Sunday, May 22, 2011

Warrior Mel

Yesterday I participated in something called "Warrior Dash" with my friends Mel (erm, that would be my human friend Mel) and Robert.
Upon completion of the 5k ridiculous obstacle course (and by ridiculous I mean everything you ever wanted to do as a kid and were told not to - giant slip and slides, swimming through mud pits, hay bale mountains, cargo nets), you are awarded a "warrior helmet."

After I got home, Mel took immediate interest in all of the smells on my muddy, disgusting clothes, promptly sprayed them where I had temporarily dropped them on the linoleum in my entry way while I took a shower, and let me know that whatever other animals I had been playing with that day (um, or in? as the case may be - there was a cow pasture right next to the course...I hope that the cow pasture stayed next to the course and not part of it but...) they, and their smells, were most certainly NOT welcome in Her home.

So this morning, to be supportive of her good sportsmanship yesterday, I tried the warrior helmet on her for size:

I think that pretty much sums up anything else I could possibly say.  She will probably kill me in my sleep tonight.  If only she knew I posted pictures on the Internet as well....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Axis of Evil

The other day my friend Amanda posted an article from on my Facebook wall, titled "6 Adorable Cat Behaviors with Shockingly Evil Explanations."

Mel, of late, has been particularly unsettled.  A couple weeks ago she bit my face rather aggressively and drew blood.  Yes, I realize that there are people who would have instantly taken her to the shelter, or worse.

Call me an idiot, but twenty minutes later we had reconciled and I was gloating about how cute she was.  It's moments like this that the fact that she has such an upper hand in our relationship terrifies me, to put it lightly.

I'm psychologically controlled by an evil furry four legged General, as my friend Sarah calls her.

It's really bothered me that she's been in such a rotten mood.  We sort of feed off of each other symbiotically, and when she's pissy, it makes me pissy because I know I'm about to lose blood. She snapped at my face again last night and I can't figure out where this behavior is coming from.  Currently she is curled up in the nook of my arm.  My dad asked if she was feeling okay - since she acts rabid all the time, I really have no way to tell.  She acts like she wants attention, then chomps off a finger when you go to scratch her chin.  She wants up on the bed, but doesn't want me on the bed with her - well that's not so un-normal.

So I read the article that Amanda had posted on my FB wall, more amused than taking anything to heart.

Well today I noticed something.  Now that I've read the article, I'll never look at my cat the same way again.

First, please refer to the last picture of #6 (the first item) in the article.  This is how I sort of think of Mel.  All the time.  Which is why I post cute, fuzzy pictures of her on FB - to remind myself that she's a normal cat (an oxymoron if I've ever heard one).  It's like, if I post pictures of her looking cute, I'll stop thinking of this image I have that is very similar to the last picture in item #6.

But it was #5 that got me going.  #5 - "Leaving Their Poop Uncovered as an Insult."  As I read the article for the first time, I thought, "Mel would never do that. She's far too much of a lady."  Mel has always covered her poops and sprayed kitty litter from the laundry room to kitchen in the process.

But tonight she didn't.  Tonight she left it uncovered.  

According to the article this is purposefully evil: an insult and territorial claim.

Oh my God.  My cat.  My cat is insulting me!  On purpose!  I have no idea what to do about this.  All I can do is be reduced to her scooping slave and clean her box, removing the insult - AND that forces me to acknowledge it.  Her strategery is perfect.  (I refuse to give her credible credit).

After being reduced to a shoveling, gold digging, dust kicking, sifting, depositing maid, I went back and found the article that Amanda had posted to re-read the psychological analysis of The General.

Luckily it sounds as thought it's just an insult to me, and if anything more, a claim to her territory.  Refer to overall main blog title.

Which brought me to item #4 - "Rubbing Up Against You to Claim Ownership."

Is it really pathetic and sad that I'm flattered by this?  She wants to own me.  That means she wants me around.  And THAT means she won't kill me in my sleep.  Yet.  In fact, my reaction was along the lines of, "Aw, Mellie loves me.  She wants to own me."  Sick.

