More Cat In The Hat

We have a crazy weekend – but I still need to blog every day – so I’m going to delight you with more pictures of Truffle in his beret. He’s saying “Bonjour.” Or “Fuck you.” I’m not exactly sure which…

cat-wearing-beret

…so I’m grateful for the following things…

– That cats cannot talk

-That American Girl Doll clothing fits our cat perfectly

-That our cat is super nice

-That our cat is also super forgiving and doesn’t kill us in our sleep

-That he will sit still for pictures

-That he loves treats

-That I talk about how busy we are but I still find time to dress-up my cat

-That we have a cat

-That Jed doesn’t think I’m a crazy cat lady when I put a beret on our cat

-That berets exist

 

Happy Caturday!

 

Do you dress-up your pets? Please tell me yes. Or tell Jed yes. Or just lie to me.

 

 

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45 Signs That You Have PMS

1. You curse the invention of the penis.

2. You eat all the peanut butter directly out of the jar and don’t even bother wiping your mouth clean.

3. Hallmark commercials not only make your cry, but make you consider just taking a nap for the next four years under expensive down comforters.

4. NFL commercials make you cry. And you hate all sports. And men.

5. You cry because you’ve never splurged on nice bedding and you deserve nice bedding RIGHT NOW.

signs-of-pms

6. You only have love for your cat. Only your cat loves you. You take selfies with your cat.

7. You think about how your whole family just needs to move away for a few days. BECAUSE PEOPLE!

8. You dream about living in a yurt in the Yukon without any neighbors ever.

9. You could totally live off the land and nobody would ever talk to you again ever. Ever.

10. You are annoyed by how your husband breathes.

11. Don’t get you started on how he chews.

12. NOBODY CAN EAT AROUND ME THIS WEEK! OR BREATHE! OR MOVE!

13. You apologize to your daughters because they also each have a uterus.

14. They ask you what a uterus is and you have to take a 10 hour nap because you just cannot talk about it.

15. Where is my nice bedding?

16. You eat your weight in dark chocolate and have to hide the wrappers in the bottom of the trash can.

17. You eat your husband’s weight in dark chocolate and say “Fuck it” and leave the wrappers all over your bedroom. Then you give the “DON’T CROSS ME -PMS” look to anyone who dares judge you about the chocolate eating. They bring you more chocolate.

18. You think maybe you need to get another cat because two cats, or 10 cats, is all that you need.

19. It takes you two hours to get dressed because nothing fits and you are so bloated.

20. The extra water weight in your cheeks makes you wear infinity scarves that now cover the lower part of your face. You envy mummies.

21. You praise Jesus that you live in a a cold climate and bloat camouflage is possible. But you start crying about summer. And PMS. And lack of infinity scarves even though it won’t happen for six months.

22. You start talking to the washing machine because nobody else gets you. BUT MY GOD, WHY ALL THE LAUNDRY NOW!

23. You are convinced that you will never have a good hair day again.

24. You will wear a hat until you are 62.

25. You cry because your cat doesn’t have the right kind of thumbs and can’t hold a coffee cup when he sits next to you. AND YOU JUST NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE WHO GETS YOU. Because the washing machine pissed you off yesterday.

26. You’re convinced that everyone on Facebook hates you because nobody talks to you and they ignore your posts.

27. WHAT ABOUT ME?????

28. You think about deleting all social media accounts because what’s the point. No one cares about MY WORDS!

29. You realize you are 45 – not 15 – and then get sadder because when will the PMS EVER END.

30. You meet the eyes of a strange lady in the produce section of the grocery store and realize she has the same PMS look, so you nod and pretty soon you are hugging a stranger at Target. Because PMS.

31. You feel better being NOT ALONE.

32. But then a man walks by and you both whisper ‘men‘ and you cry again. Because how dare he BREATHE!

33. You think about getting more cats.

34. But buy more chocolate instead.

35. And then a dozen donuts because your jeans are tight this week.

36. Donuts and tampons. Donuts and tampons. That’s all I need.

37. And more cats.

38. You cry to every song on the radio. Especially the ones by David Gray.

39. Fucking Babylon indeed.

40. Don’t even get me started on The Indigo Girls. You sing Closer To Fine with the windows down and as you pass by, women nod and whisper amongst themselves “PMS.” They throw chocolate at your minivan.

41. Oh my hell I drive a minivan – this is what it’s come to, isn’t it?

42. Make lists of what to buy daughters when they start their periods for the first time – 1. Chocolate 2. Cats 3. Nice bedding 4. Peanut butter 5. Private yurt 6. Donuts 7. Tampons.

43. Make lists of what to take away from daughters when they start their periods for the first time – 1. Males 2. People 3. TVs 4. Computers 5. Music 6. Society 7. Minivans 8. Mirrors 9. Jeans.

44. Curl up on couch – cat on lap, chocolate in mouth, computer off, and listen to David Gray. But curse his penis. Because men.

45. Yell at husband when he suggests you might just have PMS this week. HOW DARE HE?

****

What am I missing here? Share your signs and laugh with me. And send cats holding chocolate. OMG they can’t hold chocolate, can they???

