The Cat’s That

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As mentioned in a previous column, I am in a blended family.  Beyond the standard of his/mine when it comes to kids, we have a his/mine/ours regarding the matter of pets.

Upon our marriage last year Darling Husband and I brought together into one household:


4 kids (two still semi-living with us, and two in the world as adults…technically not pets, but they would be hurt if I didn’t mention them)

1 dog (ours)

5 fish (his)

2 cats (mine)

Where the kids are concerned it’s a take-each-day-as-it-comes kind of thing. The older grown sibs sometimes offer advice (see last week’s column), and younger ones manage to tolerate us while counting down the weeks/months/years left under our domain. So for the most part, it’s parenting 2.0.

The dog is also pretty much a ‘no big deal’ thing.  We got him about 6 months before we married, and he spent time in both households before things merged, so he sees us both as equal ‘alphas’ and knows his place without battle.

The fish…well, in the short year we’ve been married, they have all crossed over the Ty-D-Bowl bridge. So there’s a nice terrarium where the fish tank used to be.

So what’s left? The short answer would be the cats. But when it comes to the felines in our lives, there is no short answer. I’ve had both cats for 10 years. They are a ‘bonded pair’ and have never known life without each other. I brought them with me in an excruciating cross-country trip when I returned to the Pacific Northwest three years ago. Having lived previously in the Deep South, it certainly sounds like the younger of the two meows with a twang, sounding more like ‘may-yow’.

The older one is just a cranky fart. But for the fact that I’ve had her for ten years and can’t remember what it’s like to not have her (though I wouldn’t mind trying it for a while), I wouldn’t tolerate her at all. To be blunt, she’s a b*tch. She complains about everything, just a sampling include:

  • Empty food bowl
  • Full food bowl
  • Water in bowl at wrong temperature (although she won’t say what the “right” temperature is)
  • Poop in the litter box that she didn’t make
  • Poop in the litter box that she DID make
  • Being alone in a room
  • Not being alone in a room


You get the idea. In the past few years her house-broken status has become subjective at best. Most recently, she decided to christen the bathmat. This event, given her daily regurgitation of breakfast, leaves me wondering where the poop even comes from. Nothing of substance is in her long enough to go through.

The upside is, that there’s nothing medically wrong with her. She’s as healthy as a ten year old cat can be. The down side is, there’s nothing medically wrong with her and she’s as healthy as a ten year old cat can be. Being that the average life expectancy of a standard indoor cat is between 9-15 years, I took some comfort in the fact that she’s definitely in her ‘golden years’ and this can’t go on forever. One day (maybe soon) I will be able to go on vacation and not have to ask someone to check on and feed her. One day (maybe soon) I’ll be able to wear black clothing without having to use a lint roller repeatedly. One day (probably not soon) I might even miss her.

And then someone had to go look it up in Guiness: The oldest cat on record lived for over 34 years.

So at this rate, she could outlive me.

If that be the case, it’ll be good to see the fish again.

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