Our indoor cat has decided he would like to transform into an outdoor cat. Unfortunately for him, I disagree. So the battle has begun and I am apparently not as smart as a cat (go figure). He has been outside at least a dozen times in the past week. Every time I open a door, he tries to bolt outside. This is especially tricky when my kid is walking in from school with a backpack, lacrosse stick, water bottle and multiple layers of clothing shed throughout the day. We had developed a strategy where I walked in first to block and then she followed. This worked exactly twice and since then the little furball has taken to darting right between our legs when the door opens. My husband has resorted to weapons and placed a mop next to the door which he uses to corral the beast back indoors. The cat’s counterattack has been to wedge himself under the door so it only opens an inch where he can claw at our feet. We have tried to walk in other doors, but he always manages to beat us to the front door too.

This obsession with freedom seemed to develop after he almost fell out of a second story window. Literally, the cat was hanging by his claws out of our bedroom window. A few weeks ago we opened the window next to his cat tree and he climbed up and lounged in the breeze watching the kids play outside. 10 minutes later my daughter was screaming and my husband was running up the stairs. I looked up to see the cat on the outside of the window hanging by his front legs as if making an attempt to do chin ups on the window ledge. He had managed to completely push the screen out of the frame and was hanging on the top portion of the open window. I am not even sure how he did it, I was just happy that I was able to grab him before he lost his grip. His feet had hardly touched the ground before he turned around and leapt at the open window again. I had to bear hug him until my husband could get the window closed. I then watched my husband hanging from the side of the house while he tried to reinsert the screen. We have kept that window cracked only an inch since then and the little man still hangs his front paws outside.

We occasionally leave other windows in our house open and within minutes the little guy seems to find his way to them where he either climbs up the screen to the top, or pushes at the frame on the bottom in an attempt to escape. He somehow managed to pop the screen out of the track in one of the doorwalls and get his claws stuck in a screen after climbing to the top of an almost closed window. He is like a little mouse squeezing his body through openings the size of a lemon. All of our screens also now look like someone took a razor blade to them. Pretty soon they will resemble swiss cheese and will be completely useless in keeping one critter in and countless insects out. 

I think the worst part of this imprisonment is hearing the poor little furball cry every time anyone leaves the house. He stands at the garage door and meows at the top of his lungs each and every time a human leaves the house. Whoever is left in the house with him spends the next 10 minutes trying to get him to relax and stop yelling. When the whole family leaves him, he reacts by pulling all of the rubber seal from the bottom of the door bit by bit. We come home to find mounds of soggy rubber bits all over the rug. 

I was about to give up and just let the little man run free until I remembered the late nights waiting up for our previous kitty to return. Somehow I think this little guy would be even later to come home based on the fact that he is a stubborn little shit. Instead, I made a compromise. I bought him a kitten leash. If he wants to act like a dog and beg at the door, I am going to treat him as such and bind him to me with a rope. My husband is laughing at me, but he’ll be grateful when he doesn’t have to replace the screens. Although, somehow I see me getting dragged through the grass on my knees by a 10 pound cat the first time he tries to chase a squirrel. As with most things, this will probably not end well for me.

**I wrote this while listening to Fugazi because we discovered Brody (the punk rock cat) only likes Ian MacKaye’s first band so I’m trying to change his mind. Go figure!**

Love Cats

My husband and I have had an ongoing argument for six years. I have wanted something soft and cuddly to love (other than him) and he has wanted a fur-free house (other than his own). My daughter has watched every one of her friends welcome new pets into their homes since she was of school age and both of us have requested a pet for the last five birthdays. Two birthdays ago my husband actually bought me a stuffed cat that makes angry faces when you squeeze his head. I named him Fido. He is surprisingly not a cuddler.

