Bad Touch

So, I have posted in the past about how Stinkerbelle loves her kitty Duncan, and how they are OMG BEST FRIENDS 4EVAH. In the beginning, it was about how Duncan had decided Stinkerbelle was His Baby, and would sleep outside her bedroom door (which he still does) and, occasionally, steal her toys.

Then, the tables turned, and suddenly That Girl was All. About. Her Kitty. She would call him, and follow him everywhere, and play with him. And, occasionally, steal his toys.

Well, they are best buddies, and that’s a fact. Well, except the other night, when he snuck into her room when we were checking up on her, and got stuck in there for a few hours, and then jumped up on her bed to sleep. And she was all WAKE ME AT YOUR PERIL YOU FELINE BASTARD.

So friendship has its limits. But the boundaries can be, if you pardon the pun, fuzzy.

This morning, Stinkerbelle and I were preparing to head out for a quick trip to the store. Yesterday, she began to sneeze and cough and by nighttime, her cold was full blown. So last night, when I put her to bed, I filled her humidifier reservoir and put it on for the night.

It’s the first time we’d used it this year, and, like everything involving water in this city, it died a slow, gunked-up death. The mineral buildup from our very tasty yet crazy hard water caused it to leak during the night, and so we binned it this morning. So we needed a new one.

Anyway, we were getting our gear on to go out to the store this morning, shoes and coats and such, and Duncan came by. He climbed up on a step to watch. And Stinkerbelle called out to him, “Bye, Duncan”.

And then she walked over and began hugging him. “BYE, DUNCAN! BYYYYYYEEEE!”

He was very tolerant, for a cat. He sat there with a look of mild disdain on his face, fur all fuzzed up backwards where she was hugging on him, eyes slightly bulging from the squeezing, as she called out her goodbyes. “Bye Dunc! See you later! Byeeee! Drive safe!”

Nobody knew what was coming next, least of all Duncan.

For Stinkerbelle, in her love for her bestest kitty friend, grabbed him about the head and neck, and PLANTED A KISS on him. RIGHT SMACK ON THE LIPS.

He sat there, stunned, for a moment, with a look of OH MY DOG WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED on his face. And then, he shook himself and ran off, with wild eyes. “NOOO! NO! BAD TOUCH! BAD TOUCH!!!”

It was like one of those moments in Peanuts, where Snoopy kisses Lucy, and she’s all “AAAAUUUGH DOG GERMS! GET THE DISINFECTANT!” If he could have spit and sputtered, he would have done.

And I have to tell you? I DIED. I laughed so hard I could not breathe. I CRIED from the laughing.

Stinkerbelle giggled and then carried on about her business.

Duncan, however, sat in the middle of the playroom floor, staring off into space. Looking stunned and slightly traumatized.

And somewhere in the house, Lucy and Cinnamon, who have endured YEARS of his chasing them and harassing them and his general being a weenie boy cat-ness… somewhere, they are LAUGHING THEIR FUZZY ASSES OFF.

Rant in Twelve Directions

Okay I apologize in advance but this will be very RANTY. Normally I sit down and try to compose my thoughts before I post, but today I cannot.

Because OMGWTF GUYS GUYS OMFG EARWIG.

Now normally I pride myself on not getting skeeved out by many things. I like mice and snakes and rats and other things that normally make women go EEK.

(Okay, well there’s fish in their natural habitat. But dude. Come on. That makes perfect sense.)

I had gone out to bring in That Baby’s swim stuff off the clothesline. I came in and put it and the handful of clothes pegs down on the kitchen table.

It was then I felt something tickle my hand.

I don’t normally scream like a girl about stuff, but OMFG THERE WAS AN EARWIG CRAWLING ON MY HAND.

And I screamed like a girl.

There is very little on this earth as DISGUSTING as earwigs. Well, earwigs and centipedes. SHUDDER. And there are so many in the backyard right now it is horrible. One must have come in on the laundry.