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How To Speak Dog. I mean CAT #NGKInsider

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Our cat Truffle turned three last week so I tried to take birthday photos. To which he said “Are you kidding me?” Because it doesn’t matter how much you might think you can coerce a cat to still still and nicely for you – YOU CANNOT! Unless you drug them, which I totally would never do.

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I also don’t believe we will ever know what a cat is saying – because cats are more smart, savvy and cunning than us – which makes them an eternal mystery. And also adorable.

how-to-speak-cat

And who wants a predictable pet?

cats-talking

Those crazy dog lovers, that’s who! Seriously, such an ‘easy to read’ animal. And it’s also why you need to get How To Speak Dog  – another awesome book from National Geographic Kids.

How to Speak Dog is a fun, informative, and photographically driven book that helps kids understand what their dog is trying to tell them through body language and behavior. Super-engaging dog photography, along with National Geographic Kids’ signature bold and bouncy design, helps illustrate the key canine concepts. Quick-hit tip boxes, fun facts about mankind’s best friends, and informative sidebars from the experts enliven the text. Readers young and old will respond to the irresistible call of the canine in this delightful book that warms hearts and wag tails everywhere—a must-have in every home where pups are looking for love and understanding.

howtospeakdog

We love the animal and pet books from National Geographic for our kids. These non-fiction wonders are entertaining while they are education and so fun to read and look at the pictures whether you’re 4 or 44.

 

And there’s probably not a How To Speak Cat book – because cats are too awesome to be interviewed. Or even look at you.

 

But if you love cats, dogs or just a good joke – check out National Geographic’s new Just Joking App – it’s a FREE app for kids and we’ve been having a ball with it this week. Here are some Halloween favorites to try on your kids tomorrow!

just-joking-app

Q: What happens when a ghost gets lost in fog? A: He is mist.
Q: Why did Dracula become a vegetarian? A: Because his doctor told him “stake” was bad for his heart.
Q: What is a monster’s favorite place to swim? A: Lake Erie.
Q: How do you fix a broken jack-o’-lantern? A: With a pumpkin patch.
Q: What did one ghost say to the other ghost? A: “Get a life!”
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Zombies. Zombies who? Zombies make honey and zombies dont’
Q: Why don’t mummies go on vacation? A: They’re afraid they might unwind.

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Disclosure: I’m a National Geographic Kids Insider – and I love taking you inside the Yellow Boarder for fun activities for your families. I am not paid for my time with them – I just love them. And cats.

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Back To School

The big kids went back to school this week.

First Day Of School

And I miss them.

 

Or Astrid misses them. And Truffle – dang Truffle cat misses them a lot because now Astrid has no one to play with, so Truffle has to wear stuffed animals on his back and try to put together puzzles. And he’s really bad at puzzles because he doesn’t have thumbs. So he was fired yesterday as Astrid’s playmate and she asked me to step-in.

Save me!

Save me!

I also suck at puzzles. Also, I’m horrible at playing Little People. And her dress-up costumes don’t fit me. She also doesn’t think I’m very good at reading. You see she and Eloise were trying to get through all of Roald Dahl’s books this Summer and they didn’t quite finish The BFG yet – so she asked me to read a chapter. And I guess I really suck at reading…so Astrid told me to stop because Eloise does voices better and I’m super boring.

 

So I’m apparently not good for anything but fixing snacks and wiping her butt.

 

Other than that – Astrid wishes that her sisters never had to go to school.

 

I’m feeling that way too. I miss them. We had an amazing Summer. From roadtrips, to camps, to days at the pool, and cool nights of riding our bikes to ice cream – this Summer might go down as one of the best.

 

Which just means that I am going to plan for The Super Sucky Summer of 2014 – because I don’t want to miss my kids next Fall when school starts again.

 

Because it hurts.

*****

But the girls are back in the school-grove and seem crazy happy just living their fancy school lives without us. They missed their friends I think. And maybe they were sick of me nagging them to clean their rooms.

back-to-school-fashion

(Eloise is wearing jeggings and booties from Justice, a top from Nordstrom and we hand-painted her panda nails)

Eloise loves fifth grade and has an awesome teacher. In Eloise’s words – and in one really really long run-on sentence “Seriously, my teacher is amazing – she is super strict – which is so awesome because you know I love class control and someone who is organized and structured and keeps the crazy boys inline – and she’s is totally that kind of teacher…AND the best part is that we get homework every night – even weekends and we have to write a three page essay the first night of school – this is like crazy amazing and I really love my teacher and it’s going to be the best year ever and I’m going to my room now to do my homework so don’t bother me and I hope we get even more homework tomorrow and I’m going to work on some extra math tonight because I am going to try to get placed in 7th grade math this year because I want more work and to learn more and always be challenged.”

 

Mon Dieu.

tween-fashion

(Esther is wearing a dress and jacket from Justice. Sandals are Lelli Kelly)

Eloise loves third grade and her teacher is also super amazing. Esther didn’t have much to say except that she had two recesses and they had grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch. Also, her old boyfriend is in her class and she giggled a lot about that because she still likes him, but he likes Ruby better now, but Ruby is Esther’s friend – so it’s okay that he likes her. And she played with lots of friends at the playground and they chased and stuff and she needs to wear bike-shorts under her skirt tomorrow because she wants to climb on top of the monkey bars. Also, they had popcorn for snack and Maggie got cool new shoes and she’s looking forward to music class.  Also, a boy said bad words on the bus, so she moved seats. Obviously.