And let's not forget #6 - Imitating a Human Baby.  Mel imitates a good many things, including evil incarnate.  But a human baby?  No, that's what I do when I cry because she's hurt my feelings and has flat out rejected me as her mommy AGAIN.

I continued to the second page of the article, reviewing for Mel's behaviors.  #3 - "Imitates Snakes."  Yes, Mel does that so often that, thinking of it in these terms, I question her species.  Thank goodness she is furry and non-venomous.

But #2 was upsetting once again - "Obsessively Getting Rid of the Stench of Humans."
I've written previous entries and noted that my cat is obsessively clean.  And now I know she's obsessively trying to get rid of my stench.  I'm not sure how I feel about that considering I live with two litter boxes in my laundry room and her litter paws in my bed every night - usually on my pillow and up my nose.  Well, that explains that.  Upper hand.  On everything.

And finally, #1.  Yes, I do suck at hunting, mostly because I have a problem killing anything.  Mel has rubbed this in.  Being an indoor cat, her lethality rating is lower than she'd like it to be, which is probably partly why she plots to kill me in her spare time.  But she's managed a gecko and a mouse.  Bugs are just something to swat at - not even worth the kill.  Plus, she leaves those for me to kill, which I don't appreciate at all.

She attempted poultry the other day -

I might have put the bird feeder a bit lower on a side table out on the deck so she could get a better view.  (I thought I was being nice and giving her some up close entertainment.)  And this might have led to her flying head first (mmmm...perhaps quite hard) into the glass door with a loud SMACK.

Whoops.  Sorry Mel.

She would have definitely gotten that bird had that door not been in her way.  No doubt.  (Victory dance.)

Well, I suppose that all of these things establish that I can legally classify my cat as evil and that is the reason for her streak of even worse-than-usual poor behavior.

I am - in all serious honestly -  rather insulted that she has left her poops uncovered on purpose and that she doesn't want to smell me.  Talk about complete animal kingdom rejection.  If we were monkeys, she'd probably leave me to pick off my own bugs and eat them myself.  That's not the way things are supposed to be.  I think I will have to go "Imitate a Human Baby" at this time.  :(

And of course, as I would like to insert something equally insulting and evil back at her, she is still curled up in the crook of my elbow as I struggle to type one handed so as not to disturb the little bitch - and she looks completely cute and innocent and all I can think about is how much I love her and that I could never say anything seriously insulting about her or to her.  Curses.

Mel - 22
Kelsey - 1 (for the glass door)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Porcelain Litter Box

