It occurred to me today that in never writing about my kitties, I’m not a very convincing bachelorette. It’s time to set the record straight: I am a crazy cat lady. I have two black rescue kitties. One is huge, and very fluffy. We’ll call her BK1. The other is a bit smaller (perhaps the runt of the litter), and fluffy as well. We’ll call her BK2.
If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that a few months back I began redecorating the bachelorette pad. I got a new sofa, recovered a chair, got two new area rugs, and an entertainment center. I got two new lamps that sit on either end of the entertainment center. The lamps are blown glass. Teal. To match the new paint.
Last week I had a stomach bug. It struck when I was out walking in the evening, about 1.5 miles from home. It was ugly. But I shall save that story for another day. Or not. Because I had a stomach bug, I worked at home Thursday and Friday, and because I had a brief due, I continued working through the weekend. I was camped out on the new sofa with my laptop, cases printed from Westlaw strewn about the coffee table and floor.
At approximately 4 pm each day, after her mid-afternoon nap, BK1 would begin to act out. Keep in mind she’s a rather large kitty, and her headbutts pack a powerful punch. Think bulldozer. BK1 proceeds to jump atop the entertainment center and rubs her whiskers on the lamp shade. The white lamp shade. I yell at her.
“BK1, get down!”
She ignores me and begins head-butting said lampshade. The lamp, which is quite heavy, begins wobbling. I jump up, grab the squirt bottle, and give her a good misting. She gives me a blank stare. I squirt her again. She jumps down onto the newly upholstered chair and begins sharpening her claws. I squirt her again and she jumps to the floor.
In the meantime, BK2 has slunk into the dining area, which does not yet contain the new dining table. Just six new upholstered chairs sitting there, naked, atop one of the new area rugs. I hear BK2 sharpening her claws on one of the chairs. I yell at her.
“BK2, bad kitty!”
She looks at me with a shocked hurt expression, and runs off. BK1 has now jumped on a high ledge atop the staircase and is looking down at me, caterwauling. She knows it unnerves me when she jumps up there. So far to fall! I get the treats out, shake the bag. I know this is bad parenting. I know I am reinforcing bad behavior. But I can’t stand to see her up on the ledge. So I shake the treat bag. BK1 jumps from her perch and comes bounding down the stairs. BK2 comes out from her hiding place where she was tending to her hurt feelings, meowing at the top of her squeaky high-pitched voice. If a cat ever had an annoying meow, it’s this one. But she’s so adorable, I tolerate it.
So kitties get their treats and settle down for a moment. It then occurs to me they must be bored and are acting out. I get a few of their toys out of the toy basket. Not interested. I throw a catnip-scented mouse at BK1’s feet. She stares blankly at me. I roll a ping pong ball across the floor. She jumps back up onto the entertainment center and begins head-butting the lampshade again. Meanwhile, BK2 decides to sharpen her claws on the dining room rug, creating little piles of wool. I yell at BK2 and off she runs again, after giving me that look. I then roll up a magazine and tap BK1 on the bottom. She stares at me, nonplussed. “Is this a new game?,” she seems to be asking me. I squirt her again. She jumps on the chair and sharpens her claws.
This continued for some time, until they curled up on the dining room chairs for their late-afternoon naps.
We did this every day for four days. I was glad to go back to work. But I still have a problem. I don’t know how to discipline the kitties. And it has to be done, lest they shred my new furnishings to bits.
So I beg of you, fellow cat lovers, how do I deal with this behavior? Bigger squirt gun? More treats? New toys? Threaten to return them to the shelter? Actually, I tried that last one. They laughed. They knew it was an idle threat. Kind of like when my parents threatened to send me to reform school.
I wonder if there are any good cat whisperers in Austin.