Pets 101

Hello, my name is Brian, and I have a problem. Growing up as a kid my parents allowed us to have many pets, although not all at the same time. Of course we have Cats; Cloudy, Bentley, Trixie, Rusty are just a few of the cats we had.  I can even remember having one cat that was an attack cat. My sister actually slept on a rocking chair because she was afraid to put her feet on the floor. We also had hamsters, tons of fish (both tropical freshwater and goldfish), an Iguana, and even a bird. Damn I miss that Iguana. I got him when I was in college. I wanted a snake till I learned I would have to feed it mice (plus mom said no), and I couldn’t get a bearded dragon because I would have to feed it crickets. Iguanas only eat fruits and vegetables, and I had no issues feeding an animal plants.

However, I sit here now watching Pets 101 waiting to get my day of gaming started, and I realize that I want cool and different pets. Every time something new shows up, I want it (except for an ant farm or any spider). Someone owns a sloth as a pet? I would love that. I want one. Someone adopted a fox? That would be awesome. I want one. Someone has her own pet owl? Where do I sign up? I want one. Someone actually turned an opossum into a family member? How do I do that? I want one.

Then reality sets in. Much like the iguana, I am sure it is expensive to keep up with some of these rare pets. The iguana ate fresh food that I (or more likely my mother) would prepare every couple of days. I also had to keep him warm, so the electricity used to keep the heat lamps going had to be expensive.

Not to mention that I go away a lot. I know my mom has no issues coming down here to cat-sit Loki, but I am not sure she would want to come down here and take care of my pet chickens. Yes, she did grow fond of Cornholio (yea, I name the iguana after Beavis and Butthead). However, I don’t think she would really want to care for some odd and strange creature like a cavy.

So, once I run through my “I wants,” I’ll move on, take a shower, hug Loki, and get on with my day.

No idea how to title this one

I once heard it said that a if the owner of a loyal dog dies, the dog will starve waiting for its owner to feed it, but loyal cat does not exist. I think my cats would wait about an hour before using my dead body as food, which is a good thing because my dead body is probably the only think Pips could catch.

But this random thought got me thinking about how long it would take for people to notice that I died. Honestly, the fact that I work a set schedule would cause people to become concerned pretty quickly. At most, if I died at the start of a long weekend (and wouldn’t that be depressing), at most it would take four days for people to know that something is wrong. The more likely scenario is that work would notice in one day.

However, if it weren’t for work, it would take much longer for my dead body to be discovered. No one is surprised when I go off the grid for a little while. I could go months without talking to some of my friends, and weeks without talking to my family. I sometimes just disappear from the world. But, it should be noted that I play the same group of friends in warhammer almost every week. I am pretty sure that they would notice that something was wrong when I didn’t show up for a game. The down side to that is that only one of them knows where I live and has actually been to my house. So, it would be a mission to find out what was wrong. The only other sign that something was wrong would be if I didn’t post a blog every day. I think after two missed posts, people would wonder, but it may only be a passing thought.

So, I think that it would actually take about a week for people to realize something was wrong, maybe two if it were not for work. I wouldn’t be one of those people who are discovered months after my death. I guess that is pretty good for someone who lives alone. And I believe that the three cats can survive for a week, even if it is on me.

A weekday cleaning

I should clean my house every weekend. With three cats living here, and the warm weather, I should vacuum every weekend. The cat hair here is inches think. You almost have to wade through it. But alas, I am a very lazy individual. I prefer to be out with my friends. And cleaning takes so much time.

But there are days when even I have to say enough is enough. These poor cats are not going to learn to vacuum, which would be both cool and scary. So today, a weekday, I had enough. I broke out the vacuum and scared the cats. The rugs were cleaned and so was the hardwood floor.

The sad part of this whole story is not that the cats hid for the rest of the night, because they didn’t. They have already covered the recently cleaned rugs with their hair again. Rolling on the clean rugs, and the shedding! It really needs to stop. I have even thought about shaving them. That would be interesting…

Scary Sight

One of the scariest sights I see during the day, other than the three cats staring at me in unison, is a blank word document. Once I get started with a blog I am usually fine, but that blank screen scares me. Especially when I don’t have a single thought I feel like blogging.

Yes, the three cats staring at me might be scarier, but usually I can placate them by giving them some fresh food. The blank screen though? I actually need to think. I need to express my thoughts into a somewhat coherent blog.

And if I don’t have an actual idea, I just sit staring at the screen, drinking some coffee (if I have the day off), listening to the TV, hoping for some inspiration. If that doesn’t work, I read CNN, other Blogs, Facebook, and anything else hoping to get some sort of inspiration.

And sometimes, none of that works. I just stare at the screen, starting to panic. There are some classic fallbacks that I can blog about. I could tell some funny stories of my past. I could tell a story about something that happened at work, and there are plenty of those. And, of course, there is always a story about what these cats have done recently, well, at least till two of them final go home.

No, the blank document is a scary sight. And I must face my fears and conquer the blank document. Even if the blog is about how hard I find it to blog sometimes.