Sometimes I wonder what Mel is thinking when she sees me use the porcelain litter box.
Does she know what I'm doing?  Is she jealous that I don't have to get my paws dirty?  Does she think I'm doing some alien human ceremony by sitting on this thing?  Worshiping some God that makes a flushing noise once enough sacrifices have been made?
I bet she would be jealous if she knew.
I tried to train her to use it.  Besides the experiment overtaking my guest bathroom, which was then unavailable to my guests, it didn't work.  I still have hope and may try again at some point.
Mel is very picky.  If her box isn't cleaned regularly, she drops trough in the middle of the hallway to make her point.  Who can blame her?  I wouldn't want to use a dirty one either, especially if I had to step in it to use it.
Mel has one box for number one and one box for number two, and she keeps them very separated.  If her number two ever has to spill over into number one (there might be a poop left in number 2, God forbid), she gets very cranky.  After doing her dirty, she cleans her paws - about five minutes per paw.  Mel is the cleanest cat I've ever known.  I think she spends 10% of her day sleeping, 40% of her day cleaning herself, and 50% of her time devising ways to kill me in my sleep.
So therefore, I find it amusing, that despite the fact that I don't think she has any idea what I'm doing when I worship the porcelain God, she has to be right there with me and won't give me the privacy that I give to her.  (Well, that she demands really.  Not that one wants to be in the room when she puts a tootsie roll in the box, but if I happen to be say, using my laundry machine at the same time, I'm made quite aware that I'm invading her privacy and space by the glare and nip on my ankle.  She's very modest.)
If I shut my door, she whacks at it with her paw til I lean over and open it for her to come in.  And sit.  And stare while I make my ceremonial sacrifices.  I think she feels left out sometimes.
She'll wind back and forth, rub her head on my ankles, roll over on her back, then usually opens the bathroom cabinet, knocks over everything in her way, and sits (in the cabinet), under the sink until the signal that I'm done (water rushing above her head), at which point she comes flying out of the bathroom cabinet.
Mel's fascination for the porcelain alter doesn't diminish when I'm not using it.  She'll sniff around the base.  Put her paws up on the seat.  Sniff inside.  She's been known to shove her head between the lid and the seat. She likes to get her front two paws down in there on the sides to get a good view.  And, like a dog, she enjoys drinking out of the big doggie bowl as well.  Mel loves fresh water.  If her water in her dish isn't changed twice daily, she'll dehydrate herself and jump in the shower with me (that only lasts a few seconds when she realizes she can't drink the water that is pummeling her head, and this leads to a flood out of my bathroom down the hall and usually ends with a sopping wet cat cleaning off that wretched water while laying smack in the middle of my bed, which I then have to take a hair dryer to - thanks Mel).  So I don't understand drinking out of the big doggie bowl.  But her fascination is the funniest part.  She can not figure this thing out.  I can only imagine the questions she's asking herself:
"What is she doing?"
"What type of incense is that?"
"I wonder if I can scent that thing too."
"Is that flush noise coming from Mom?"
"Are those other noises coming from Mom?"
"Why would she ruin fresh water by sitting over top of it?"
"Is she blessing the fresh water for me??"
"Awww well maybe I'll let her live to see another day."

One day my little leipschin perhaps you will make your own sacrifices to the porcelain God.  Until then, please don't kiss my nose after you've drank out of the big doggie bowl, and I promise to keep your two litterboxes pristine.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mel the Terrible....Mel the Vegetarian

I'm sure many of you are reading this wondering if I've now imposed my own weirdo practices onto my cat.  No, she's imposed them on herself.
A few months ago, I asked my mom to bring out some plant trimmings so that I could start my own offshoots.  The cuttings sat on my kitchen counter while they grew nice long healthy roots, then I moved them to a pot, and then one day I went to take them to work and noticed that my plant, really didn't look like a plant.  It sort of looked like a piece of abstract, not yet finished, artwork.
The ends of the leaves were nawed off leaving brown, flat ends, not graciously flowing green tips and long leaves that the type of plant is supposed to have.
"MEL!!" I yelled from the kitchen.  She came into the dining area and sat, with a simple look on her face, looking at me, like "Yeah, whaddaya want?"
Did you eat this??? I said, with my best stern look (eyebrows raised, eyes wide, over the rim of the glasses, pursed lips) while putting what was left of my potted plant at eye level for her to see.  
She's not only a vegetarian, but she understands English because she did a Mel tornado right out of the room as soon as I got the plant to eye level.
Well that explained that.  And how do you punish a cat?  Everything is on their terms.
I took my wounded plant into my office the next day, and it's now sitting lamely on top of my mini fridge trying to regain it's strength.  First she's at war with me, and now my houseplants.  I wonder if she feels threatened by another living thing.  Something that takes a little bit of my attention away from her each week.
Because the saga continues.
I bought a blackberry bush for out on my balcony.  I'm so proud.  It's pretty much an amazing plant.  AND it hasn't died yet.  It's growing.  In fact, it looked like it may be getting some flowers on it!!
Until Mel chewed them off.
I tried to enjoy the sunrise with a cup of coffee out on my balcony the other day.  Me, Mel and the sun.  You would have thought it was peaceful.  No.  Every 6-8 seconds in a loud whisper: "Sssssstop it!!"
Swat.  A little louder:
"Quit eating my plantssss!"
Whack.  In a yelling whisper:
It took me thwacking her with the garden knee pad to get her to back off.  She then jumped in my largest pot where my hollyhocks were showing some signs of sprouting this year and proceeded to use it as a litter box.
It took everything I had not to see if cats really have the amazing sense of balance that they are said to, by throwing her over the balcony.  But I didn't.
The following weekend I purchased a bunch of daffodils from Trader Joes.  Imported from Ireland, at only $1.50, daffodils are pretty much my favorite, have Welsh significance, and therefore are pretty much my favorite even more.  And they're yellow.  And they're springy.  AND though I've checked in Lowe's since December, they've had no bulbs.  So here they were waiting for me. So I bought myself flowers.
I enjoyed them all day Sunday and then set the vase on my kitchen counter to keep them out of sight/out of mind of the beast.  Several times I caught her trying to get a taste.  Once she came into the bedroom with a daffodil petal stuck to the side of her mouth.
Monday morning I awoke to a trail of daffodil petals down the hall, in my sofa cushions, on my stove, under the fridge, the litter box.  It looked like a bird had died and been shredded.
All the evidence I needed.
I was not happy.
I surveyed the damage the little beast had done to my daffodils.
They looked alien.
Missing all of the petals, and just left with their trumpets, they looked like the were out of a moonscape and completely creepy.
I took them to work anyway and set them next to my recooperating spider plant.
And once again, this is the cat who will not eat anything other than her same old brand of dry cat food.
Tonight I found a petal under my pillow.
I've tried growing cat grass for her.  She downs it and then pukes up and down my hallway at an abnormally fast rate while make the plunger sound.  "Retch retch retchh heaaaaaaavvvvvvvvvve" And thirty seconds later "retch retch retch heeeeeeeeeeeeeeave."
So for now, my cat is trying to become a vegetarian.  It would sure make things cheaper if she'd just eat my leftovers.  She wouldn't like not being in charge, but it would make life easier.  Unfortunately for her, I don't eat daffodils.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Travel Time, Part 2 - The Sherpa and the Mel, The Sherpa and the Mel, Hi Ho the Derrio the Sherpa and the Mel (I have no idea what that means)