 

I think maybe Esther also had math, reading and other such school subjects – but those were not mentioned.

 

So happy school year everyone!

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Feeling Selfish

We went to the Minnesota State Fair this week. While there I tried to convince Jed that it would be fun to stay for the evening to attend the Internet Cat Video Festival. He gave me his ‘cat look’ – which drives me crazy. Jed gets a certain look on his face when I talk about cats and he follows the look up with a “I don’t like cats” statement. And then he says “You know if I hadn’t come into your life you’d be that crazy cat lady with 32 cats and four story cat climber furnture things in your living room.”

 

And I say “I know, sometimes I still dream about that life.”

 

So we didn’t go watch cat videos, which was super sad  – and I was mad at Jed for one day. And it’s totally not true about him not liking cats. He loves cats, he just wants to pretend to be a dog only guy because it’s seems more manly. I personally want to seem more intelligent…which is why I like cats.

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So since I was mad at Jed and at this point in my life it would be weird to get rid of him and my three kids just to get those 32 cats – I decided to go furniture shopping.  And I found a Jonathan Adler couch for 85% off in just the right color and size and texted a picture to Jed and said “Come buy this and haul it home tonight and I’ll forget the cat lady comment.”

 

And as any smart husband does – he bought the couch AND a matching chair…because ‘dog men’ need chairs.

 

I would show you our new furniture that Jed hauled home last night, but I can’t as they are covered in quilts, blankets and sheets that are being held down by duct tape and stacks of books so the cat doesn’t scratch them all to hell.

 

Now I’m remembering why we’ve never had nice grown-up furniture.

 

It’s because of the cat. That we all love dearly. Even Jed does.

 

So I’m doing something very un-cat-lady-like today, and I’m calling the vet to talk about declawing our Truffle. Which breaks my heart, but I really want grown-up furniture that we can see and enjoy…and a husband who still loves me.

 

Sorry cat. Sorry cat lovers – don’t hate on me.  Just come admire our new furniture..when the sheets come off.

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Healed

There’s more advice than I care to read about how to introduce a new cat to an old cat. Cats are territorial so it’s evidently important to introduce cats slowly so they have more time to get used to the new cat’s scent. Whatever.

If I didn’t have kids, a job, the Internet, food, shelter, and all of the other things going on, then yes maybe I’d have time to make a special room for the new cat and move a litter box in there and then actually spend the extra time with her in this special room to play with her and all that jazz.

 

But I live in 2013 and in this day and age I believe in survival of the fittest.

So I just let Mia out of her bag and said “good luck – there’s a big, fat, fuzzy orange cat who lives here, but he’s cool and all!”

 

And the big, fat, fuzzy orange cat let this new young thing know who the boss is in this house as he hissed, growl, whacked, and basically kept her hiding under a chair for three days.

But after three days, he let her out and now they nap together, play together, eat together, and just generally act like they’ve been together forever.

 

And that big, fat, fuzzy orange cat is happy. He’s been so sad since his brother died. And for the first time since January – Truffle cat is truly happy, joyful, playful and his old self.

 

The night we brought Mia home I told him that he would be happy again..he’d just have to trust me on that. He was not convinced.

But now he’s so glad that she’s here.

****

I’m a sink or swim kind of mom and I don’t apologize for it. I don’t hover and react to tears. I love my kids to pieces and they know that I am here for them…but they need to learn to do things on their own. I don’t react to boo-boos and I cannot negotiate and fight all of their battles. I hope that I’m giving them the guidance they need to make good decisions and work through conflict. So I want them presented with challenges.

 

My daughters completely freaked out when Truffle hissed and growled at Mia – they yelled at him and tried to protect her. I told them to just let the cats be and they’d work it out..but they would just have to trust me.

I admit that sometimes I don’t know what I’m doing – but I knew that these two would work it out.

 

And sometimes I yell at my kids. And sometimes I try to protect them. When this happens I have to remember that the happiest place for all of us is when I just let them work it out for themselves.

See cats, really are just like women. Smart, beautiful, powerful, independent, and they have the ability to overlook some simple differences to become lifelong friends.

 

Wordful Wednesday.

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Millions Of Cats

I knew the minute I saw her. Her eyes were big, friendly and inviting and she immediately came to the bars and flipped over so Astrid could pet her fluffy tummy. We played with her and petted her for several minutes. Her purr was almost deafening as she continued to gather us completely into her kitty goodness and needs.

 

But we didn’t come to this place to see the kitties – we were there for litter and food for our existing cat.

“I think she really likes you.” Came a kind voice from behind us. “Are you thinking about adoption?”

 

My tears started before I could even turn to answer the kind voice from behind. And by the time I turned and tried to say “No, no, we’re not ready.” I had my face in my hands and was sobbing.