The argument really heated up in the last year when my daughter started coming home with weekly new pet announcements from her friends. This poor kid wanted a cat so badly she was labeling the neighbor’s cats as strays and trying to covertly “adopt” them. The argument finally came to an end the week before Thanksgiving, just like all arguments are resolved, on the internet. My friend posted several photos of a kitten who needed a new home quickly. I showed the post to my husband stating loudly “this is the universe telling us we need a kitten. Listen to the universe!” For once, he listened to the universe. I’m fairly certain he knew he was going to lose this war eventually. I am nothing if not persistent (read – nag).

Within 24 hours we were across town picking up our new fur baby. We were informed that she had been locked in a bathroom for three days due to the sudden injury of her previous owner and the need to keep her contained. She screamed the whole 45 minute drive home during a storm while her carrier bounced on my kiddo’s lap. My daughter promptly dubbed the 3 pound spitfire Brody after Brody Dalle of the Distillers. She lived up to her name quickly when she walked around the house the first night meowing loudly and pushed her way into my arms to wrap her body around my face for a quick nap. I was awoken the following morning by a furry punch to the nose. I hadn’t slept much anyway after Brody decided that crawling under the covers to bite my kneecaps at 3 am was a super fun game. By the end of the first 48 hours, half of my body was covered in scratches and teeth marks, but I didn’t mind. I am a bit like that big doofus who halfway smothers Bugs Bunny by over-loving him.  

My whole family suffers from allergies of all kinds, so it was not a shock to find my daughter covered in hives with itchy, watery eyes within hours of bringing Brody home. We proceeded to heavily medicate her while searching for remedies online. Within an hour four different types of kitty shampoo, allergen reducing fabric spray and food were being shipped to our door. Who knew they made cat food that changes the allergen production in pets. Three weeks later, my daughter was still sneezing and itchy but adamant that these conditions were not due to the kitten. A month later her allergies disappeared. Apparently that miracle cat food actually works. Yay science!

We got a bit of a shock at Brody’s first visit to the vet. First, we found out Brody is a boy. I had manhandled this little boy at least 10 times while bathing him and had no idea he had a penis. I don’t know if that says something about me or him, but now I feel bad every time I call him my “little man”. We were also informed that he has a heart murmur sever enough that he needed to see a cardiologist before they would perform his neutering and declawing (which were requirements for living with my husband). Our vet pulled some strings to get all of these procedures done before Christmas and on December 22 I got a call informing me that his heart freaked out a minute into the surgery and they could not declaw him but were able to steal his manhood. I had been preparing for such an event and already had nail covers in multiple sparkly colors bookmarked. I figured since we had already mislabeled him as female and stolen his nuts, sparkly pink claw covers would not bother him even a little.

He came home from his surgery and immediately jumped onto his cat tree where he had previously been able to hang by his sharp little claws. He bounced off the post three times as he attempted to use his claws that were no longer of use. He was still too stoned from his surgery to feel any pain so he just kept throwing himself at the structure until we removed it from the room. Within 30 minutes of being home, he also managed to soak himself in water and roll around in his litter box while pooping. Naturally, he then jumped into my bed trailing clumps of litter and poop all over my quilt. My original plan to keep him in our bedroom was quickly amended and I took his litter box directly to the basement. I then spent an hour attempting to de-poop Brody’s tail wondering when he ate the glue that was clearly making the poop similar to dried cement all over his tiny butt. The next two days consisted of hiding medication in food that he refused to eat, cleaning up water that he consistently splashed out of his bowl like a propeller, and carrying the little fur ball around the house like an infant since he demanded my full attention. Surprisingly, Santa still brought my little man a giant sack full of toys.

Brody has been with us almost two months and we are finally all settling in. The humans know we are unable to get off the couch without having our ankles bitten or walk up the stairs without a sneak attack. Brody still punches me in the nose every morning but it’s to wake me for his heart medication, which he is now taking with a tablespoon of wet food. He also demands that a tabletop fountain be turned on for his daily water consumption, and that the curtains be opened or he will climb them and try to open them himself. He has even made friends with Fido. A few nights ago I heard him making all kinds of noise and dragging the evil stuffed animal up the stairs. I think he is trying to form a kitten gang. And so the adventure begins…

**Well look at that, Brody likes to listen to his namesake!