I proceeded with cat in the bag, and the rest of my stuff (I must have looked homeless with all the stuff I still had even after checking one bag) to go find the gate.  Naturally it was the one that was the farthest away.  Down two moving sidewalks, past the newsstands, and

I took the, erm, opportunity to bump my way through the Newstand and grab a bottle of water and some snacks so that I wouldn't starve to death on the flight to LA, which by the way takes longer than flying from DC to IRELAND.  It was at this time that I decided if and when I ever hopefully have children, I will be a horribly overly protective, bitch of a mother bear.  I kept Mel in her bag draped across the front of me messenger style, trying desperately to shield her from being bumped, poked, prodded, smashed, pushed, shoved and the like - much to my chagrin.  I felt like a football player with the ball.  (Not that I know what that feels like because I don't think I ever actually got to have the ball in any sport that I ever played.  But it's my perception of what that is like that made me purposely avoid the ball in 7 years of softball and 3 years of basketball.)  Not only were the aisles nonexistent, but no one cared that I had a live cat in the bag that could eat them alive should I decide to set her loose to perform her own act of wrath on everyone in the surrounding area.  They should have.

Armed with water (okay, yes, for both of us - here was the perfect opportunity to shrivel her up and give her payback and I couldn't bring myself to do it) and snacks (not for both of us - Mel likes to lick the salt off of Goldfish crackers, but, like Chinese food, she's not particularly fond of actually consuming them), we made our way to the gate.  And made our way to the gate.  And made our way to the gate some more.  And finally got to the gate.

I snatched up the first grouping of (middle) seats that I came to in the waiting area, placing Mel on one, and myself on the other, my airplane pillow, laptop, purse, and bag piled up into a fortress around us.  Hopefully we'd be left alone.  If anyone decided to object, I figured I would let Mel speak up for herself and they would quickly shut the eff up.  :)

Naturally not more than two minutes after we sat down, the traveler who had to be the most obnoxious person in the entirety of the airport and surrounding vicinity thumped down on the seat next to Mel.

And continued to readjust and thump on the seat next to Mel.  And finally THREW HER COAT ON TOP OF MEL'S CARRIER.

