I’ve got 99 problems and cats are pretty much all of them

In honor of National Cat Day which is October 29, I’ve compiled a list of 99 ways cats complicate my life. For the purposes of this list, “cats” includes Jack (the fat ginger cat I’ve had for nearly 10 years), Cat Cat (the insane ragdoll cat I found about six years ago, and who is obsessed with my boyfriend), and Leander (the xoloitzcuintli or Mexican hairless dog we adopted about six months ago who is not, in fact, a cat, but exhibits a number of feline behaviors).

I should add that I adore these three with all my heart. They’re my kids. By definition, that means that they drive me insane. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for them, but that does not prevent me from seeing the humor and absurdity in their behavior.

  1. Three times in the last week I’ve accidentally locked one of the cats in the front hall closet, which is kept closed because the dog food is in there and both cats desperately want to eat the dog food.
  2. Cat Cat has discovered that she enjoys peeing on the pile of clothes at the bottom of the laundry chute in the basement.
  3. Leander refuses to go pee outside if it’s wet, cold, or raining. We live in Seattle; it’s pretty much always wet, cold, or raining. His solution is to wait until no one is looking and run down to the basement and pee or poo on the carpet.
  4. Sometimes Leander decides it’s better to pee on the back of the couch of the support beams or in between the potty pads.
  5. Leander is a reluctant eater, which means he needs a pep talk before he receives his food. He also requires at least one person to sit by him while he eats and protect his food bowl from the cats, who sit and stare at him while he eats, inching closer.
  6. Without fail, Cat Cat decides she’s hungry every morning at 4 a.m. In order to get us out of bed, she runs around the bedroom knocking things down. I’ve lost three containers of deodorant and at least as many necklaces this way.
  7. Leander has to have a lap to sit on at all times. That lap has to be sitting on the couch, otherwise he runs frantically around the house with his lambchop toy whimpering until someone sits on the couch.
  8. Colin works from home and when he sits on the couch to work, because Leander doesn’t like hanging out in the study, Leander leans in so close that Colin can’t use his arm to type.
  9. Jack despises Leander because he considers my lap his and his alone.
  10. Jack is also exceedingly jealous that Leander is allowed outside, even though Leander hates going outside unless it’s for a walk to the park.
  11. Cat Cat loves Leander and expresses her love by trying to face bunt him and get him to groom her. He is not interested.
  12. Cat Cat is obsessed with walking on Leander whenever he’s under the blankets in bed. As a result, he now lunges at her whenever she gets too close to him on the couch.
  13. Leander is convinced a Halloween witch figure in our neighbor’s yard is real and barks and lunges at it every time we walk by.
  14. Jack has to sleep by my head, which sometimes results in my overheating or being nearly smothered in my sleep.
  15. Jack hates laughter, dancing, and all noise including sneezing and coughing and meows disapprovingly at me if I do any of those things.
  16. Little balls of cat fur drift across the floor like tumbleweeds.
  17. The cats’ likes and dislikes regarding food are subject to change at a whim and without notification to the humans. They’re starving, but not for that.
  18. Cat Cat has to face bunt the corner of the laptop and walk across the keyboard.
  19. If she can’t access the laptop, Cat Cat will rub her face on the monitor in the study or anything else that will interfere with work.
  20. Cat Cat snores like an obese, alcoholic sailor.
  21. Jack eats my hair … while it’s on my head. I often wake up to discover that he’s chewing on my hair, at which point I remind him that he’s not allowed to eat my hair. He does it anyway. Colin often finds him wandering around the house with my hair in his mouth.
  22. Leander has started eating my hair.
  23. Jack drools on me while I’m sleeping.
  24. Jack desperately wants to be allowed outside but as soon as he gets in the yard he begins frantically eating grass. Within minutes of going back inside, he vomits grass all over the house.
  25. Leander likes to “bury” extra treats and snacks in the couch so we often sit down on top of pieces of old bread and pigs ears.
  26. We have a queen bed, but there isn’t enough room for us because Leander sprawls across the bottom of the bed and the cats sprawl across the top. Leander shifts at least a half-dozen times between sleeping under the covers or on top, which means we have to help him get in and out throughout the night.