I screeched and flailed and flapped my hands about like a hysterical bird, and the thing went flinging off. Stinkerbelle was laughing hysterically and I was trying not to retch as my skin crawled in twenty-seven different directions, so doG only knew where the damn thing landed.

It was somewhere in the kitchen, there where I was standing.

I looked all over the place, but not too hard. I didn’t want to lift something on the table or whatever only to get a sneak attack from Disgustobug.

I was so skeeved out. I wanted to vomit.

Fortunately or not, we have white tile floors, and after a bit of looking about I FOUND IT. It was cowering under the kick of our island, hopefully stunned and dying from the impact of my flailing and the velocity with which it smacked into the floor.

But it didn’t die. It MOVED.

Now I own three cats. Used to be four. So what else are cats good for, except bug hunting? I thought to myself “How I wish Bubby were here! She’d get rid of the damn thing for me.” Bubby was the CHAMP of bug hunters. Didn’t matter where they were in the house or where she was, I just had to call out, “BUBBY!!! Come get the UGLY BUG!” and she would be ON THE CASE.

But Bubby is not here. Cinnamon is afraid of individual air molecules. Lucy is the cat version of Cosmo Kramer, or maybe that squirrel from the Ice Age movies.

So I called Duncan.

And I am here to tell you right now, for the record, that OMG DUNCAN IS SO USELESS.

I SHOWED him where the earwig was. I pretty near PUSHED HIS DAMN HEAD NOSE TO NOSE with the ugly bug.

And, thanks to the Stupidest Cat in the Universe, who just SAT AND WATCHED it, I think it’s now taken refuge under the island.

I mean, as it crawled around looking for a hiding spot, the thing practically CRAWLED UP HIS BUTT.

And he was all “BUH??”

****SMACK****

So now, I sit outside watching That Baby in her pool, hiding from the Earwig Of Doom in my kitchen. I am still experiencing full body shivers of disgust and creepitude.

The Earwig of Disgustingosity and Vileness is RAMPAGING WILLY NILLY AROUND MY KITCHEN.

Duncan likely went off and fell asleep somewhere, completely unaware of anything around him.

I miss Opus.

Thank doG BDH is coming home early today.

Moving. On, Around, Up…

Whoa. It’s been a time here at the House of Peevish. Bubby has left the building, and as she has moved on to bigger and better things, so do we.

(Actually, what she has moved on to is, I think, haunting the other cats and That Baby. Everyone has been displaying distinctly Bubby-like behaviours since her departure, and in general acting like weenies. So either she is haunting them — AND I WOULD NOT PUT IT PAST HER — or at the very least, she had a quick word with each of them before she left and left them explicit instructions. Being a weenie from beyond the grave — it’s her style.)

But the past week or so has caused us to take stock of things. And we have decided to get some things done. Lots of things. Moving things. Cleaning things. All sorts of things.

And then on Saturday, I threw my back out. And so, as I sit in my chair, it has been mostly BDH who has been doing things.

(Bah. I am sore and peevish. And feeling like an arse because I can’t do much to help BDH in his quest for order.)

There are all sorts of tasks that we’ve been wanting to accomplish, and for whatever reason, Opus’s death has kicked us into gear and we decided to do some of them. Or maybe it’s the onset of fall that’s done it, opening the windows and letting the cool air and sunshine in. But whatever it is, we’ve been cleaning and sorting and organizing like crazy.

Okay. BDH has. Whatever.

We put thousands of photos into albums. We washed and folded lots of laundry. We cleaned and put away Opus-maintenance items like her cage and her blankets and her litter box. We reorganized furniture. We made (or planned to make) food from the produce in our sadly neglected kitchen garden, like jerk and pesto and tomato sauce, which will then go in the freezer to be enjoyed all year.