Now I admit, my little princess has a Sherpa bag and I am her Sherpa.

She does not have a plastic box to travel inside of.  She travels in style.  So MAYBE the woman didn't realize  that she had just THROWN HER COAT on top of my cat, but she was probably one of those people who wouldn't have cared anyway.

Being in the pissy mood I already was in, and having had two hours of bonding time sherpa-ing Mel at this point, I reached over and flung the COAT THAT SHE HAD THROWN on my cat back on her.

I did it somewhat subtley, but there is only so much subtlety when you are throwing someone's coat off of your cat and back onto them.

I proceeded to inform the woman, "My cat is in that bag, if you don't mind."

Mel punctuated my statement with a loud and rather resounding hiss which made the woman squirm, as well she should have.

She also wrinkled her nose at which point I wanted to throw a lifetime collection of cat hair on her and her coat, which had it been a fur one, would have been pointless and I would have started a lecture instead.  

Finally it was time to board the plane and Mel and I boarded priority.

What?  They do it for children.

The flight attendant eyed me as I approached.  Now here is where you have to understand something about my life.  People constantly think I'm the bratty teenage kid trying to break the rules.  I'm not, I just am usually the exception to the rule and I look ten years younger than I am.  I find that I fight this lack of respect from a good portion of the adult population on a fairly regular basis with adults saying things to me that I know they wouldn't dare have the audacity to say if I looked 26 and they saw me with makeup, in a business suit or if they heard me talk national security issues.  People constantly make me feel like I'm doing something wrong because of this.  Does it bother me?  Yes.  Do I go around in my life prepared for it?  Most of the time.

I handed my ticket to the attendant and said, "I have a cat and I'd like to get her settled in so that I don't have to clunk her around with everyone else, if that's alright with you please?"

Phew.  She agreed and let me board the plane with other parents and their unhappy children.

One of which we had the pleasure of sitting next to.  As mom came on I saw the top of a blond head periodically rising above the seats all the way down the aisle.  An unhappy, hyper child.  Fabulous.

Immediately he launched himself into the seat next to me and began jumping up and down as I sat glaring at and punching my Sudoku with the pencil.  After mom told him to sit, he began wildly swinging his legs in Mel's vicinity.

I snapped.  "Excuse me sweetie," (though sweetie was what I said, it came out sounding more like 'hey asshole'), "I have a kitty cat in that bag down there.  See?  And if you kick her, I'm going to have to kick you."

Mom looked at me appalled.  "Well he's just excited."
"Me too, but not about my cat being kicked."

And this was the beginning of an almost seven hour flight.

Mom assigned Dad (almost just as useless) to sit with Monster Child.

It took Dad six and a half hours, but shortly after the announcement that we would be landing shortly (and my elevated dramatic hand flourishes and checking on Mel and repeatedly asking his son to stop wildly swinging his legs, in addition to prolonged glares), I finally kicked the child's foot back and Dad spoke up.  To his son, not to me.  And yes, I really did.  The child was lucky I didn't strangle him silly by hour three.  At the end of the flight to make up for it, I gushed about how well behaved he had been for most of the flight.  Gag me.

I kept wondering what Mel was thinking with all the noise as we took off from D.C.  I wondered if she got that weird feeling where one feels as though they are being pulled apart as you hit certain points in take off and then suddenly feel light again.  Did the pressure changes confuse her?

And then I started to feel really guilty.

Here was my baby, pushing herself up against my feet so that she knew I was there.  Confined to her Sherpa bag all morning and now when it sounded like monsters were coming to get her and probably felt like it too with the occasional toddler foot hitting her bag.  Being jostled around, run into, clunked, having a COAT THROWN ON HER by a MORON, and now it sounded like the Red Dragon and the White Dragon were fighting and she was caught in the middle.  What had I done?  This was a horrible idea.

I took the next fifteen minutes convincing myself that I was a horrible pet owner, that I didn't deserve to have Mel in my life, that she was going to hate me forever, or worse - ignore me forever. Oh no, no, no, this wasn't good.