 

The Petco cashier hugged me. She wrapped her arms around me as I told her about Tyko and that we still needed to wait a bit. She held me as a line formed at her register, and she let them wait. No one said a word of impatience as they stood in line. I saw them standing there with bags of cat food, cat toys, litter, and the one lady with a sweet puppy on a leash.

 

I pulled away from her and kind of laugh-cried about being the ‘crazy cat lady at Petco who is still mourning for her kitty.’ But nobody laughed. They just smiled and nodded and said they were sorry.

 

Who in the hell has a ‘moment’ in Petco?

 

Crazy-cat people do, that’s who.

*****

I became a crazy-cat lady when I was eight years old. We had just moved far away from family to a new state, new house, new school, and a new way of talking, and I was lonely.  If you know me well, you know how shy I am. I like quiet places and simple things. Meaningful conversations between just a few friends and a quiet walk over a night at a party. I was the same at eight.

 

There was an old barn down the road from our new house, and I used to go up to the barn and just sit and pull dandelions, eat honeysuckles, and make bouquets out of wild grasses, flowers and weeds. Much of my time was just sitting in the entrance to the barn reading books, writing stories and talking to myself.

 

Until I saw a momma cat with four little kittens skitter by.

 

The next day I asked the farmer if the cats were his, and he said that they were just wild barn cats and told me they were not tame or friendly and he didn’t feed them because he wanted them to eat the mice and he wasn’t looking for pets, so to just let them be.

 

So of course I spent that entire Summer sitting in the barn ‘taming’ the cats. I did not come from a family of cat lovers or owners and had never even pet a cat before. But the moment I saw these kitties, well I knew I would always have a cat in my life.

 

I’d made zero progress even after 10 days of sitting in the barn from dawn until dusk trying to get the cats to see me just as a permanent fixture and something they could come to trust and approach. The cats hid from me, ran from me, hissed at me, and continued to tell me how unwelcome a non-cat visitor was in their space.

 

On the 11th day, I ran up to the barn and found a dish of cat food near the entrance.

 

The old farmer had been watching me come to his barn day after day and I guess this gruff old guy decided that maybe having pets wasn’t such a bad idea. Or maybe he just saw this new girl who needed a few friends in her life – even if they would be the fuzzy and whiskered variety with claws.

 

On the 12th day, the farmer sat out there with me. His wife came out too and brought milk and cookies and together we all waited patiently for the cats.

 

It took nearly a month, but eventually the mama kitty let me pet her, and within days her kittens were following me around the farm and letting me hold them in my arms.

 

Over the next four years there were many litters of kittens born in that barn. Most we would keep, but some we would give to good homes. Sometimes the old farmer would even go get stray kittens he heard needed some care and love and bring them to me in the barn.

 

I made many good friends during the four years we lived there, but those kittens and the old farmer will always be my best friends from those days.

*****

We went back to Petco later that night and filled out the paperwork for Mia. I sobbed the whole time as I told my story of Tyko to the new employee. She gave me a hug and told me what a great home we were giving this sweet kitty.

 

I laughed thinking about how people who aren’t ‘animal people’ would think we were insane.

 

Because we kind of are.

 

We picked up Mia last night. Her foster mom – who found Mia and her sisters when they were just a few weeks old, took them in, gave them care and nursed them into strong, adorable girls- met us there to say good-bye to her. She was sobbing as she said good-bye to Mia and asked if I’d send a picture now and then.

 

I held her tight and told her that Mia would have a very good and happy life.

 

And then we both looked at each other through the tears and laughed so hard.

Two very, very, very crazy cat ladies.

 

And proud of it.

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Half Full

I just finished off a jar of peanut butter. Granted there really wasn’t more than two tablespoons left in the jar, so eating it straight with a spoon was completely justified, but still it felt a little indulgent. But maybe the indulgent part didn’t come until after I could scrape no more with the spoon so I had to resort to licking off the last bits from what I could scrap off the top areas with my fingers as I praised god for wide-mouth plastic jars of Jif.

 

But I’m adding a caveat to this ‘eat straight out of the jar’ habit – you must be taking the last bites and then throwing the container away – as taking a swig of milk or a bite of something directly out of the container and then putting it back for further consumption IS NEVER OKAY. EVER.

 

And then I wonder how many other people out there let their cats share their spoons when they eat a bowl of ice cream? Or don’t mind when their cat drinks directly out of their water glass. Gross, yes? Love, yes? Probably not recommended, yes? Probably not talked about outside of your home, yes? Undying love for your pet ever questioned, no.

 

Especially when your cat gets his face stuck in the glass and it takes him a few moments to shake it off – which leaves crazy/scared cat and also big water mess in your living room – but laughter ensued from all spectating parties and cat was freed. So we poured more water for the cat.

He may have also had a bite of my peanut butter – because have you ever watched a cat eat peanut butter? Hilarious.

 

All of this is to say that some rules are meant to be broken. Like eating straight out of the carton. Life is too short, things can be too good, and something might be missed if you put a rule in front of progress.

 

Like we have a very strict bedtime of 8:30pm for the older girls, but this week we’ve been going to bed a bit late because I don’t want to miss their snuggles on the couch, their opinions during American Idol, their disgust over the latest episode of Dance Moms, and I need someone to fight with me over that last piece of popcorn in the shared bowl.

