duncan/Macbeth/Lady Macbeth/witch all rolled into one….

It doesn't matter though, not really. Just know that all necessary elements of  a Shakespearean tragedy are in place.

Myrtle's sudden and mysterious appearance in our lives (that story here) dramatically changed the dynamics of our human-dog-cat-cat existence. Or at least the cat-cat part. Charlie wasn't much bothered. As long as the cats stayed away from his rawhide bones and understood that I was HIS, things remained peaceful on that front.  And I'm just the third person omniscient narrator of the house, of little consequence except to keep the cats fed and the stories told.

Up to this point Severus and Minerva, being well-matched in temperament, respectfully ignored one another, except when seeking a napping and/or bathing companion or the occasional friendly competition of Catch the Red Dot. It was an idyllic time, a peaceful time. And there was much purring in the land.

Then, without warning, came The Age of Myrtle.

I knew Myrtle was trouble from the beginning. Later, I couldn't help but wonder if her original plan had been to try to drive me to madness with her ghostly wails, and when that didn't work, it was on to Plan B. Within a few hours of bringing her into the house, she had barricaded herself in the bathroom. Literally barricaded. She had managed to open the cabinet door under the sink and slink through a small opening in the back and push out two drawers, effectively blocking the bathroom door from opening more than an inch. It took much swearing patience, a wire coat hanger, a ruler, and some duct tape to rectify the situation. I'm sure she did it to buy some time to plot. She now knew there were two other cats to contend with. Her only question: to exterminate or to subjugate?

Severus and Minerva, stereotypically curious, spent long periods of time outside the Portal of Mystery (aka, the bathroom door). Unified by circumstance, the two cats whiled away the hours swiping exploratory paws under the door, trading cat insults and swears through the crack, and speculating with one another in low, anxious hisses. Within a couple of days, after I deemed Myrtle healthy and the decision had been made to keep her, she was released from her quarantine. Myrtle made herself at home quickly.

Physically, she was a small, unprepossessing cat. Short legs, short tail. Great big, soulful, mesmerizing, green eyes.

History reveals many megalomaniacs to be small and unprepossessing with mesmerizing eyes.

She had chosen subjugation over extermination. Megalomaniacs love an audience. And someone upon which to wield their infinite power.

For nearly two years, Myrtle has ruled the cats with an iron paw. Myrtle eats first......even though there are enough food bowls for everyone to eat at the same time. There are occasional, unprovoked, double-pawed face smacks, to keep everyone in line. And the sneak attack baths, to humiliate and demoralize the populace. It is difficult to plot a coup when pinned down and your face is being contorted by powerful licks.

But something is happening. Something has changed in the last few weeks.

I see now that we have all underestimated Minerva's intelligence and thirst for vengeance. She has been biding her time. Watching and learning from Myrtle. Planning and plotting. Until such time as she is ready to act.

When is that time?

Apparently, now.

Step One: Build an army of allies.
Minerva was hoping to recruit Mrs. Weasley, the wee ginger ninja, not so wee anymore. She would be a powerful ally. However, that has proved difficult. Myrtle, in a stroke of cunning genius, promptly took Mrs. W. under her wing upon her arrival last summer. She has been brought up under Myrtle's tutelage and they have a strong Obiwan/Skywalker-type bond. Undaunted, Minerva has continued to plant the seeds of rebellion and still hopes to win the ginger ninja over.

She found greater success gaining Severus's support- through her, uh, feline femininity and the fine art of seduction. She may well be the Mata Hari of cats. Severus's indifference was pronounced- at first. But she was relentlessly persistent and soon he fell victim to Minerva's sessy love dances on the floor in front of him (she looked like a trout out of water, flopping all over the place, but he seemed to like it) and her throaty purrs of, "Hey, big boy...." To finish him off, she sang her trilling siren song- a truly impressive compilation of every cat vocalization known to man, and then some. She was his Pied Piper, and she led him merrily down the path of insurrection.

Step Two: Make an unmistakable stand against your foe.
It happened at the food bowls one night. It was the cat equivalent of the Boston Tea Party or Patrick Henry's impassioned "Give me liberty, or give me death!" Momentous. The message could not be ignored. I was scooping food into each bowl, Myrtle sitting right next to them and the other cats hanging back. Suddenly, Minerva sauntered up and sat in front of one of the bowls. Myrtle hissed. Minerva ignored. Claws extended, Myrtle's paw swiped the air in warning. Then the unthinkable occurred. Minerva full-on smacked Myrtle upside the head. There was a collective gasp as we watched Myrtle's whiskers quiver in outraged surprise. I quickly poured the remaining kibble and left the room. I hate confrontations.

Step Three: Prepare for battle.
In the days following The Great Kibble Rebellion, the hot, humid summer air has been rife with tension. Myrtle spends much of her time perched on her throne, eyeing everyone and every thing with deep suspicion, starting at the slightest sound or movement. Minerva and Severus are often found conspiring, whispering plans through their whiskers. Mrs. Weasley no longer seems certain of her loyalty to Myrtle, but is unwilling to commit to Minerva's cause as yet. So, she is remaining neutral for now and spends most of her time in the bedroom, away from the other cats, communing with Frogbert, the toad that lives in the window well.

I, too, remain neutral, as a good storyteller must. I don't know how this will end, only time will tell. But I do know things will never be the same.......

Revolution is nigh.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Confession #7: I Tip-toe Along the Fine Line of Crazy

I've stated emphatically that, while I am a cat lady, I am NOT a crazy cat lady.