We’re getting our lives in order, too. We got a calendar, one of those dry-erase deals, and put it up on the kitchen wall, so we can track appointments and Stinkerbelle’s swimming lessons and garbage days and whatever else. We started off a personal fitness challenge. We’re scouring websites and cookbooks for new or healthier or more interesting or more budget-friendly recipes to try. We’re making checklists. We’re imposing order on chaos.

It has been nice. It has been some change. Change is sometimes good.

The only problem? With all this moving and changing, there will come a time, hours or days or weeks from now, when one of us will go, “Have you seen my X?” And neither of us will have sweet fanny all of an idea where the heck we put X in all our flurry of cleaning and futzing and moving.

But it’s okay. Opus moved on, nice weather moved in, and we got moving. It’s all good, in its own way.

Watching, Waiting, Talking

It is hard, watching someone get old. Watching as even the simplest movements get harder and harder. Watching their frustration as they can’t do the things they have been doing for so long. Watching them waver, and stumble, and weaken.

I have been watching Opus very carefully this past week. I am trying to be there for her if she needs it. Mostly she doesn’t. Mostly she just sleeps.

Sometimes, The Bubby of old comes out, and she comes to me and demands something. But even then, it is hard for her. Her once lusty bellow has become a weak mew. She cannot lift her head up to look up at me without losing her balance. And she doesn’t come to me that often anymore.

When she does, I am trying to take advantage of it. I cuddle her. She cannot tolerate much of a cuddle anymore. It is hard on her old bones, hard to balance on my lap, and she’s nothing but skin and bones anyway so I imagine after awhile the petting becomes somewhat uncomfortable. But I try to anyway.

I talk with her. I explain to her what will happen. I tell her our routine for the day — waking, breakfast, napping, lunch. All the things she normally does. I tell her that she will get a visit from the Doctor. She will be coming to give her a needle. It’ll sting a little bit, but if she just relaxes, she’ll get drowsy and then fall asleep. I tell her that after that, the Doctor will give her one more needle. And after that, she can sleep as long as she wants to. Nobody will wake her. No noisy baby will bother her, or bothersome Duncan or Lucy. Her old bones won’t ache anymore. Her stomach won’t bother her. Her hearing and eyesight won’t be a problem. She can rest.

I tell her how much I will miss her. She looks at me with her old, old eyes. I hope that she understands.

I tell her that I do not know what will happen. She knows me well enough to know where I am coming from.

I want to believe in Heaven, and that I will see her again. I want to believe in capital-H-Heaven like I was taught as a child. I really do. I want to believe it, but I mostly don’t. But I hedge my bets, just in case. I tell her that if there is a Heaven, to go and wait for me there. I tell her to keep the divot in the middle of the bed warm for me. I want to believe I will show up somewhere one day and she will be there, demanding to be fed and petted and doG knows what else. I tell her these things.

She looks up at me with her old eyes. She knows me well enough to know that I haven’t a clue, but hope.

I want to believe in some sort of reincarnation thing. I want to believe in some sort of lifeforce that does not leave. I want to believe that when she dies, her life force will stay on and maybe stay with me. I want to believe that maybe she will be here to comfort me and love me as she has done all this time. I want her to stay with me because I need her.

I tell her that I hope she doesn’t feel like she is no longer needed. She saw me through my entire adult life so far. She saw me through bad choices, bad boyfriends, bad jobs. She saw me through a good relationship and showed her choice was final by sitting on the candidate, the Big Damn Hero. She saw me through a horrible miscarriage, and through long, tiring, demoralizing infertility treatment. She saw me through adoption, and the arrival of That Baby in our lives. She saw me through to a family who could now rally around me and take care of me.

But I still need her. I have no clue about motherhood. I didn’t have a mom. I don’t know what moms do or be. I am flying by the seat of my pants here. I haven’t got any idea how to deal with what motherhood will bring. I need her to comfort me on my bad mommy days. I need her to enjoy dance parties with That Baby and me. I need her to cuddle after a long day of parenting.