 

And I think about the fact that if they did go to bed at 8:30 on Tuesday night, well they would’ve missed Truffle cat with his head stuck in the glass. Nobody would’ve laughed that hard about it if I just told them that story the next morning.

 

But for now I’m eating peanut butter from a spoon all by myself because some rules that are meant to be broken are for moms only and this little secret will be kept just between us.

 

What rules will you break today?

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Sad

It’s a difficult thing mourning for a cat. It’s something you truly don’t want to talk about because no one wants to compare an animal life with a human life, and truly nobody wants to fully admit that they are possibly some crazy cat lady.

 

So I believe that most cat mourning is done with quiet tears on the couch late at night, with the lights down and a warm blanket on your lap. while you watch sappy romantic comedies and sip moderately priced pinot noir. Or so I’ve heard.

 

But I’ve never done my quiet and tearful cat mourning before while another kitty presses his warm furry body up around my neck and head and finally comes to rest upon my chest while occasionally licking my cheek, while he makes this painful whining noise because he misses his brother. His litter-mate. His best friend. His lifelong companion.

Truffle now follows me everywhere, wants to ride upon my shoulder nearly all day, and at times searches the deep corners of the house because his silly brother must be hiding somewhere and will pounce on him at any moment. Truffle investigates any strange noise in the house, almost looking hopeful that it must be Tyko. A few evenings ago as we were perhaps in our evening mourning position, the radiator made a noise and when we both looked towards the noise, we noticed a pillow causing a shadow on the window that looked exactly like two black cat ears. Truffle immediately got up on his hind legs and started shaking and making the saddest meowing noise I’ve ever heard. Then he ran to the shadow – finding nothing and he walked back across the room to me with his head down and whimpered on my chest for the next hour.

 

And my heart broke all over again.

 

So when people say ‘it’s just a cat’ – I need you to say that to Truffle, because now I know how deeply an animal can feel for someone – and while I’m sad for all of us, I’m the saddest for Truffle because I still don’t think he knows that Tyko is not coming back.

 

Eloise stopped crying herself to sleep a few nights ago. For a week Esther would tell me she was having trouble sleeping because of Eloise’s sobbing. Tyko was Esther’s cat but truthfully he preferred Eloise over any of us and it was her lap he found every morning and evening, and her room he liked to hang-out in. Eloise is taking this harder than the rest of us humans, and if you know our Eloise, you know how much this hurts her.

 

Esther hasn’t said much of anything and I think would prefer not to talk about it. Astrid started this make-believe game last week where she would take all of her stuffed animals to the vet and then they would all die. After two days of hundreds of dead stuffed animals I finally I had to sit down with her and squelch her imagination by telling her almost all animals go to the vet and get better, and only a few actually have to die. So I asked Astrid to please start playing an “all animals get better” game instead. So she stopped playing any animal games at all because once a parent steps in, the fun of playing is gone and I’m sure there will now be some therapy bill down the line because I just could not let her go on and on with the imaginary dead animal game.

 

I’m having a hard time doing any work or getting on the computer after the kids are in bed. Instead I find myself on the couch at 8:30 in the dark while I give Truffle my full attention. So I apologize if that email is a bit late. And if I do find myself on the computer, instead of writing I’m visiting cat rescue sites looking for Tyko. But I know he won’t be there, so instead I look for a substitute because maybe a kitten is just what we need right now.

 

Even though I know it’s too soon and a decision based solely upon emotion and the look in Truffle’s eyes.

But I dare say the positive that has come out of Tyko’s death is that you will currently not find a more spoiled cat anywhere on the planet. Truffle has new toys, new food, has access to new places in the house, has a lap to curl-up on and a shoulder to ride one at all times, sisters who don’t want to do anything but play with him, and we’ve decided to just leave the bathroom sink faucet running all day and night because truly nothing is more fun than a bathroom sink for a cat.

 

That damn spoiled Truffle. Oh how we love him.

 

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When You Don’t Do Everything That You Can

It’s hard for me to type right now. My orange cat is on my lap with his head pressing down on my wrists as he licks and nips my hands because he wants me to pet him. He’s kind of fat and doesn’t really even fit completely on my lap – and my computer is taking up most the space anyway – so he keeps rearranging his chubby body so he stays on. At times he sits up and licks my chin.

 

He’s purring. He missed me. I was just gone for four days and no matter that the cats are really the girl’s cats. They are my cats. I’m the one who stays up late and they snuggle up close to me when I work or watch TV. I’m the one they sleep on. The orange on curled up on my chest and the black on on my hip. Every night for two years. I’m the one who feeds them every morning at 4:30am and I’m the one they snuggle with all day when the kids are at school.

 

So they are my cats. Even though we officially say the orange one(Truffle) is Eloise’s and the black one(Tyko) belongs to Esther.

But it doesn’t really matter I guess who they officially belong to because the important thing to note is that they are family. And I love them.

 

But today from 700 miles away I had to tell them to put Tyko down.
I put a price on his life. Nothing I’ve never had to do before. Nothing I’ve never had to explain to my children before.

