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Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Critters Are Still… At My House

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Sitting Still

As many of you who read this blog regularly know, Roxie and Jean Claude have two residences:  my house and my daughter CCL’s house.  CCL was to pick them up from my house Thursday night.  Yet as I write this blog Roxie is watching the computer screen intently, perhaps trying to see what I write about her and JC.   Yep, they are still here.  Although still is not the operative word.  Yesterday morning they were  fighting like cats and dogs.  I say dogs because Jean Claude , a black Bombay, thinks he’s a dog.  It was quite a fight – lots  of  running, leaping screeching, meowing and clawing and fur flying everywhere, mostly Jean Claude’s.  Roxie is pretty feisty.   Still??   Earlier this morning I went to get one of my winter tops out of the closet.  The tops are usually stacked neatly on top of shelf in the closet but Jean Claude has a habit of pulling them out as if sorting  them for something to wear.   Sure enough, tops scattered everywhere on the closet floor and a sky blue velour top  I like is no where to be found.  There I said it.  Sorry JC now the world knows your secret.  JC  also knocked down a bag containing   CCL’s jewelry wrapped in plastic and began playing with the plastic .  He then went to get him something to eat and demanded (by patting on the  front window blinds ) I raise the blinds so he could see out the front window.   So despite the clothing and jewelry fetish,   Jean Claude is all male.  In fact he spends a great deal of time in his cave.


Master of My Fate

The last two lines of the poem “Invictus” by William Henley are:

I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
I have a copy of this poem in my house since I’m a Delta. But the last two lines are lines that everyone knows. I thought of this because Azeena has me addicted to a game called Harbor Master. The point of the game (which is played on a touchscreen device) is to guide ships in and out of the harbor safely after they have docked and unloaded their cargo. In the beginning it’s easy with few ships, but as you get further into the game, ships come at varying speeds and you need much better navigational skills. As harbor master, you’ll have a lot going on.

With cats, there’s always craziness at the house. Anyone with more than two cats will always have some story about something turned over, broken, peed on, scratched, chewed and the list goes on. But while you can’t control the cats, you can control your response. You are the master of your fate. To often we feel like we are trapped by circumstance, when we are trapped by our own inability to feel like we can act. You can’t guarantee the outcome, but you can have the choice. For example, if you don’t like your job you can quit. You might not be able to find another job, but at least you won’t be in the old one. If you are in a relationship that isn’t working out, you have the choice to leave or change your behavior. The other person may not respond the way you want them to, but you have a choice.

In fact, the only area of my life where I am NOT the captain of my fate is trying to keep Roxie out of trouble and Jean-Claude inside. Cats are animals that you can’t master. I have mastered responding to their signals for “feed me now” “play time” and “change the litterbox” so maybe they are truly the masters of my fate.

A Necessary Guest

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They say sadness often arrives before change. For some of us it can be a welcome even comforting feeling in that the grief, the denial, the hurt we buried for so long hoping for a different outcome is finally released. With sadness we are set forth in a sea of change.   Sometimes it’s  change  that’s causing  the sadness  but we  have an opportunity.  We can become courageous. Change is often for the better.  The journey to its creation is sometimes  filled with tears, misgiving, regret and then hope, clarity, insight, growth and action.

Take a Step Back to Look Forward

Do cats have memories of the past? You can teach animals new tricks through either positive reinforcement (i.e. giving them a treat when they do something right) or negative reinforcement (punishing them when they do something wrong). Study after study shows that positive reinforcement works much better and creates better memory than negative reinforcement. And this is true of humans too! If you want to really change and influence behavior reward those behaviors that you want to see and people will keep doing them. But I digress.

Very often in this new world we’ve created we don’t take the time to look back. We don’t have the time to reread old journals, look at old pictures and remember the good and bad times and how far we’ve come. I was cleaning out my email a bit and I found my stash of poetry I had from my college days. It took me back to so many memories and allowed me the perspective to see where I’ve come today.

You have to know where you come from to be able to know where you are going. It’s ok to change direction. Maybe where you came from was to the east and now you want to go west. You can change. Don’t disparage where you came from either. It allowed you to be in the position you are today. If Roxie had never been found in that bush, she wouldn’t have been in the shelter to tap me on the leg and to keep me up at night because she’s mad at me.

And It’s Good for Me Because??

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Roxie was sick for a time and had several prescriptions.  I or CCL would give her  the medication in her food or treats but the joke was on us as she always discovered the hidden pills and  ate them anyway.  Now she’s better and while  the vet wants her to stay on medication for a bit longer,  Roxie’s not having it.   Drama queen that she is she no longer willingly take the pills without force and much drama and hollering.  Here for pet lovers and pill givers everywhere are instructions on “How to Give A Pill to A Cat.”

How to Give a Pill to a Cat 

1.  Pick cat up and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if
holding a baby.  Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of
cat’s mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in
right hand.  As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth.  Allow cat to
close mouth and swallow.

2.  Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa.  Cradle cat in
left arm and repeat process.

3.  Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.

4.  Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear
paws tightly with left hand.  FORCE jaws open and PUSH pill to back of
mouth with right forefinger.  Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.

5.  Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe.
Call spouse from yard.

6.  Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and
rear paws, ignoring low growls emitted by cat.  Get spouse to hold
head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth.  Drop
pill down ruler and rub cat’s throat vigorously.

7.  Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap.
Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains.  Carefully sweep
shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set to one side for
gluing later.

8.  Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head
just visible from below armpit.  Put pill in end of drinking straw,
FORCE mouth open with pencil and blow pill down drinking straw.

9.  Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink 1 beer
to take taste away.  Apply Band-Aid to spouse’s forearm and remove
blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

10.  Retrieve cat from roof of neighbor’s shed.  Get another pill.
Open another beer.  Place cat in cupboard and close door onto cat’s
neck to leave head showing.  Force mouth open with dessertspoon.
Flick pill down throat with rubber band, close cat’s mouth and hold
shut to the count of 30.

11.  Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on
hinges.  Drink beer.  Fetch bottle of scotch.  Pour shot, drink.
Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last
tetanus shot. Apply whiskey compress to cheek to disinfect.  Toss back
another shot.

12.  Call fire department to retrieve the cat from tree across the
road.  Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to
avoid cat.  Take last pill from foil wrap.

13.  Tie the cat’s front paws to rear paws with twine and bind tightly
to leg of dining room table, find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed.
Push pill into mouth followed by piece of steak. BE ROUGH ABOUT IT.
Hold cat’s head vertically and pour 2 pints of water down throat to
wash pill down.

14.  Consume remainder of Scotch.  Get spouse to drive you to
emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm
and removes pill remnants from right eye.

15.  Arrange for Humane Society to collect mutant cat and call local
pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.

How to Give A Dog A Pill:
1.  Wrap it in bacon.