Sadness

On the way to my parents temporary home for my Easter lunch, on that long drive to NJ, I saw a cat on the side of the road that had gotten killed. I usually get this feeling of sadness when I see a dead animal on the side of the road, but this time it was a little worse. For some reason I thought of my cat and the two guest cats. You add that on top of the bad morning I was already having, the bad feelings I was already going through, and I just got swamped with this profound sadness.

I usually feel bad for anything on the side of the road. A thought of “This wouldn’t have happened if man wasn’t driving on the road” goes through my head. Let us ignore the fact that these animals haven’t learned to look both ways before crossing, and cars have been on the road for over a hundred years. I just can’t shake the feeling that animal life would be better if it weren’t for us and our cars.

I know, it’s stupid that I feel that way. But when it is a cat or dog on the side of the road, I always think of how I would feel if it was my pet. It doesn’t matter that the dead animal could have been a stray, I always think of Loki. If I lost Loki that way, I would be crushed. Sure the fur ball is a pain in the ass most of the time. And yes, he does hack up hairballs in my bed a four in the morning (still mad about my Monday morning). But he is my pet. Well, maybe I am his, but I have grown attached to the little guy.

I know that one day I will have to deal with his loss.

And I know that when I see another dead animal on the side of the road, that feeling of guilt will hit again.

The Little Things

Sometimes, it really is the little things. It can be the little things that can make or break a day. And you always should look for those little things, even if they make you day only a little better.

This morning, for example, I woke up to Loki lying on my back purring away. Ok, I didn’t need to be up at six am, but waking up to him is better than an alarm clock. When I finally got my tail moving, I walked down stairs to start my day by feeding the cats. Sadly, the first thing I saw was some cat puke, which made me feel a little sad. However, where the puke was made dealing with it a little easier. Usually I am cleaning up hairballs and puke on my rugs, carpet, or hardwood floors. The worst place I have had to deal with was when a cat hair a hairball incident in my bed, while I was sleeping in it. At 2 AM. Yuck. But this time, the cat threw up on the mat that I keep their food bowls on. This made it extremely easy to clean. So, while I could be upset that one of my cats wasn’t feeling well (and probably just ate too fast) and that I had to clean up after the little furball, I was thankful that it was an unusually easy clean.

And yesterday was even better. I went to a flea market for gaming hobbyists. Now, I planned on spending just $140, and I spent $150. That was pretty close to plan, but what I got made it worth it. For example, I bought a book that usually sells for 70 pounds on an English Website, which would be about 120 U.S. dollars. I paid $50 for it, and got two more outdated books that will probably be good reads for another $30. Those purchases, plus a few more, made the day. The fact that my team lost the game later in the day could not bring my day down. And the fact that a friend got an even better deal on something else couldn’t bring my day down. In fact, the deals he got actually made the day even better.

So, always look for the little things. If you are having a bad day, they may make it a little better. And if you are having a good day, they may make it even better.

To quote the Monty Python song, “Always look on the bright side of life.”

Am I smarter than my cats?

No. Well, that was a short and easy blog.

But I have been thinking about this. I have lived with these furballs for over a year now. And while I do enjoy their company, I am also having jealousy issues. Let’s start with the obvious. I am the one who goes into work for nine hours a day while they get to stay home and sleep and eat and sleep. At least that’s what I assume they are doing while I am at work. When I am home on a weekend, that’s what they tend to do. I really want that life. I want to be able to sleep all day, but someone needs to earn cash to pay for our food. It reminds me of when I was married (probably shouldn’t have said that).

On top of paying for their food, I also have to clean up their output, from both ends. I have to clean their cat litter, hairballs, and I am the one who cleans up the mess when they throw up. I don’t see them doing that for me when I am feeling sick (or get too drunk). Actually, I don’t think that they would care if I left the hairballs and puke where I found it, but I care.

Now, those are the obvious statements that have been said many times before. But lets look beyond that. These cats have never had to survive on their own and have never been out in the wild. They have never had to catch their own food; it comes from the giant weird looking thing every day at the same time. And even how they treat their water supply shows how smart they can be. Loki likes his water from a fountain, a sink, or in a bowl in the master bathroom. Please don’t ask me to explain that. I never thought much of this until I read an article about why “domesticated” cats prefer their water away from their food supply. It turns out that they are still reacting to being wild cats. Apparently, if cats know their food is to close to their water supply, they know the water might be contaminated with germs, viruses, and other things that may get them sick. They are smart enough to know that moving water is healthier. This is why my fat cat either drinks from moving water or from a water supply away from his food supply. I would never have thought about that. I know that stagnant water should not be used as drinking water but I would never have thought about the food being to close to it.

Even how the cats use their litter shows how smart they are. The still cover up their leavings, or try to at the very least. They would do this in the wild to hide their presence from predators and prey. Yes, my cats have no predators to worry about (although I have been known to chase Loki around the house) and as for their prey, the canned cat food isn’t going to run away, but they still have that instinct.

