I love my kitties. I dream of a house full of happy, purring cats that play, eat, sleep — and reliably use either a cat box or the great outdoors. But for the third time, we have a cat that is breaking the rules, and I will not keep a cat that uses the house as a litterbox.
Tomorrow, I must say goodbye to my deskmate, Archie: our big, soft, lazy, always-indoors, purring, attention-demanding, striped boy. For reasons known only to himself, he’s decided that deep-pile carpet is the place to go. He’s happy, and the litterboxes are plentiful; but he’s developed a preference for carpet, and research and experience indicate that he isn’t likely to change.
I’d give up our two dogs in a heartbeat (I only tolerate them, and will never voluntarily have another). I love cats so much, and yet I must let another one go. It’s hugely unfair, and I am heartbroken.
Here are a few items that you’ll absolutely want to invest in — I’m placing my orders today.
From Archie McPhee: Squirrel Underpants!
“Are you sick and tired of squirrels running naked in the trees around your house? Have you had to hide your children’s eyes when a tiny furry streaker crosses the sidewalk in front of you? We’ve got the answer, Squirrel Underpants. All you have to do is catch a squirrel, restrain him carefully, slide on a pair of tiny tighty-whiteys and then let him go. Each pair of 100% cotton briefs is “Proudly Made in America” and features a 2″ waist and a tail hole cut in the back. Help the squirrels hide their nuts for the winter!”
Also from Archie McPhee, a Dog to Unicorn Transformation Kit!
“This is not a costume. This is a kit to completely transform your beloved pug or beagle from a cute canine to the ultimate unicorn. It includes screw-in horn, hoof attachments, medical grade glue, peroxide, mane fur, a tail and a handful of glitter! Just peroxide the color out of your dogs hair and attach the fur and accessories with glue. Once you have the horn in place (Dremel not included) your beloved pooch will be ready to accompany you to fairyland. Please specify size of dog when ordering. Not legal in California, New Mexico and part of Maine.”
And of course, no household like mine, where cats run rampant, can be complete without several of these handy gadgets:
The kids and I went to the animal shelter thinking of bringing home a male kitten named Randall. Instead, I’m delighted to introduce our new little girl: Alice.
When we were at the shelter it was clear that she was the one for us: outgoing, friendly, and curious about the world. She’s about three months old and tiny (especially compared to our other cats). Her left side is entirely white; her right side, her back, her face, and the underside of her back feet have a few random splotches of tan and grey — and her tail is entirely calico, as if some other cat’s tail was attached to her by accident.
The other cats reacted as we expected: with shock and horror that we would bring this Vile Thing into the house. They took turns hanging around, 15 feet away or so, watching her with suspicion, and occasionally coming closer to hiss and generally act silly.
Once Alice got comfortable she started skittering around the room with her tail puffed up, doing her best crazy-kitten romp.
After a long of evening of playing and exploring she finally went to sleep for a little while. When we went to bed, though, she began crying, so I brought her up with us; she slept a few hours and spent a few other hours mewing, purring loudly, and playing with my hands and face. I think I did sleep a little at some point… But all our kittens have done this on their first night (they’re in a big, new, strange place, after all), and tonight she’ll be more confident in her surroundings.
I almost forgot to explain her name. When we chose a female kitten, the kids and I had no name ready. As I filled out adoption paperwork, we sifted through possibilities from our favorite movies, but nothing clicked. Then my son suggested Alice, for the heroine zombie-killer in the Resident Evil trilogy (which he finished watching yesterday — for more about that, see my Movies page). Our new kitten seems like a kick-butt, take-no-prisoners sort of girl, I like Milla Jovovich, and the name also could be from Alice in Wonderland or even Alice Cooper, so Alice it is. 🙂
My birthday is a month away, but I’m getting my present early. As soon as my kids are home from school on Tuesday, we’ll head to the animal shelter and choose a new kitten.
We’d like to get a white kitten, to fill out our color set, but they’re relatively rare. Some variety of tabby is more likely. And the most important factor by far is personality. Our four cats have all found their way into our homes by virtue of being outgoing and friendly — they came to us, rather than us forcing ourselves on them. Now, as adults, they’re always around us, purring and lying on our laps and asking to be held or petted. When we enter the visiting room at the shelter to meet whatever kittens are available for adoption, we’ll be waiting for the little guy who immediately makes his way over to climb our legs and express his fervent desire to be Our Cat, purring all the while.
I much prefer a male kitten, based on past experience with assorted cats. Yesterday my daughter and I spent considerable time in discussion of what his name should be. I’ve used up the names of my favorite book characters (see this entry and this one), so we branched out into movies: Jason, Bourne, James, Neo, Bruce, Clive… nothing seemed quite right. Then my eye fell on the Clerks II DVD. Dante? My daugher made a face. Elias? Not quite. Randall? Yes! I hear the name and instantly see a highly energetic ball of fur racing around the house and announcing his presence with authority. (Bonus points to whoever tells me what movie features a character who wants to announce his presence with authority.)
Somewhere tonight there’s a kitten who doesn’t know yet that his name is Randall and he’s coming to live soon with 4 other cats and 2 dogs in a very loving home. Sweet dreams, kitty cat.