Having been explicitly reminded that pets must stay in their carriers under the seat and that carriers must stay closed at all times,  I unzipped the top and reached it to pet her.

Perhaps she had been vibrated to oblivion, but she didn't move except to lightly sniff my hand (probably because she reads my mind, and she knew that when I petted her and didn't get a reaction at first, I wondered if my cat was still alive in my rather dramatic moment of regret and contemplation of how a cat's body handles air pressure changes).

Overall, it's a great thing that I took Mel with me.  She did great on the way back too and TSA again let me know that I needed to "hold onto her tight.  We had one escape the other day."  Thank you.  You can let my cat be in charge of homeland security now methinks.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Travel Time, Part 1

It was 4:45 am when the cab pulled up in front of the condo.
Positive that all the stuff I was taking with me for two weeks outweighed myself, I was frantically shoving things into bags at the last minute - including Mel.
Much thought had gone into this process.  The night before I set up her soft carrier with towels and sprayed it with "Kitty Calm" - an overly priced supposed mixture of "calming" herbal water.  I was skeptical that I had spent $24.99 on a bottle of plain water, but I was desperate.
There were no tranquilizers in sight - Kitty Calm was my only weapon.
Now I have to admit too, I bought her a pheromone collar - also touted to calm her down.
In between frantically trying to pack (last minute of course) and realizing that I needed to take twice as much stuff (I normally travel with one backpack and everything fits in that backpack), I attempted to "collar" Mel with the pheromones.

I have news for the manufacturer, 'Happy Cat:'  Your calming collar doesn't work and my cat wasn't happy.

In fact, my cat nearly hung herself by jumping up on the dining room chair and somehow getting the collar stuck on a wayward heavy duty staple holding my table together (yes my table is from Walmart, will I own anything nice as long as I live in Mel's house? That's correct).
Slow motion unfolded as I saw Mel fitfully dangling, squirming and finally sliding through the collar to the floor, only to give an indignent shake, glare at the piece of metal and collar that had held her captive and begin a immediate process of sterilizing herself from head to toe for the next hour.
I was now convinced that the "Kitty Calm" spray was pure water.  I'd been hosed.
But enough, I had to get in some sleep.
My suitcase lay half packed on the floor.  Mel worked at unpacking it all night, one pair of socks at a time.  Which she would then delightfully chase around the room at maximum volume.  One of her favorite past times, though I don't think attacking socks has been covered yet in the blog.  It's especially fun when she attacks them while they're on your feet.
By the time 4:45 am came, I was (still) wide awake and couldn't wait to shove her in that carrier for the next 12 hours to get her back.
Now you have to take a minute to think about this process.
My suitcase was 49.7 pounds - I barely made it under the weight limit.
Then I had my laptop.
Then I had my purse.
Then I had Mel's delightful self.
I'm less than twice my suitcase's weight.
So first was the suitcase, down the stairs, then the laptop, then Mel and my purse.
The cab driver came to the door and generously helped me load my luggage (at two dollars a piece).
I held onto Mel and put her in the backseat next to me, hissing and growling and being her usual self.
The cab driver got in the car, "You haff dog wit you fo holeedays?"
"Oh cat. Charming cat."
She never stopped the whole way to the airport.
Well in all of this, there was no way to bypass checking in at the desk.
Health Certificate in hand, I waited in line behind the overly-made-up-at-5-am college chick, the couple who looked like they were not just going on a holiday trip but moving to wherever their (temporary) destination was, that couple's four children who were running around and rolling on the dirty tile floor like hoodlums (I didn't even want to put Mel on the floor - oh the loss of dignity), and the old man behind me who, when I finally gave up and did put Mel on the floor, was nice enough to tell me "Your bag is moving."
Aye aye, thank you very much Captain.
Finally I, Mel, the suitcase, the purse, the laptop, the photo ID, and the health certificate made it to the counter.
"Please check in on the computer," said the desk attendant in monotone.
"Hi, I'm traveling with a cat.  I've already checked into the computer from home and it directed me to come to the desk since I'm traveling with a pet."
"Please check in on the computer," the monotone responded.
So I did, "you are already confirmed on this flight."
"Fabulous, would someone like to see the health certificate for my cat?"
"Please take your bag down this long hallway, the length of three football fields to check it in."
"Right, but would you like to see the health certificate for my cat?"