  27. Jack is afraid of plastic bags.
  28. “No” has absolutely no meaning in our household. Our only method of enforcing good behavior is a squirt bottle.
  29. When the squirt bottle is out of reach, the cats will continue their bad behaviors until we’re within grabbing distance of the squirt bottle, at which point they run like hell.
  30. Sometimes a specific room of the house will smell like urine and feces and we never find out why.
  31. Sometimes a specific room of the house will smell like urine and feces and we find out why.
  32. Sometimes a specific room of the house will smell like urine and feces and we find out why months later.
  33. Leander has a dog bed and Cat Cat has peed on it twice.
  34. I had a giant beanbag that I loved. Cat Cat peed on it until we had to get rid of it.
  35. Cat Cat loves men. Jack loves women. Leander hates everyone. We also think Leander hates women.
  36. We have a standing appointment at the vet every three weeks for Leander to get his anal glands expressed. Unfortunately, the vet doesn’t hand out punch cards for anal gland expression.
  37. The only thing more dangerous than stairs at 6 a.m. before I’ve had coffee is stairs occupied by two hungry cats who are convinced that running between my legs is the best way to convince me to feed them.
  38. Leander is convinced the treadmill is Satan, which isn’t doing much to help me convince myself that it isn’t.
  39. Little Cat Cat hairballs all over the place.
  40. Having to look at three different anuses every day.
  41. When Leander decides he doesn’t want to go outside, we have to coax him really quickly before Jack sees the door is open and makes a break for it.
  42. When Jack jumps on the bed, he usually lands on Colin’s throat.
  43. The constant cat kneading hurts Colin’s stomach and he has to force Jack to lay down, which usually pisses him off so much that he gets up and leaves.
  44. Leander gets boners when he’s happy and nervous.
  45. Leander refuses to sit down in the car, and with three legs he has zero ability to balance while driving.
  46. Cat Cat has few teeth and will lose more and it costs a goddamn fortune to have them removed. It’s a condition called feline oral resorptive lesions, and as a result she gets her teeth x-rayed more frequently than we do. 
  47. Because Cat Cat has no teeth, we can only get wet food.
  48. Wet cat food smells disgusting.
  49. The cats have decided that any food item encased in a plastic bag now sounds the same as the bag that holds their bonito flakes.
  50. Cat Cat gets lost every once in a while and we have to scour the house to find her.
  51. Cat Cat has crazy fits that usually result in destruction.
  52. Cat Cat goes Van Gogh when she gets poop stuck to her butt and frantically tries to smear it away.
  53. Wiping Cat Cat’s ass is usually a two-person job with her howling like a fucking maniac the whole time.
  54. Sometimes Cat Cat has random bouts of sadness and meows loudly and pathetically from far corners of the house for no reason. It’s really, really sad but we don’t know why she’s sad and she doesn’t know why she’s sad so we can’t make her feel better.
  55. Cat grooming always leads to vicious cat fighting.
  56. All the animals are afraid of the vacuum cleaner and too dumb to run into another room when it’s turned on.
  57. Jack leaves shedded claws all over the place.
  58. We’ve spent exponentially more on pet medical services than our own.
  59. We can’t get pet insurance for Cat Cat and Jack because they have pre-existing conditions (triaditis and oral resorptive lesions, respectively).
  60. Leander hasn’t learned the art of walking a normal route at the park.
  61. Cat Cat threw up on Colin twice in the middle of the night.
  62. Cat Cat almost threw up on Colin a third time in the middle of the night and he flung her out of bed so she threw up on herself and he had to clean vomit off of her in the middle of the night.
  63. We both have scars from cat scratches.
  64. Every item placed on any flat surface has to be strategically placed to reduce the odds one of the cats will be able to knock it down.
  65. All the animals prefer to sleep during the day to save up their crazy for the time when we want to relax.
  66. Leander butt scoots on the carpet. We’ve identified a handful of causes but no actual solution.
  67. Leander flunked out of obedience training after lunging at a dog named Millie. He now requires private lessons which cost more money.
  68. When we get home, Leander has to celebrate by having us choose a toy from his toy box and handing it to him, but it has to be a toy he really likes, but all the toys he really likes are already out for him to play with so we have to find a toy, put it in the toy box, and then pretend to find it and hand it to him.