 

And don’t think that that isn’t the first thing they asked me when I got off the plane – because they know. And it broke their heart. And mine. And I’m sitting here second guessing my decision because I’m not that kind of person.

 

I love animals. I love all animals(okay, maybe not snakes) and Tyko is a part of our family, and I’ve been sobbing for five hours since that phone call.  But I could not spend thousands and thousands of dollars. I couldn’t.

 

And maybe it was easy for me making that decision. Not seeing my children’s faces as I broke the news. Not watching them say goodbye to their sweet kitty.

 

Their kitty.

 

It was so easy for me maybe.

 

But I sit here with my tears falling onto Truffle’s fur. Knowing he’s the one who has lost his brother, his best friend, his playmate, his companion, his napping partner.

 

And I can’t change what I decided. And I grieve for him.

 

But mainly for Tyko because I chose not to save him.

 

Eloise put it better than any of us could when she said “I never want to get another pet because this just hurts too much.”

 

That’s how much it hurts to open your heart to unconditional love.

 

We’ll miss you Tyko cat. Please know you were loved.

 

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A Lesson In Parenting and Sarcasm

It turns out that the last thing you want to say to your seven year old as they board the bus is “Don’t be shocked if you come home and your cat isn’t here anymore! Okay, have a great day sweetie!”

 

Because that seven year old will then tell her bus-mates, her friends, her teachers, her lunch lady, her janitor, her people she hasn’t met before, that HER MOTHER threatened to kill her cat if it cost to much to fix him.

 

Go ahead. Live with that guilt.

Well honestly I had no idea there was any guilt to live with until Esther got off the bus crying and asking if Tyko was still alive as she ran into the house calling his name as that was all she thought about all day at school.

 

“Well of course he’s still alive – why wouldn’t he be alive?” I inquired.

 

“Because you told me you may just kill him if it costs to much to fix his stomach. I told everyone!” She replied.

 

Oh. “Well I was just kind of  being sarcastic. I mean I want Tyko to get better but we may have to make a decision that we cannot help him anymore. But I would never let him go without having you say goodbye to him first.”

 

“So, he’s not dead?”

 

“No, not dead. My wallet is currently hundreds and hundreds of dollars lighter…but your cat is alive. For now.”

 

Best.money.spent.ever.yesterday.

 

“But Esther, we still don’t know everything that’s wrong and I’ve gotta be honest with you – I don’t know how much more I can spend. I know that seems weird and cruel and unfair…but honey I need to use our money to take care of you and your sisters and sometimes, as hard as it might be to understand, sometimes a cat is just a cat.”

 

And I don’t think that’s a cruel thing to say. It’s a reality. And I love cats. I love our cats. But even the vet understands the reality when they called me eight times yesterday to explain things and give estimates. They would not be itemizing a bill about my kids. They were itemizing because we were talking about a cat. They get it.

 

Just maybe next time I will make sure Esther understands that I would not just ‘kill’ her cat without her full knowledge and a proper goodbye. Maybe next time she’ll bear witness to her mother sobbing alone in the vet’s waiting room because it hurts everyone’s heart to make a decision like this. Even if it’s just a cat.

 

So for now, Tyko cat lives. And we wait to see what the next few weeks bring us.

 

And maybe I’ll get lucky and he’ll die when I’m out of town this weekend and it will save me from making any further parenting mistakes.

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Internet Cat Video Film Festival – Fur Real Folks

So I just cannot even tell you how excited I am that The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis has announced the first ever Internet Cat Video Film Festival. Yeah, fur real folks.

 

I cannot make this stuff up…

While normally viewed alone on a computer screen, our unofficial cat-lady-in-residence invites you to come gather together on the field and LOL in the presence of others as your favorite silly cat videos are projected larger-than-life one after the other.  Experience the joy of a surprised kitten or keyboard cat together. Participate in this experiment that tests the social boundaries of the online community with a live, off-line event as we attempt to gather in physical space and real time to enjoy one of the internet’s most popular phenomena.

 

So basically cat watching on the internet should no longer be a solo activity. WTF? Seriously, there is FINALLY going to be an Internet Cat Video Film Festival.

 

There are just so many thing I love about this event.

1. CATS! I love cats. I have cats. Cat people are cool, right? Right?

2. It’s in my hometown so I could attend – IF I ACTUALLY WATCHED CATS ON THE INTERNET.

3. The event will take place from 9pm-10pm so if it sucks, it’s really only an hour out of my life which truly is no big deal if I’m an AVID INTERNET CAT VIDEO watcher

4. There will possibly(okay probably) be weird cat ladies there with like 34 cats in their house and I’m assuming the only other attendees will be 42 year old men still living in their mom’s basement BECAUSE THEY SPEND THEIR TIME WATCHING INTERNET CAT VIDEOS!

5. Blog fodder. Oh my hell blog fodder.  Like how can I please emcee this event.

 

Not one to be left out of the fun I decided that my cats need to be famous and I must submit a winning entry so my cats can participate in the Internet Cat Film Festival so I followed my cats around for TWO WHOLE DAYS to document their greatness.  I think I captured it well.

