I think I may have screwed up one of my cats for good.
Wait, wait, wait. Let me back up for a moment. I would like to warn you, fair reader, that if you continue to read these silly blog posts, you will likely read a decent amount about my cats.
No, I am not a crazy cat lady. I have two of these obnoxious creatures and that is where I have drawn the line. We all know that acquisition of a third feline is when you start wandering the streets with an empty baby carriage and mumbling to yourself. I am also not a “cat person.” I am an “animal person.” In my lifetime I have also befriended dogs, birds, mice, rats, frogs, lizards, rabbits, fish, and a very unfortunate hamster by the name of “Princess.” Cats just happen to fit my lifestyle. And by lifestyle I mean that I can leave town for a few days if I provide them with an extra bowl of food and they are none the wiser.
The reason that I own cats and not a plethora of other more dependent animals, like I wish I could, eerily mirrors the reason that I am 99% sure that children are not in my future. Don’t be sad. I’m not sad. I really think it is just best for everyone. I rarely make responsible decisions in my own life, so how could I be trusted to properly guide that of someone else? Let‘s put it this way: Sometimes, when my cats are being loud and batting at my face in the morning to communicate that their food bowls are empty, I pull the blanket over my head and pretend they don’t exist. I mean, I know they aren’t going to starve to death. Plus, I was up late last night and do not feel like standing up yet.
Back to the matter at hand. Now and then I forget that I am my cats’ whole world. Gideon (aka Babyman, Supermodel Kitty, Tiger, Mittens) just turned 16 in February. Raven (aka Fatty Boombatty, Midnight, Asshole) is somewhere around 12ish. Come on, we all know that the second kid’s baby book is never as good as the first‘s. They are both indoor cats and have been ever since I took away their freedom and domesticated them. They have nothing but the environment I have created for them. That can get to be a lot for a girl.
This past week I bought them new food bowls and an automatic water dispenser. As cats get older their bodies start to do mean things to them, as do ours. Their organs don’t function as efficiently. They are thirsty all the time and peeing all the time. My vet calls this “old man’s syndrome.” I call it “I have to remember to fill the water bowl and clean the litter box twice as often.” Hence, the water dispenser was necessary. The food bowls? Well, they were purple.
After setting up the new café for my furry roommates, I go to work. When I return, it doesn’t seem as though they have eaten as much as usual. But the new bowls are smaller, so I figure it is just an illusion. I go to bed. I wake up and go off to work a double. When I come home this time, same deal. But it’s been so hot and humid and I refuse to turn on the air conditioning, so perhaps this is a protest.
As I go about my usual business of post-work decompression, Gideon is being annoying as fuck. He is always pretty needy, even more so now that the “old man’s syndrome” has taken hold, but this is excessive. I go to change the laundry and he is right on my heels. I run to grab something out of my truck and he waits at the door for me as if I will never return. He clambers onto my laptop. I walk to the kitchen for a snack and he practically climbs into the refrigerator. Hold on a second. I think he’s hungry!
Not for one second did it occur to me how monumental of a change I had made by altering the eating and drinking habits that had been developed for over a decade. Those creepy little bowls with the faceless whisker and paw print designs had been a ritual for these cats in this tiny world of theirs, and I just walked in one day and changed shit. No warning. No memo. No democracy.
No lie, I cackled a little at the thought of my power. The psychological implications seemed limitless. And then I immediately felt like a jerk and pulled a rotisserie chicken out of the fridge. I bribed my little beggar to eat out of the new bowls, and it worked. Then I splashed my hand around in the water bowl of the dispenser so he could see that it was his friend and not some alien being that had taken the place of his life source. I got another laugh when he jumped because the jug of water bubbled while he was gulping away. I’m only human. But I think that my training an old cat new tricks shows that I can also use my powers for good. Occasionally, it may just take a day and a half.
What about Raven, you ask? Oh, don’t worry about him. That fat boy will eat out of a paper bag if I let him. He will be just fine.