  69. I have to hide most of my craft supplies like they’re god damn diamonds to prevent the cats from utterly destroying them.
  70. All of our interior decorating is based around how high the cats can reach and what is breakable.
  71. We think it would be nice to foster cats and dogs in need, but none of our animals would tolerate it. They’re all rescues so it’s still a karmic win, but still.
  72. During a rather long car drive, Cat Cat shit in my lap in the middle of bumper to bumper traffic. In. My. Lap.
  73. Leander is convinced our airbnb guests are Satan and is highly suspicious of our guest room, even when nobody is there.
  74. We used to live in a house with a lot of mice. One got loose in the kitchen once and when I ran to hide in the living room, Jack followed me instead of chasing the mouse.
  75. Jack and Cat Cat both think my sewing machine is a giant, fun toy–especially when I’m trying to use it.
  76. I can’t have indoor plants because I’m absolutely certain one of the three stooges would eat, poop, pee on, or dig up the plant. And I like plants a lot.
  77. We both feel guilty leaving the house for any length of time because it makes Leander so sad.
  78. Trying to go to the bathroom alone is an enormous struggle.
  79. Colin can’t wear his favorite pair of pyjama bottoms because Cat Cat loves them so much that they’re on her cat stand for her to lay on.
  80. Jack likes to whip people with his tail. It doesn’t sound painful, but when it involves your face, it really is.
  81. During our first trip to our favorite ice cream shop with Leander, he tried to attack a tiny butterball of a puppy that wanted to play with him.
  82. We get stuck in chairs, on couches, and in beds minutes and sometimes hours longer than we intended because we’re buried in cats and don’t want to disrupt them.
  83. Arranging cat sitters when we travel is like a secret ops mission. We have one cat sitter, two backup cat sitters, two Leander sitters (who are the only other people he likes) and a multi-page list of instructions and tips for dealing with the monsters.
  84. Cat Cat and I met when she jumped on my back when I bent over to pick up a box. She’s since decided that my back is an awesome place to hang out, meaning that I can never turn my back on her without the risk of suddenly having claws in my back. It’s worst when I’m changing clothes and not paying attention.
  85. I’m a Christmas nut but no power on earth, including Santa, could convince the cats to stop trying to destroy my Christmas tree.
  86. I’m a Christmas nut who can’t have poinsettias in the house because they’re poisonous, and I know for certain that one of the cats would try to eat it.
  87. I’m a Christmas nut who loves making elaborate bows for presents, but every time I do, a cat either sits on or attempts to eat the bow.
  88. Cat Cat doesn’t necessarily want to eat our food, but she wants to lick just enough of it that we can’t eat it anymore.
  89. Jack is so fat that he wears a dog’s medium Halloween costume.
  90. When one of the cats comes back from the vet, the other sniffs the cat, smells the vet, and hisses cruelly at the sick animal. Least. Sympathetic. Creatures. Ever.
  91. We own three lint rollers, but it’s never enough.
  92. Happily, we now own a home that we love. But for years we faced the challenge of finding an apartment that would allow animals and while this mostly made me mad at the landlords, Cat Cat’s penchant for destroying blinds gave me some unwanted perspective on the issue.
  93. I’m afraid to leave the windows open for fear the cats will jump out through the screen, which Jack actually did once.
  94. The one time Jack managed to get out of the house I was crying and calling to him for over an hour and he stayed hidden. Our neighbor brought over a can of warm tuna and he came out in less than a minute. Asshole.
  95. The cats are convinced that I’m a jerk for leaving for work every day even though feeding them and paying for their medical expenses is a major reason I go to work every day.
  96. Cat Cat tries to lure airbnb guests down to the kitchen to feed her. I’m fairly certain that if it wasn’t for her girth, they’d be convinced we were starving her and she’d be fine leaving them with that impression as long as it meant more food.
  97. No one can get a treat without everyone getting a treat.
  98. Colin once walked into our bedroom to find Jack wearing my underwear.
  99. Sometimes (rather often, actually) Jack and Leander fart while they’re sitting in my lap.  
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