 

Turns out that cats sleep, eat and lick their butts. Seriously folks RIVETING!  So join me on August 30th and we can enjoy a whole hour of WATCHING CATS ON THE INTERNET WITH OTHER PEOPLE WHO WATCH CATS ON THE INTERNET.

 

You’re almost tempted aren’t you?

******

Disclosure: The people at the Walker and the lovely coordinators of the Internet Cat Video Film Festival have no idea who I am. Thankfully. Also, please don’t tell my cats that I posted their video on the internet. Also, I only have two cats…not 34.

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A Lost Cat and a Plaid Shirt Walk Into a Bar..

So I spent a good part of the predawn hours wandering my neighborhood looking for a cat named Ruby that I’ve never met. As I was finishing my run this morning I saw a cat carrier with a food and water dish alongside the apartment building next to us, and a sweet little blanket with a note that said “Please do not remove these items – our sweet Ruby cat has been missing since 5/9 and she is very timid and we hope she comes back and finds some comfort in her things.”

 

Ruby is white and apricot so if you see her – please let me know.  I looked everywhere – which I’m sure they have also over the last four days, but I’ve got my girls on the case too and we are hopeful.

 

This reminded me of the time my beloved Wilshire(you know the cat you get right out of college way before kids and he’s like totally your first baby even when your kids do arrive and he’s like 11 and pissed off at you). Anyway, he was missing for three.long.days and we called every vet and animal shelter in the city and also blanketed the neighborhood with signs.  Turns out he was accidentally shut inside our upstairs linen closet the whole time. Yeah. So this taught us three things – 1. Change your towels more often and 2. Never ever adopt a cat again who lacks the ability to meow and 3. Check your own home completely before getting the cops involved.

 

This leads me into telling you what I did all day for my 9 year old daughter – whom I love dearly.  Since I could not find Ruby I went in search of a plaid shirt for Eloise.   Eloise is in a play next week and needs a plaid shirt to play a cowgirl. I showed Eloise the small selection of plaid shirts that we own. All were rejected. Which honestly drove me to a very angry place because 1. It’s just a shirt and 2. It’s just for a short play and 3. The thought of spending money on a shirt for a costume seems ridiculous and 4. It’s just a shirt.

 

But then I remembered that it wasn’t just a shirt. Just like when I was 13 and I went camping with friends and they all had blue insulated sleeping bags and backpacks while I showed up with a Budweiser cotton sleeping bag, that I assume my parents received for free for some beer can redemption program, and a shiny blue duffel bag with a braided handle – that YES those items do the job – but they are not right. They are just not right.  So after I yelled about what a pain in the ass this whole shirt thing was I proceeded to visit four thrift stores until I found the exact shirt – not too big, not too small, not too brown but not too blue, a smallish plaid containing no pink or purple, not flannel, must not have big buttons, no ruffles, no big collars, not an obvious boys shirt, but not girl-girly, must match a navy bandanna, and of course must coordinate with her new Justice tank top. Of course.

 

$2.99 later I think I found the shirt and now I’m sitting here on pins and needles for Eloise to get home to make sure this shirt makes the cut all because I had to sleep in a Budweiser sleeping bag on a camping trip when I was 13.
So these are evidently the type of important parenting decisions we have to make these days.

 

Anyway, crisis averted and now I’m off to search for the cat again because I cannot go to bed tonight knowing there’s a scared cat somewhere in my neighborhood just like the Earth would not spin without the perfect plaid shirt. The things we mothers do because of the comfort of things.

 

Just write.

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A Cat Person vs. A Non-Cat Person…

A cat is on the table.

A cat person – yells at cat, may even shoo cat to the ground, but probably doesn’t bother to wash the table before eating

A non-cat person – sells table

 

A cat is licking it’s butt

A cat person – wonders why humans aren’t flexible enough to do that and usually giggles with family at the cat, makes butt jokes

A non-cat person – wonders if the cat also just licked the plates they ate off of after licking its butt and then decides to never eat again

 

A cat catches a mouse

A cat person – says “good kitty” and gives kitty extra love that day

A non-cat person – shrieks in disgust, sells house

A cat jumps in the open refrigerator

A cat person – closes door on cat and laughs, then opens door to let cat out, tells kids about the cat in the fridge, super funny

A non-cat person – throws all food away, sells fridge, considers never eating again

 

A cat shits in the litter box

A cat person – grateful shit wasn’t on floor, scoops cats shit without a second thought about a cat toilet in the house, everybody poops

A non-cat person – must.sell.house.cat.shit.inside.house!

 

A cat wants a bite of your ice cream and jumps on your lap, purrs and gives you the ‘cute look’

A cat person – lets cat lick off of your own spoon, you take turns, adorable

A non-cat person – doesn’t eat ice cream ever, ruins US economy, Ben and Jerry’s goes out of business

 

A cat sits on your bed and watches you have sex. Maybe you’re with someone. Maybe you’re alone.

A cat person  – has learned to ignore staring cat, sometimes you have to yell at cat if its attacking your feet during sex, super funny

A non-cat person –  cannot perform in front of staring cat, never has sex again, world ends

 

Cat person always wins.

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Why Cats are Terrible Birthday Party Guests

Our twin terrors cats turned one on Monday. I am not sure if normal people have parties for their cats, but moms who love wine of small children LOVE to throw lavish parties for the felines in their life.  Our Donut cat’s birthday is a prime example of feline birthday merriment.

