Happy post-holiday hangover! The holidays were pretty easy this year. My parents hosted Christmas Eve so I didn’t have to move much. My mom’s side of the family (my dad’s side doesn’t come because they live in Maine and they’re Jewish, duh) is SO LOUD. I had to retreat to my room at one point to meditate and decompress because it was so goddamn loud. I had a lot of fun playing with my parent’s kitten, though. She’s so energetic!
Though my mom might be Catholic, we still pretty much celebrate Christmas like Jews. We have the morning presents and relaxing and then go to the movies and out to eat Chinese food. We ended up seeing La La Land which was So So Painfully Bad. Apologies to Pasek and Paul, but the music wasn’t memorable and the storyline, though not their fault, was horrifically cliche. The opening number really had nothing to do with anything and was so terribly awkward I wanted to shrink down in my seat and die.
I traveled back to the city with my mom on Monday and J and I met my friend Elliot and his girlfriend to see the [random] matinee of The Encounter, which was again a wonderful experience and all enjoyed it. Today I am getting back to yoga at my studio and trying to finish up a quick book. I’m allowing myself to eat and drink whatever I want this week, within reason, until New Year’s Day. Because… new year, new start? Then I’m reigning it in. Back to not drinking more than one day a week and cooking.
And I’ll be entering lots of ticket lotteries this week with my partner in crime, @endotique. Who never posts on Tumblr anymore and really should, right guys?
Here’s to a week of freedom before new beginnings.
The Newest Family Member
No, I did not rescue a kitten. I wish. But my parents did and I got to meet her when I was at their house on Sunday for Rosh Hashana. Meet Dani: She is 7 weeks old and she was found with two siblings underneath a dock on Long Island. I bought her a couple of toys – including the one with the feathers that she’s playing with up there. It’s a motion-activated toy that makes a tweeting sound when she moves it. She loves it but my parents will probably not thank me for introducing it into her life. Whatever. Playbill has one, too!
She’s very sweet and will run around and then promptly fall asleep on you or whatever she can reach that’s soft to land on. She does a mean Firefox pose already, right?
But, seriously, I want to rescue a kitten. Someday.
The Unexpected Side Effect of New Furniture
When I started gathering boxes and piling books into them last week, I had no idea my cat would notice. Cats are said to sleep most of the time, and eat the rest of the time. But on Wednesday night, as shelves kept being cleared, I noticed Playbill becoming more and more anxious. Then I noticed her dandruff.
Cats produce dandruff when they’re nervous (hence why cats at pet adoption events often don’t look as nice and clean as they could – they’re stressed out and nervous!) and Playbill definitely had some dandruff going on.
Although she couldn’t understand me, I told her that we were just getting a new couch and no one was going anywhere. But obviously, she didn’t understand and she was on guard through Thursday. All I could imagine was that the last time she probably saw packing boxes was the time she was scooped up and taken to Anjellicle Cats to be put up for adoption (seriously, who moves and can’t take their pets with them? I don’t understand people). Maybe not. Maybe she just really, really, really wanted to know what was going on because she didn’t understand.
It’s safe to say that I didn’t expect this small anxiety to be included in the process of getting a new couch. Playbill had a tiny bit of dandruff for the rest of the weekend but it’s mostly gone now. Thankfully.
Remember your furry sidekicks next time you’re re-arranging your apartment have no idea what the fuck is going on. And give them extra treats and love.
Playbill has taken up residence in the corner next to the window and she’s feeling back to herself now, as evidenced by this photo:
Here she is keeping the package that my jeans came in warm. She’s so thoughtful.
When I had toyed with the idea of adopting a cat, I thought I’d get one that loved to be picked up, would sit on my lap all the time (even though this would, after sometime, get annoying), and love to have her belly rubbed. Basically a cat that was really affectionate.
I’m pretty sure I could tell that Playbill was none of those things when I went to have a one-on-one play session with her at Petco before she came home to my apartment. I mean, maybe it was the fact that I was a stranger and she wasn’t doing well living in a box at Petco, or it was just her personality not to run up to you and jump into your arms. But she’d stuck her paw out of the cage at J and I the previous Sunday and she really needed a good home. And she was so fucking cute.
So, I couldn’t say no. And home with me she came.
I kept thinking that was she still depressed when she wouldn’t sit on my lap and always liked to sit on the chair across from where I usually sit in my living room. She usually slept a lot. She basically acted like a skeptical, stand-offish cat. I remember telling my therapist these things and he said, “It sounds like she acts like her owner.” How rude! But true. Touche.
Cat with sass on her favorite bag.
Almost four months in and she still won’t sit on my lap – aside from the couple of times that I dared to sit in her chair. She came up to me and pawed at my stomach until I got up – shaming me, I guess, to get out of her chair.
Sleeping in said chair.
And she doesn’t love to be picked up. She’s gotten a little better, but she really doesn’t love it. She’ll let me pick her up for a few seconds, to appease me, I suppose, and then she’ll start squirming and jump if I don’t put her down first.
She still won’t sleep on my bed with me. She’ll lay in the corner of my bed with me while I read and then once I turn the lights out, she’s gone. Her job is done so she can leave, I suppose? There are hedgehogs and fish to be hunted in the living room. Very important.
And her belly? Usually off limits, but she’s sometimes willing to compromise on that. If she’s rolling around on my bed playing with a toy and I start rubbing her belly. About 60% of the time she’ll swat at me, but sometimes she’ll let me give her a belly rub with a look on her face that says, “Okay, fine, just this once. But make it quick. OK, that’s enough. God, the things I do to make you happy.”