Purse and laptop went back over one shoulder, Mel went over the other shoulder and somehow I managed to pull my suitcase along behind me (though I'm half convinced it pulled itself because I still can't figure out how I made it through the airport with that much stuff).

Next challenge: TSA.

As I approached agent number one I declared (as though declaring a gun in my glove compartment to a cop who just pulled me over) - "I am traveling with a cat!"

The agent didn't blink.

"What would you like me to do? Would you like to see her health certificate?"
"Get in line."
Into the line we went.
Agent number two: "I am traveling with a cat.  Would you like to see her health certificate?"
"You have a cat?"
"Yes sir."
"You are going to have to take her out of the bag."
Tempted to make a bad pun about letting my cat out of the bag, I refrained and explained that I wasn't entirely sure that was possible.
"Just let them know up there."
"Would you like to see her health certificate?"
"No, that's okay."
I wanted to say, "Yes you do. Somebody better ask me to see the gosh darned health certificate!"
In line.  Sans suitcase, but still with laptop, purse and Mel.
Out come liquids first in bin one.
Then shoes in bin two.
(No one is going to steal my shampoo or shoes, at least I hoped not, so they went first and yes, I think about these things, and yes I'm particular about which order my stuff goes through the machine.)
Bin number three was my laptop case.
Bin number four was the laptop.
Bin number five was my purse.
That left Mel and myself.
Again I declared my cat, the health certificate in my pocket.
"You gonna have to take her out and walk through with her."
"Uhhhh I don't want to hold up the line, but is there another way to conduct this? I'm not sure she's going to go for that."
"Just hold her tight."
"Uhhhh...... yeahhhhh???? Uhhhh she doesn't um......."
"Are You Telling Meeee, that You Can't Hold That Cat?!"
"Uhhh.l... okay.  Well, can we at least make sure her carrier gets through quickly so she doesn't remove my arm while it's being scanned?"
Crap. I was stuck.  All I could do was hope that she wasn't going to flip.
A moment of calm descended upon me.
In fluid movements, I unzipped the carrier.
I grabbed the cat.
I shoved her head into my armpit.
I ran as fast as I could on my tip toes (no shoes = gross) through the metal detector.
TSA Agent #5 met me with the carrier, which Mel gladly jumped into.
Still in fighter mode, I got my liquids back in my bag, my shoes back on my feet, the laptop back in the case, Mel was back in her carrier - and then I swore there were angels singing somewhere and a bright white light descending upon Reagan National Airport.
Mel, I, and all the TSA agents had survived Mel going through security in my arms.
Cue overture.
Now I just needed someone to look at the coveted health certificate that I, the tech, and the vet had nearly spilled blood for.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

"We're going to muzzle her"

Famous last words.

On the Saturday, a week before Christmas.  Mel and I journeyed across the street to the kitty doctor so that her health certificate could be issued for the flight (which by the way, not a soul asked me for during our travels).

Mel, not surprisingly, is a wee bit un-normal in the sense that she generally likes her cat carrier - it's soft and cozy and dark, she can get away from humans and it feels safe to her I think.  Sometimes I wish I could crawl into one to get away from her.

So without incident, she crept into her carrier and out the door, down the stairs and into the car we went.

The cat hospital is literally across the street so after a short hip hop and a bump over, we arrived.

I carried her in and sat her down on the floor so that she could see my feet.  She was utterly silent, which caused me to say to the receptionist - "You know, she's being so quiet that I'm actually concerned."

I filled out the forms and we sat on the bench with homemade bench cushions in cartoon kitty print.  It didn't take long for the growling and hissing to begin.

I looked into her carrier and saw her glaring at the wall.  I looked to my right and saw the reason.

There were three hand-painted, very realistic kitties on the wall and Mel had taken an instant dislike to the 2D felines which were clearly a threat to her territory.