Turns out …   wait for it….. cats do not care about their birthday! Or a party!  Turns out… wait for it… it is only their people that care about this stuff.

 

Because cats lack basic participation skills!

Why a cat is a terrible birthday party guest...

1.  They don’t like chocolate or cake or candy and people do not like cat food so because the party is really for us – they get nothing to eat!

2.  They don’t play well with friends. The entire party was basically a WWF match gone wild. OMG are all boys like this?

 

3.  They don’t share their toys. Cats are selfish assholes. Especially male cats.

 

4.   Cats won’t wear party hats. Well if you can find party hats in their size as no way I am making special party hats for small cat heads after I slaved all night making cupcakes.

5.  Cats do not know how to sing happy birthday OR CLAP to appreciate your rendition. Cats are basically not trainable.

 

6.  Cats won’t sit still in a chair while you sing to them or serve cupcakes. Nor do they really care.

7.  Cats could care less that you make cupcakes that exactly resemble them as they are cats.  Refer back to #3 – second part.

(cat cupcake recipe below)

8.  Cats do not have the ability to blow out candles.

9.  Cats will not sit still for the camera. Nor can they smile. Or laugh. Or care. At all.

 

10.  Since cats do not have opposable thumbs, they cannot open their own presents.

So do you celebrate your feline’s birthdays? Or do I just need more hobbies? Knitting anyone?

*****

Cat Cupcakes

Prepare your choice of cupcake – we did chocolate

Frosting of your choice – depends on the color of your cat – we did chocolate

Dip the frosted cupcake in sprinkles – choose based on your cat color

Use sliced gumdrops for eyes

Licorice for whiskers

Chocolate bars cut into triangles for ears

eat and enjoy

Cat Cupcake inspiration from here

******

Also, do you love cats? Do you want to read about how a family got their cat? Don’t you really want a cat? Go check-out Marinka’s newly published book, Wanted Cat and throw some support her way.

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The Damn Morning Cats …

My first mistake is setting the coffee pot timer. The steaming and dripping starts at 5am.

 

At 5:01 the cats are walking on my head.

 

At 5:02 the cats are biting my toes.

 

At 5:05 the cats are running across the room jumping upon the bed at each pass and using my body as a launching pad.

 

At 5:10 the cats are meowing loudly acting like they are dying. Their meows threaten waking the kids.

 

At 5:15 the cats figure out how to get under the covers and have a full-on WWF match on me, under me, beside me.

 

At 5:20 the cats start climbing the blinds and/or curtains and/or shades and/or walls and seem to be swinging from side to side and leaving scratch marks down the walls.

 

At 5:25 the cats find a favorite stuffed animal of Astrid’s and start using it as a sacrificial lamb and rip it to shreds on my head and laugh an evil cat laugh.

 

At 5:30 I rise and go downstairs and pee first which seems to annoy them further, and as I am getting their food they rub against my legs and purr and act like they are the sweetest beings in the whole world just because they want food and I am the means to food and they seem to forget what assholes they were just 5 minutes ago AND I fall for it.

 

Every damn morning.

******

This “cat waking man” video has been around for four years but as a cat owner it never gets old as THIS is my life.

 

 

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Where Twitter Knows Nothing About Cats…

About 15 years ago, I stayed with my aunt. I brought along my cat. He camped out on her counter and my non-cat loving aunt went a bit crazy.  She bought moth balls and lined the counter-tops with them to keep the cat off. My cat loved  jumping up on the counter to knock all of the balls onto the floor. It was really the best game.  He thought my aunt was so sweet to buy him all of those toys.

So I’ve accepted the fact that cats are mainly not trainable. Like husbands.

But these two new cats are driving me crazy with their counter time.  So I went to where I get almost all of my help these days – I queried twitter.

What I love about twitter is that if you ask a question about cats – everyone has an opinion.  Cat and twitter lovers unite. Also, that no one questioned my obvious leg cutting off suggestion.(I promise, I would never do that).

So the ideas came – the water spraying, the sandpaper on the counter, the tape on the counter and the special mats and sprays.

And I’ve tried the water spray and now they just sit there with soap and wait for the 80 times daily shower. Since it’s a counter-top where I like make food – I can’t imagine using sandpaper or sticky tape or a special mat because I like prep food there. Or I could put all of that crap on the counter with the cats and just prep the food on the floor.

But the most intriguing item was this motion detector spray…
Innotek SSSCAT Cat Training AidPet Deterrent Mats, Sprays & Sonic Pet Repellents)

Where it will automatically spray your cat when they jump on the counter.  The reviews also mention that you need to disable it when you are in the area as it will also spray you. Most reviewers mention they get sprayed.  It also mentions it is a non-toxic spray for not available for sale on Catalina Island.  Still investigating why you cannot buy this on Catalina Island.  Also I would like to know why it is marked now 60% off.

I don’t think it will work for the cats, but do think it would be a good way to keep my husband away from the Easter candy.

So I left twitter without an answer..and continued to ponder that perhaps the obvious answer is always the right answer.

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