So, she’s not the cat that I envisioned myself adopting, but she’s the one who won me over and she’s 8 (48 in human years) so I can’t change her. I could torture her and try to get her to act a certain way that I think she should act towards me, but that’ll make her miserable and in return, I’ll be miserable, too.
So, the only thing to do is accept her for the kind of cat she is. She’s not super affectionate and doesn’t like being picked up, but she’s adorable and I love her, so who she is is just fine.
This mindset also applies to people. If someone isn’t acting the way you’d like them to, they don’t have to change, but you do. Otherwise your attempts to manipulate and shame them into acting how you want will be met with anger and brick walls. I think this is something that a lot of people won’t accept or acknowledge. We’d all be a lot happier if we did though. That’s for damn sure.
To end this on a positive note, here’s another picture of my adorable stand-offish cat:
For better or for worse, I usually do my morning and evening meditations sitting on my meditation pillow on my bed. Different meditation experts say different things about whether or not it’s good to meditate where you sleep, but screw it. It works for me and if it works for you too, have at it.
It’s been an interesting time for the last almost two weeks adjusting to coexisting with another living creature. Cats are weird because they need you sometimes and want nothing to do with you other times. Don’t get me wrong: that’s a good thing.
I digress. The one time Playbill (my cat) seems to always want me is whenever I’m meditating. I’m not sure if it’s because she’s wondering where the voice of my meditation MP3 is coming from and she absolutely-must-investigate-it-now or if that’s just what she likes to do. I haven’t gotten through a single session without opening at least one eye once because she jumps on the bed or mews (I still haven’t come to terms with the fact that cats just meow, for anything or nothing, and it doesn’t always mean something’s wrong).
I’m sure I’ll figure out how to circumvent this issue eventually, right? Right.
My New Roommate
I’d like to introduce the cat I rescued a week ago. I’ve named her Playbill. She’s a small 8-year-old tuxedo cat that I met at a pet adoption event at Petco with an organization called Anjellicle Cats two weeks ago. When J and I met her, she stuck her paw out of the cage at us and we melted. She’d been living in Petco for the last month and was becoming depressed and on a hunger strike. I went back to play with her a few days later at Petco in a stress-free environment (i.e. there weren’t 200 people walking in and out) and I said FINE, I’ll adopt her. This was such a big decision because I’m 100% indecisive, always. After attending the required “new pet adopters” seminar the following Sunday, I paid the adoption fee and asked if they could drop her off the next night.
A woman from the organization came by last Monday with her in a carrier and let her out and she instantly started running around and sniffing. She hopped on the couch and tried burrowing into the pillows. She ran under the couch and the bed (she cleaned under my bed by pushing out all of the dust bunnies, so thank you, kitty) for a bit.
J met her (again) on Thursday night when he came over and she is not afraid of strangers at all. Various friends met her on Saturday afternoon and she sat said her hellos and then just watched us from afar.
On Saturday J and I went to Petco and bought a scratching post, a bed, a brush, and a couple of toys to go with the ones that my mom sent a few days earlier. (Her favorite toy is still the catnip-filled hedgehog that I bought for her on Thursday!) She figured out what her bed was for in less than a day and claimed a pillow on my couch. She knows how to use her litter box perfectly and I applause whenever I see her using it (positive reinforcement, right?). She eats a ton and runs around the apartment and hasn’t scratched anything yet (knock on wood).
On her first night, she woke me up once; on the second night she won’t me up twice and I got up to make sure everything was okay. I emailed Anjellicle to make sure her behavior was normal (it was) and they said, “This is her way of checking to make sure her new human is still there. When she meows at night, she’s saying, ‘New human, are you still there, new human?’” Awe. So, now if she meows in the middle of the night, I tell her I’m still here and that’s the end of it. She hasn’t woken me up in the last three nights though, so that’s nice (again, knock on wood).
So overall, I’d say this was a great decision. It’s nice having an animal around and, as you can, she’s super adorable.
My friend Ben put it best on Saturday why he, and myself as well, likes cats: “I realize that most of my friends are like cats. They want your attention sometimes, but not all the time like dogs do. If you had a friend that needed your attention 24/7, you’d stop being friends with that person.”
Kitten Sitting & What I Learned
What did I learn while kitten sitting this weekend? Kittens are a lot of work. Not a lot of work like a puppy-amount-of-work (because you don’t have to walk them and they’re smarter than dogs and a bit more independent), but they’re kind of crazy. They run and jump on everything, and when you’re not looking they show up behind your feet and you could step on them (but you don’t because they’ll yell at you first). Or they could run under a mat on the floor (see above – I think that’s her best bitch, please face) and it just kind of looks like it’s a bump in the mat, until you realize: oh, it’s a kitten.
I wondered if Miko the Kitten wasn’t eating because she would never eat when I’d put her food out, but then a friend said, “No! It’s not food time when you’re there, it’s play time!” Oh, yeah. Duh. I also realized that her food was always gone when I got back again so it’s not like she wasn’t eat at all.
Kittens are also very talkative. Miko talked… a lot. I’m not sure I could handle a pet who mewed so much. It’s adorable, but I’m not a heavy sleeper, so I’d probably get woken up by the slightest mew. I also spent moments here and there trying to remember whether or not I had re-closed the bathroom door (I always did) or if she had fallen into the toilet. I don’t think she’s small enough to drown in the toilet, but still…. That wouldn’t be fun to come home to.
But… BUT… despite the mewing and the crazy energy, they are so, so cute. She was 4lbs of furry adorableness that I had a great time playing with her. I’m going to check out some kittens at the ASPCA when I get back from Scandinavia, but I think I’ll look at ones that are 6 months to a year old, and not four months old. Because the older they are, the less likely they will be to drown in the toilet.