Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'm really at a loss...

Lately, Mel has developed a new routine.  One in which she likes to "sleep" under the covers with me.  (By "sleep" I mean that I don't really fall asleep under these circumstances - it involves me staying awake to try not to disturb - i.e. lose an arm or other appendage - the cat).
I'm not really a fan of being tickled by whiskers in places that whiskers shouldn't be.  
I'm less of a fan of getting prodded by a cold nose under my warm covers.  
And most of the time I feel like there is a shark under the covers with me.  
But it is the ultimate form of approval and love that Mel wants my attention and she wants to cuddle!!  And how can I possibly say no!?  And how often does Mel want to cuddle - never.  So I just can't resist when she shows affection.  
When I sleep, I cocoon myself with the blankets, so Mel jumps up and nudges all around my face with her cold nose and whiskers trying to find a way under the sheets.  Yes, much like a dog.
Finally I give in and lift up the covers so that she can crawl under.  Generally she will either curl up next to me spoon style (yes my cat and I spoon when she doesn't have a headache) or she will lay with her paws towards me at the same "level" against me, and proceed to knead.  Whatever is there.  Ahem.  
It's quite awkward.  
I admit that I am attention starved to receive such approval and loving gestures from my cat.  They don't come that often.  
But....I wish that she would find a place to knead that isn't limits?  It's certainly the most action I've seen in a while. Yikes. 
Sometimes I reach over and scoot her up the bed a little bit but that ends with my face being mercilessly kneaded.  She's not a gentle little thing.  It feels like she is punching my face.  At least there's some padding in other places...?
Not really.  
You know those people that stand waiting for the elevator and keep jabbing their finger into the call button as if it is going to make the elevator get there faster?  And as more and more time goes by, they hit the button harder and more violently?  That is what Mel feels like during this routine.  It's not cool.  Thank God she doesn't have claws.  That would be the equivalent of brass knuckles.
She uses me as an emotional punching bag and now as a physical punching bag.  
I'm just not sure what to do about this.  
I try to get her to stop.  I put my hand on her paws and move them away, but she just keeps going.  I've tried putting a pillow between us and she tries to nudge under the pillow.  Rolling over sometimes works in the way of I get stabbed in the back, but generally she will walk over top of me to get to my front side.  She's like a dude.  
If you've ever seen a female cat knead, you know that they can get really into it.  Our cat that we had for years, Pretty (I named her when I was 3, give me a break), used to chew on a blanket, drool all over and purr at the same time.  There was no stopping her.  She looked rabid.  Mel is just about the same way.
There are mixed theories on kneading.  Some say it's because the kitten was weaned too late.  Some say it's because the kitten was weaned too early.  Some say it's a nesting thing. 
Whatever it is, I'd love to know what she is thinking. 
Is she looking at me as her mother figure?  If so, I think we are in the teenage phase when the teenager knows everything but still needs mom and just doesn't really know it. 
It creeps me out.  I definitely think of Mel on an equal plane.  
**Correction: I wouldn't dare assume that Mel is anything other than my intellectual and emotionally developed equal.**
But when she exhibits this behavior I just see her as a vulnerable little cuddlebug who just wants to be loved. 
And that right there ladies and gentlemen, is precisely why my cat runs my household.  
                                          Mel at a bad time in her life.... after a bath.