And don’t give me that crap about opposable thumbs. Loki has managed to open doors (with door knobs, not the handles) all on his own. I have no idea how he does it. When we got hit with the earthquake, he was the smart one who stayed on the bottom floor. He doesn’t care if there is snow on the sidewalk while I am outside freezing. If he’s tired, he naps. If he’s hungry, he eats or gets me to feed him.

And I know that if I died, these cats would probably miss me until they ran out of food. Then I would become the cat food. Dogs will starve to death waiting for their owner to feed them. Cats will wait until they are hungry and then they eat their housemates. I can’t really consider them my pets. I am pretty sure I am only tolerated because I feed them.

And if left on our own in the wild, I think Loki and Angel would survive while Pips and I starved to death. And with our fatness, I am not sure who would starve first.

Personalities

I find it amusing at how each of my three house-guests have very distinct personalities. And once you get used to them, they each are lovable in their own way. I mean, they are cats, but they are very different. And yes, they do entertain me throughout the days.

1. Loki, my buddy. This is the cool cat. He is the one at the top of the steps waiting for me to get home. He also is usually at my side. When I am at my hobbying table he can be found lying at my feet or under my chair. Loki is also very playful, when dragging a string around, he actually pounces. He is also the cat who sometimes likes to start trouble with Pipsqueak. Pips could be snoozing on a couch, and Loki will try to provoke her. And it being Pips, it’s not all that hard. He also shows me when he is jealous. If I am playing with the other cats, he will sit right in front of me with his back to me. But he is also the first to jump on me once I get under my blanket on the couch.

2. Pipsqueak, my sister’s cat, the moody member of this household. She can almost always be found on the couch. And when you dangle a string for her to play with, she doesn’t chase it or pounce; she falls over with a loud thump. And be careful when petting her, when she has had enough, she doesn’t tell you in such a nice way. How she tells you usually involves pain, claws, and blood, a lot of blood. She is also the one who will rub up against you legs, sit next to you on the couch, and purr away in total contentment. So sure, you may end up bleeding, but you still like her. She’s just so cute.

3. Angel, the “quiet” one. She is the one who is scared of everything. I stand up, she runs away. I sit down, she runs away. I lay down in bed; she jumps up onto my chest and purrs away. She is also the most talkative cat here. She’ll bring one of her toys to whatever level of the house I am on, and meow away. The best part of it is that she meows with the toy still in her mouth. You can tell that Angel has trust issues. She just stares at you as you do anything, once she warms up to you enough to come out of her hiding places. She also likes to start trouble with Loki. He could just be sitting around, not bothering anyone, and Angel will walk right into him.

And I like these three house-guests more than I like most people. Explains why I live with them.

All Over the Place

Today’s blog is all over the place, which reflects my thoughts. I’ve been battling a cold for almost a week now. And when I get sick, I become a whiny bitch. Well, more whiny than usual. I hate being sick and locked inside my house. It’s so boring. This week I cancelled plans to go out and game with my friends. All I did was rest, watch TV, and play with my cats.

Now, I have to admit that I didn’t take anything for this cold. I don’t know if taking something would have helped speed up my recovery, but I feel that this country is already over medicated. And if I can keep extra drugs out of my system and recover naturally, I would rather do that. Sure, I may be out of it for a week, but I feel that keeping drugs out of the body, even over the counter medication, is better for the body.

And I must be getting older. I remember recovering much quicker than this. I remember feeling better in a day or two. But much like recovering from a hangover, recovering from a cold seems to take longer as I get older. And that is depressing.

Speaking of alcohol, when I get sick I avoid beer and wine and other forms of alcohol. I miss wine. I can’t wait to feel better so I can have a glass.

Yes, I am whining about wine.

Recovery

I will say this about having pets, they seem to know when something is wrong. I am sure that me being in bed all day yesterday was a key sign for them, but they did seem to know that I was not feeling well. The three cats apparently took it upon themselves to give me a constant, but rotating, guard. I stared to fall asleep, and Loki jumped up on the bed and curled into a ball next to me. When I woke up an hour later, he was gone, but Angel took his place. I fell asleep again and the next time I woke up, it was to Pipsqueak snoring next to me. The only time I awoke and there was not cat in the bed, one was guarding the door.

They just seem to know. I remember coming home one time, when I still lived with my parents, and I was drunk. I staggered into the bathroom and proceeded to expel all of the alcohol I drank that year. When I was done, I laid down on the tiled floor and fell asleep. When I woke up, briefly, there were two cats at the door with their backs to me. They wouldn’t let anyone in. I don’t know if they were trying to protect me, or if they were trying to prevent someone from coming in to help me. I hope it was the former, but since they are cats, it may have been the latter.

But, back to me being sick. The only time I was awake for an extended period of time was when I grabbed a bite to eat or fed the cats. I slept all nearly day. I would wake up for a few moments, then I would fall right back to sleep. And I think I used an entire box of tissues. It was not a good day. I remember wanting to stay home from school when I was younger, but that want wouldn’t last more than a day. All my friends were still at school, and home was so boring. Well, the same holds true now. I would rather be healthy and unhappy at work than unhealthy and sleeping all day at home.

And that is just sad.