Take My Cats. Please.

I need a lot less cat in my life.

A LOT less.

As in, none.

There I said it.  Out loud and in public for all the world to see.

I can’t believe I’m saying or even thinking this about my two cats, Judy and Elroy.  I love animals.  I think people who don’t are weird.  I’m not saying everyone should have a pet, but when I meet someone who doesn’t like animals, I automatically think there is something “off” about them.  It’s like they’re missing a compassion gene in their DNA.  They probably step on ants and pinch babies when no one is looking.

So how is it possible that I sometimes fantasize about “accidentally” leaving the back door wide open when I leave for work in the morning?

I’ve always been a lover of all things animal.  I got my first pet, a long-haired gray cat named Emmy, as an early present from Santa when I was 5.  She was my buddy, my pal.  She loved me as much as I loved her.  She’d let me dress her up in my undershirts, doll clothes and Ace bandages (don’t ask) and carry her around like a baby.  She slept in my bed at night and would come running to my aid from wherever she was if she heard me cry.

Other cats came and went throughout my childhood, adolescence and even into adulthood.  There was Bruce, the kitten my sister claimed from a box on a street in Northampton.  Bruce was a gray female cat who had the misfortune of being born during my sister’s Bruce Springsteen phase, hence the name.  We had Scrunch, Mrs. Beasley and Toonces (again, all gray) and even had a stint with a Yorkie named Spike.

In college, I met Elroy, aka Mo, aka the greatest animal to ever live.  My mom brought him to me when I was living in Washington D.C. for a semester.  I lived alone, knew no one and was really lonely.  She drove the 8+ hour car ride down to DC with this tiny little ball of fur nestled in her lap the whole time.  He was gray (surprise!) and turned out to be the most affectionate little guy I ever met.  He slept on my pillow, pushed up against my head the first night I had him.  We became fast friends and to this day I still say he was the best roommate I ever had.

Elroy

We’ve been through a lot together me and Mo.  Apartments, roommates, boyfriends, break ups, jobs, marriage, homeownership, kids.  Through all of life’s changes, he remains constant.

Unfortunately, what that constant has turned into these days is a giant pain in the ass!

The problem is simple: there are too many living things in my house.

Grand is not a word I would use to describe my home.  In a real estate listing you’d see words like “cute,” “quaint” and “cozy.”  So when you consider the fact that neither Scott nor I could ever be described as petite and then throw in two toddlers and all their “paraphernalia,” things start to get a little crowded.  Add two (long-haired) cats into the mix and you have just created a neat freak’s worst nightmare.

Their fur is everywhere….E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E.  Pop into my house at any given moment of the day and you will find me with a lint brush in my hands, frantically swiping furniture, rugs and curtains and inventing new swear words to describe my cats and what I’d like to do to them.

It’s finally warm here in New England, which means they are shedding and cleaning themselves like crazy.  It also means our “hairball puke surprises” have doubled, nearly tripled, in the past month.  It’s pretty common these days to follow the girls into the living room in the morning and hear them excitedly yell, “Kitty puke, Mommy!  Kitty puke!”

Fan-fucking-tastic!

And it’s never on the floor or tile where it can be easily cleaned.  Nope, it’s always on a piece of fabric, most often my off white Berber carpet (obviously purchased way before we had kids).

These days, the only attention these two meowsters get is from a couple of 2 year olds and even they don’t really show an interest in O-eee (Elroy) and JuJu (Judy) except to mimic me shooing them off the table or out of the kitchen.

We don’t let the cats upstairs into the bedroom at night anymore.  They take up a ridiculous amount of space on the bed and both Scott and I regularly wake up with aching backs and necks on nights they manage to snake their way in.  Because they don’t get attention from us during the day, they think the best time for a love-fest is at 3:00 a.m. when they walk all over us purring and head butting our drooling faces.  I don’t even get up for my own kids anymore you think I want to have a make out session with a cat?

When they follow me into the kitchen, screaming at me to be fed and dancing around their dishes, I get angry.  Really really angry.  Incredible Hulk angry.  To the point where I yell at them or say mean things like, “how can you possible need to eat again, fat ass,” just to hurt their feelings.

What the hell is wrong with me?  They just want to eat!

And please, don’t even get me started on scooping the litter boxes…

I know pets always take a backseat once kids come into the picture.  Elroy was my life, my baby, my child before Lila and Mia were born.  I don’t want anything bad to happen to him, and the reality is I’ll never get rid of him.  I really just wish he and his counterpart would, well, disappear.

It’s not their fault.  They can’t help it.  They didn’t ask for twin sisters.  They miss the days of curling up into me and Scott as we sat on the couch for hours and hours on rainy Saturday afternoons as much as I sometimes do.  They don’t want much from us and it doesn’t take much to keep them happy.  They are as much part of this family as the girls are.

So, they get to stay….for now anyway.

6 thoughts on “Take My Cats. Please.

  1. I know exactly how you feel. We’ve had an american eskimo dog for 7 years and the fur is crazy as well as how much exercise he needs. When we got him, we chose his breed for their need for exercise because we liked to be active. Now with 3 toddlers, he is often left behind when it comes to exercising. Maybe as the kids get older it will get easier.

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  2. Oh, God…been there, done that. Jerry and I had six cats all going at once (we had them from birth to death). Besides hair everywhere, spraying (I knew when we moved into our carpeted apartment here in Waban that that was going to be a disaster…and it was), insulin-dependent diabetes, three litter boxes, hair balls, vomit, pee surprises on the bed at night, etc., etc., it was a real test.

    Maybe a trip to the groomer and a nice big pair of clippers would help a little in this warm weather.

    Good luck!

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  3. People don’t talk about it very openly, but I know a lot of people who have thought about giving up their pets when kids come along. Some do it, some just consider it.

    We have a 4-year-old Mini Schnauzer. I waited and lobbied my husband for YEARS before I finally got a dog. And now, oh the poor neglected thing. I do not enjoy having one more living thing’s poop to deal with. At this point, I know the kids like her and would be sad if she were gone. But man, there are days…

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  4. Saw your link to this on FB. And yes, it is so sad when you suddenly realize how much your relationships with pets have changed post children. My cat was my constant companion while I was on bed rest for 9 weeks, and then the kids came home and she was like a constant thorn in my side. Two years later, it’s a little easier to find a few minutes here and there to give some attention, but I know she’s still horribly neglected. But the kids do love her (although they give her the exact kind of attention she could live without), and I’m hopeful that it won’t be too much longer before life settles down a bit more and Pokey will evolve more into her new role as a family cat.

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  5. Kara, no! Take this post down. It wasn’t THAT long ago that you and I would literally talk for HOURS about our cats. In fact, I’m pretty sure every conversation we ever had up until three years ago started with a story about one of our fur ball friends. Elroy loves you more than any other living or dead thing. I’m not sure about Judy, but you should never blaspheme Mo. Never.

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