But there are times when I push the boundaries. Perhaps even dip a toe in the warm waters of insanity, just to test them out.

I always come back, though.

For now.

There will probably be a time in the distant (or not too distant) future when I am a full-on, card-carrying member of CCLAW (Crazy Cat Lady Association of the World). Maybe even the president.

When evaluating whether you've crossed the line from cat enthusiast to feline fanatic, there are a few soul-searching questions to ask yourself. About once a quarter, I take stock and self-assess with the following four questions:

1) What percentage of cat-related decor/furnishing dominates my household?

We'll start with the big stuff. I recently purchased this climbing tree and cat apartment, so the cats would have plenty of perching/hiding areas. I should have saved my money. If you look closely in the photo, you just might be able to see the last bits of tumbleweed blowing across the deserted kitty cat haven. Don't get me wrong. The products aren't defective. The cats are.

There are also three cat scratching posts.

In mint condition.

They aren't defective. The cats are.

And here's my new cookie jar.

Funny side-story: Moments after this photo was taken, Mrs. Weasley tried to rub cheeks with this new cat. The new cat's head toppled off and gave Mrs. W. a massive coronary. She was traumatized for the rest of the afternoon.

But my piece de resistance, the gem of the collection, the treasure to end all treasures- this mirror. It was an amazing flea market find a few weeks ago. Don't be jealous.

So, collectively, I'm probably around 15-20% cat furnishing/decor. Just a minor blip on the Crazy Cat Lady Radar.

I do need to be careful, though. One of my friends informed me that these are gateway Crazy Cat Lady knick-knacks. And there are so many things that I secretly (well, not so much secretly now) covet.

I'll just covet these from afar.

For now.

A couch for the living room, with some tasteful throw pillows:

And every home needs a bit of high-end art. This is the original. Now we know the secret behind Mona Lisa's smile:

(My birthday is in two months and Christmas is only  four months away. Hint, hint.)

2) What percentage of my apparel/jewelry is cat-themed, and how often do I wear them in public?

I don't think I even warrant a blip on the CCLR in this arena. I have one T-shirt given to me by my sister, Liz (as a joke, but I love it), and two pairs of cat jammies. None of it worn in public. Probably works out to about 0.5%......I have a lot of clothes......

Now, I do have a slight hankering for these....

(I'm lying. It's not a slight hankering. I really, really want them. So much. A lot. I'm pretty sure I'd look amazing. Or something.)

3) How often do I converse with my cat(s)?

I tend to ask demanding questions of the cats. And their answers always leave something to be desired.

Where is my blue shirt? I don't care.

Why did you jump into my bubble bath with me? I had to get the bubbles, idiot.

 Why were you pretending to be my other slipper? Why is your slipper pretending to be me?

What do you think you are doing with MY brownie? YOU own nothing. Everything is MINE.

What are you doing to Severus?! None of your business. Keep walking.

So, yes, I talk to my cats. A lot. But, it's rude not to answer someone when they ask you a question. Or demand to know why they haven't been fed, tummy-rubbed, fed,  furminated, fed, given clean litter, or fed (yes, I know fed was repeated- it is not a typo).

....I guess this is really where I just might be treading a wee bit over the line....

And the final question,

4) Are the following memes something I "bahaha" laugh at, or something I nervously "heh-heh-heh" laugh at because I know one of my friends probably secretly created these memes with ME in mind?

Well, in answer to that question, my laughter went something like this:


Monday, August 11, 2014

Confession #6: Cat Memes Are My Mood-Altering Drug of Choice

Ugh. Sigh. Whine. Pfft.

Life isn't quite peachy-keen at the moment.

There are aspects of my recent mid-life-crisis-quit-my-job-and-move-to-the-middle-of-nowhere-kentucky-and-have-an-adventure-with-four-cats-and-a-giant-dog "plan" that I am now rethinking.

Like, the quit my job part.

And the middle-of-nowhere-kentucky part.

It's the whole "everything costs money" thing. I'm currently suffering from debilitating, panic attack-inducing, gut-wrenching no-mo-money-itis.

There are jobs within 20-30 minutes of the farm, in the surrounding small towns. I wouldn't even mind commuting an hour or so to the city. I've submitted my resume of sweet skills to several places.

But *sob* *sniff* *snarl* nobody wants me!!! Why? WHY?!?! I'm freakin' awesome. Don't they know that? I should add it to my resume. Then they'll know.

I'll keep trying though, because, overall, I'm enjoying my adventure. And I love, love, love, love living on the farm and waking up to all the loveliness.

Never give up. Never surrender. Chin up. I think I can, I think I can. If at first you don't succeed, etc, etc.

But it can get discouraging. It makes me want to have long, meaningful conversations with my best friends, Chocolate Chip Cookie and Haagen-Dazs.

While I'm sure the cats would love for me to become a squishy, sedentary blob, I refuse. I'm careful to only eat only one or two of my feelings at a time. So, I've had to find another outlet/distraction. Something to lift my spirits. Put a smile on my face. Make me laugh. I would so much rather laugh than cry.

When life gets me down, or idiots make me angry, or I want to throw up into my empty, empty purse,  I now have one sure-fire way to get some  endorphins going. A movie taught me that "endorphins make you happy and happy people don't shoot other people." Thanks, movie.

So now when something unpleasant comes up, my typical response will be, "Ugh. I need to go look at some cats."

And even if they don't magically fix things, at least I have some endorphins to show for it. And those endorphins have saved lives. For reals.

So, here are some endorphin-releasing cat memes for your viewing pleasure, so your day can be at least slightly better.