We were the only ones in the waiting area (praise be) and so I let her do her thing.  Her carrier began violently moving as the tech came in and cheerily said, "Well hhhelllllooooooo!!! Is this Miss Melody?"

We carried the cat in the bag back to the exam room.  As the bag bounced up and down and rolled on the table, nearly falling off, the tech took down basic information.

The bag was now spitting and he looked at me, I smiled pleasantly like a mother with a child who won't stop screaming in the middle of a store.
"So, how does this normally go then?"
"Well, she's only been to the vet once since I've had her and this is the normal."
"Is she better with a towel?  You holding her?"
I pointed out my big bulky sweater and let him know that it was no accident that I had worn it.
"I'll hold her," I volunteered.
He tried to flick the top zipper open and nearly lost a finger, sputtered a bit, and said he would go get the doc and be back.

Meanwhile, while waiting for the vet and the tech to come back, Mel decided she was going to take on the world and leapt out of the carrier onto the exam counter and into my arms.

With her head buried in my arm she continued hissing, spitting, growling and making a general fool of herself.

Shortly after, the doc came in the room along with the tech.
"HIIIII kitty,"  she cheerily said, "Merry Christmas!!"
Hiss.  Spit.  Growl.  Spit.
"Oookay.  Happy Kwanzaa then!"  I liked this veterinarian.  Alot.

^ what Mel looked like.

After 20 minutes of getting absolutely no where with this and a scene much like this one, with Mel reigning victorious, the tech left the room.

By now Mel had crawled under the chair where she was still sounding like a dying, sputtering car with all the spitting she was doing.

The tech reemerged from the back...

"Do you think you can get her out of there? Or do you want one of us to do it?"
I chuckled, "I'm used to this abuse.  This is her normal.  Really, it's okay.  It's an abusive relationship to the truest extent."

I reached down and pulled her out by the scruff.  "Look at momma go!!" said the vet.

Mel sounded something like this:

(I just played this over 30 times to get her back for Saturday - she is now a hot mess trying to figure out where the heck the other cat in the room is).  = )

Anyway, as soon as she was on the counter, they threw a towel over her and after about 15 seconds of realizing that wasn't going to work, the tech pulled out a muzzle and said, "we're going to muzzle her."

A piece of me died.

Muzzle.  A dreaded word to any pet owner.  Especially a CAT owner.

My little baby...sniff (cue violin music) little baby girl was going to have to have a muzzle.  But muzzles were for dogs and other vicious creatures.

They put the muzzle over her head.  She looked like this:

My little darling was now akin to Hannibal Lecter.  Sigh.

I must have had a thoroughly defeated look on my face because at this point the vet told me not to feel bad - this happens all the time.

At this point I asked about sedatives.  And I learned that cats have a fight or flight instinct that is so strong that the sedatives can often have the opposite affect.  Was I willing to risk that?  Absolutely not.  The vet recommended throwing a towel over her carrier and including a favorite toy that smelled like home.  Mel generally seems to think my appendages are her toys and I wasn't about to include a finger or a toe in her carrier, so I bought her an extra strong catnip toy hoping I could legally drug her.

We made it through the exam with the vet doing the best she could.

"She seems to be in great health.  The look I got at her teeth when she hissed in my face seems like she's in good shape there too."

Back out in the waiting room we were the spectacle.

"Oh my!" said an innocent bystander, "your cat is not very happy."

I love during tense moments when strangers state the obvious to you about something which you can do nothing about.  IE- Your cat is not happy, your child is crying, your dog just pooped on my lawn, etc.  Yes, thank you very much.  I'm well aware.  I have little to no control over the situation.  I am doing the best I can. You can have my cat/child/dog.

"Yes, she's a real peach," I replied.  Peach was close to the other five letter word that ended in ch.

The bag spit and hissed at this point  and the woman took a step in the opposite direction.  I smiled on the inside.  Even when I think she's not on my side, she comes through for me.

We paid and left - glorified with a health certificate and the super strong scented special cat nip toy.  "I hope she doesn't think I'm rewarding her horrific behavior," I said to the receptionist as she handed over the drugged pillow.