Be the solution

True to genetics and my heritage, I’m becoming a mad cat lady. Okay, it’s just two cats, and one is only visiting with Roxy while she’s home for the summer, but even the best eccentrics have to start somewhere.

Clearly I have a way to go, as my mother had more than 30 cats in her prime. I should probably explain: they were not technically her cats, they were fostered for a cat rescue society who blackmailed her into taking them…

Oh you’ve got all that land that would be perfect for cat pens“, they said…

We’ll have to put them all down if you won’t take them“, they said…

Do you want the deaths of all those innocent cats on your conscience?“, they said. (I may have made this last bit up, but it was certainly what they were thinking, and definitely what they implied.)

And that is how my parents found themsleves unexpectedly awash with cats – much to the dismay of my poor, patient, indulgent father.

But, to get back to my own cat situation, one of the most distressing parts of the feline presence is the hunting. I know, I know, it’s what cats are supposed to do … but as one of the cats is a tiny princess and the other is the size of a pony I honestly thought the small creatures of the neighbourhood could rest safe.

As it turns out, the local rodents actually are quite safe, because both cats are bringing a steady stream of live mice into the house and depositing them to frolic wherever they fancy. Apparently it’s a win-win; the cats get live-in playmates and the mice get nice cushy digs out of the elements. And we get to lie abed and listen to the joyful mews of cats shrieking “ready or not, here I come” (translated for you from the feline), and then enjoy a front row seat for the chase around our bedroom.

Now I may have this wrong, but I though cats were supposed to help solve a mouse problem, not create one.

My solution has been to lock the cats inside at suppertime. It’s a good system, because they’re not keen enough on their nightly jaunts to forego their dinner; but it does mean we have to endure them pacing like caged lions all evening, and throwing me filthy looks. Worth it in the balance, I think.

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My Fearless Protector

I have written before about my rather pathetic, and completely fearful dog, but this week she has excelled herself.

Before going on, I should explain that she has a doggy door which leads out onto a platform in the side yard, from which she then has to jump down about 3 feet to the ground.

I have noticed in the last few days that she has been standing on this platform, barking like a mad thing, which is unusual. Normally she goes out into the back yard and tears up and down barking ferociously at passing dogs, secure in the knowledge that they are safely the other side of a dog-proof fence.

So why is she staying up in the side yard? It turns out a coyote has been frequenting the park just behind our house. Clearly this is not something that can be tolerated and she feels the need to deliver a loud and persistent warning. But, not wanting to get carried away by bravado, she apparently decided to deliver the warning from the safety of her platform. That way, if necessary, she can bid a hasty retreat to the safety of her mummy’s protection.

They say it’s good to get a big dog for protection. How’s that supposed to work, again?

Psycho Puppy

I’ve written about Megs here before, but usually in the context of glorious trips to the dog park or the joys of canine company.

Sadly, our dog park days have come to an end with the advent of a new phase in her life. My sweet, slightly nervous and completely neurotic pooch has suddenly started wantonly attacking other dogs. It began quite suddenly, and for no apparent reason, and now we can’t go anywhere we might encounter another dog.

But wait … it’s even worse than that. She mostly only attacks black dogs. Yes, I’m harbouring a racist under my roof. I can’t imagine where it came from – she certainly didn’t learn it from me. I’ve sat her down and tried to talk it out, but she is neither forthcoming with an explanation nor remotely contrite.

This isn’t the first time she’s demonstrated a complete disregard for social courtesies  – when my neighbour put up a ‘please stay off the grass’ sign and then claimed it was primarily aimed at the neighbourhood dogs she comletely ignored it; acted like she couldn’t even read it. But that’s a whole other story.

So, what’s gone wrong? Hubby is determined she’s jealous of the cat, which we accidentally acquired this spring. Her loathsome previous owner was moving house and decided that, as she couldn’t take the cat, she would just take her out to the country and have someone shoot her. I voted for shooting the *!#@$*!’ing owner instead, but I was outvoted. The upshot is that of course we rescued the cat, but Hubby said she could only come home with us if she returned to Vancouver with Roxy at the beginning of term. Which was definitely the plan until we realized she would be lonely and miserable all on her own in an apartment all day. Hubby is now convinced that we duped him with a pre-meditated and despicable deception. He would love it if the cat was causing Megs’ psychotic episode.

In the meantime she’s clearly ticked at the lack of walkies, and follows me round exacting her revenge with an array of gastric emissions that are, I assume, usually vented at the park. Right now we could both use some fresh air.

Marvin The Terrible

My home is being terrorized by a creature so awful that it even strikes fear into the heart of our intrepid guard dog, Megs.

We’ve been plagued by this horror, intermittently, for years now.

It might stay awake for weeks at a time, but its return always presages a day of cowering and abuse for poor Megs.  The abuse, I might add, is accidental and if she’d spend less time glued to my legs she’d also spend less time getting tripped over and shut in doors.

The beast is called Marvin.  He’s a woodpecker.

woodpecker pic

Marvin sits on our roof pecking all day on the metal chimney flue.  Goodness knows what Megs thinks it is, but the sound of beak on metal reverberating through the house leaves her paralyzed with terror.

Why does Marvin do this?  Can he honestly think our chimney is a tree?  We’re not sure, but I’m fairly certain he can’t still be expecting a bug.  I suppose it could be some sort of amplified mating ritual, but I have a strong suspicion that tormenting Megs is how the local woodpecker delinquents get their kicks.

I like to feel that Megs would rush fearlessly to my defense against intruders, marauders or even a zombie apocalypse.  But everyone has their limits and arboreally challenged woodpeckers, apparently, is hers.

It’s Easy to See Who’s in Charge Here

Once again we woke up to 6″ of snow this morning. It causes hell on the roads, but it does make the place look pretty.  At least as you’re sitting in gridlocked traffic you can admire the snowy whiteness all around you.

As usual I stopped at the dog park on the way home from dropping Hoss at school, although on days like this I know the walk may be truncated.  Megs gets little balls of compacted snow stuck between the pads of her paws, causing her to launch into full drama queen mode, limping pathetically around until she feels she’s adequately conveyed the full horror of her plight – and received a sufficient amount of sympathy.

This morning the walk was even shorter than I expected; after about 10 minutes, she just turned around and headed back to the car.  She spared me one backward glance that clearly said “I don’t know what your plans are, but I’m done”.

Sadly, she forgot to grab the car keys so I was forced to follow her back rather than leaving her to sit forlornly by a locked car, like Lassie only less noble.

The Canine Drama Queen

As if I don’t have enough drama in my life with three teenagers, I am blessed with a dog with theatrical abilities that would make Lassie jealous.

This morning we had to brave frigid temperatures and about 3″ of snow at the dog park, but undaunted we grabbed a ball and a chuck-it and off we went.

In conditions such as these her paws tend to get gummed up with great balls of ice between the pads, but I know from past experience that she’s quite capable of letting me know.  True to form this morning she ran for a while and then suddenly she tucked her tail between her legs, hung her head and hobbled back to me with a look of tragic suffering on her face.  I asked her if her paws were sore and she rolled over onto her back so that she could show me the extent of the damage.

Those little balls of snow don’t pick out easily – they melt much more readily.  So I said to the poor stricken creature “Okay, let’s go back to the car then”.  At which she bounced up, with tail a wagging and ears a perking, and frolicked back to the car with all the energy and enthusiasm of a puppy.

And I thought I suffered from mood swings!