Suitcases and Coffee Breath

Another week of shenanigans gone by.
My dad - of the "one toke over the line" fame from a previous entry was visiting again.
Well previously, long ago and far away, Mel at one time (before she had accepted him) had peed in his suitcase during a visit.
My father has never recovered.
So now when he visits, he not only places his suitcase up off the floor, but he usually closes it and then shuts it into my spare room (which does not contain a bed) just for good measure.  Just so that there is NO POSSIBLE WAY for Mel to pee in his suitcase ever again.
I've tried to explain to him that she's over it now.  That was a long time ago and they've since bonded and that shouldn't happen again unless her litter boxes are dirty, then a suitcase is the next best place.  Who can blame her?  And yes, I feel that I should notate here that my cat has two litter boxes.  She's very picky.  One is for number one and one is for number two, and don't you dare try to pull a switch on her, she's got it all figured out. I tried toilet training her at one point.  I think it's a crock of crap (no pun intended), but I may try again shortly.
Anyway, dad is totally nuts about Mel ruining his suitcase and everything in it, for good reason.
So on our way out of the house on Sunday to go to church at 10:30am, dad shuts the door to the spare room.
At 8 pm when we return from a full day of activity, Mel doesn't greet us at the door.
Nor was she sitting at the top of the stairs after sneaking out underfoot.
Nor was she locked out on the balcony.
Shrieks, growls and yowls were coming from.... the spare room.
Dad said something on the order of "crap!" and went to go open the door.  Out pops Mel, happy as ever that we were home.
Dad couldn't even bring himself to go in the room.
He came straight back out to the living room visibly upset that the cat had spent all day with another suitcase that had no doubt become a victim too.
So I went into the room.  I found, that while Mel had made a nice little bed out of his dress shirts, in fact there were no "accidents" - I'm not sure if accident is a proper word to use with Mel - everything was in order and perfectly fine except for his wrinkled and furry shirts.
Pleasant surprise.
My baby girl is growing up!! :)
Dad couldn't believe it - there was simply no way THAT cat had spent the day locked in a room with his suitcase and not ruined it.  But it happened.
Now why the change in heart?  Well one, I think Mel has matured.  Two, I think she finally realizes that this is her permanent home and she doesn't have to be a little b*tch all the time.  Three, Dad and Mel have this bonding routine.
And Dad insists on going through it everytime he visits.
Before I get into this weirdness, you must know that my father is truly an animal lover and animals love him.  Growing up I remember Dad getting chipmunks to jump in his hand, deer would come right up on our back deck in Colorado while he stood there and talked to them, there were rescued opossums, raccoons, bunnies, ducks, grackles, tarantulas, shrews, and other wildlife of every manner.  He's a special guy and animals know that.
Except Mel.
So Dad has attempted to "bond" with Mel through feeding her, playing with her, talking to her, paying attention to her, ignoring her, pestering her, etc.
The only thing that has worked is something so strange I almost hesitate to make it public knowledge, but it's also hysterical and I can't pass up an opportunity to provide a smile.
The routine consists of Dad getting down on his hands and knees to get closer to Mel's level.
When anyone gets down on Mel's level she will sit, curious, but just out of reach so that you can't grab her.
So she sits and stares at my father who proceeds to baby talk her and then.... breathes in her face.
I have no idea where this notion came from except that Mel is mouthy when she's pissed off and has a general affinity for coffee breath and mint toothpaste, and I think it started from Dad pretending to hiss back at her and being the sadist that she is, she enjoyed it and stuck her nose in his face.  SO now Dad "bonds" with the cat by breathing in her face.  She sits there and sniffs at him to check him out and tolerates him being just outside of her space, which is about as close as anyone gets.
During the course of my father's visit we had a discussion in which I said I was convinced I'm adopted.  After all, I like Halloween and my parents don't.  I like hazelnut coffee and my parents don't.  I like pumpkin bread and pumpkin pancakes and my parents don't.  Of course if you've ever met one of my parents and me at the same time, it's not like the obvious resemblance is very clear.  Well in the course of watching my dad breathe in my cats face, the thought again crossed my mind that maybe, just maybe, I'm adopted.

Last night I came home from work and planted myself on my couch.  Mel has been learning to retrieve, and while the retrieving part hasn't been going so well, she will bring me her toy mouse to get things going.  So last night I threw the mouse which ended up next to the laundry room door frame.  Mel went after the mouse full throttle (we are talking flying leap off of the couch), flipped it back up in the air, still going at full speed, and somersaulted right into the door frame.  At the point of impact she was actually upside down.
I felt like I was watching a cartoon.  She sort of slid down the frame, landing on her head and rolled back end over front end back to a horizontal position.  She sort of wobbled, picked herself up and shook the stars out of her eyes and then just sat there and looked at me like - "that was your fault."
It's these vulnerable moments where I feel comfortable enough to let my cat know that I love her, and I don't feel like I'll get burned.
I scooped her up and she totally played up her injuries (I don't think she had a concussion because I think she's been in a permanent state of being concussed since I adopted her....ahem).  Once her brain function had recharged to its normal level she bit me, hissed out of no where, and jumped down onto the floor to go do whatever it is that Mel does when I'm not watching (lately I think this is organizing my purse collection in my closet - or at least laying on them and squishing them into an un-useful shape).