She looks up at me with her old eyes. She knows me well enough to know that I need her, that I will miss her. But she knows me well enough to know that I will think of her instead of me. She knows me well enough to know that I will let her go.

She’s ready to go. She needs to go.

It’s been a tough week. But we’re getting to a place, after all the waiting and the watching and the talking, where I think we will be okay with it. We will not be without tears. But we are getting used to the idea.

Tough Decisions

Sometimes, it is tough making decisions affecting the ones you love. And it is not always pleasant.

We have made one of those tough decisions recently; and that is, to say goodbye to our beloved 20 year old cat, Opus. After a vet appointment on Saturday, and after steadily declining health over the past year or so, we made the mutual decision with our vet that it is Opus’s time.

She is old. So very old. She is feeble. And she is tired.

A natural death for a cat is most often a horrible thing to endure. It is not usually a peaceful, “go to sleep” kind of thing. It is often painful, and agonizing, and unpleasant. We don’t want that for Opus.

After her vet appointment, with the prospect of heart attack or kidney disease or god knows what else waiting in the wings, we made the decision that we want the most peaceful, quiet end for our girl that we can possibly provide. So we have chosen a day next week, and our vet will come to the house, and here, in the arms of the people who love her most in all the world, Opus will go to sleep for the last time.

I cannot tell you how hard this is, although I am sure many of you may understand. If you have read my blog for any period of time, or know me at all, you know how much I love my cats.

But Opus, she is one in a million. She is the awesomest of the awesome. She has personality to spare, and she’s too smart by half. She is one hell of a cat. She has ruled my world for 20 years, and I have loved it. She has been with me through some horrible times. And she has been with me through some of the best, too. She has been my best friend.

I fought with vets to keep her alive from the age of 7 weeks. And we kept on fighting through various health crises throughout her 20 years. She’s a tough old broad. And I mean that in the best sense of the world.

But it is time to stop fighting, and to let her have some rest. She deserves as much peace, and dignity, and love, as I can possibly give her in the end, to repay her for being as good and faithful and loving a pet companion as any human could hope for.

In her crabby, peevish, funny little heart, she has loved me as much as is possible for a little cat to do. And I have loved her more than I ever knew it was possible to love a pet. And I only wish, looking back, that I had loved her more.

When her time comes, a light in my life will go out. A noisy, bossy, funny little light will go out, and the world will be a sadder place.

When she dies, a little piece of my heart will die with her.

So, over the next week or two, if I am not around much, you’ll know why. I am taking the time to say goodbye to a friend.

Of Cats and Kids

Okay. So. We have Stinkerbelle. And we have 4 cats. Nothing should surprise me, right?

And yet? It does. Regularly.

Stinkerbelle loves her kitties. LOVESLOVESLOVES her kitties. LOVES! THEM! So much so that her first REAL word (not counting the “mama” and “dada” business because, let’s face it, EVERY child does that and it is mostly indiscriminate), based on her babbling right now will be “kitty” or “Duncan” (who is her kitty). Right now she is SO close on “kitty” but it comes out “didididididdydidididdddy”.

And the cats, they tolerate her surprisingly well, considering she barrels across the floor at them in joyous full shriek and pokes them and pulls out tufts of fur and stuff. Perhaps they sense it is all done in love. Or something.

So anyway, That Baby loves her kitties.

Last weekend was Donkey Day at the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada. You may recall that we went last year, and we have a fondness for the donkeys. We think it’s a great fundraiser for a great cause, not to mention a really nice day out. So we decided that this year we would go again, and introduce Stinkerbelle to the donkeys and hopefully begin a nice yearly tradition for our family.

We knew we would not be able to be long, what with That Baby having the attention span of a soap dish or a gnat or whatever at this age, and it was also a hot day. So we figured we would go for maybe half an hour or an hour and just have a nice visit.

We pulled into a parking space, loaded Stinkerbelle into her SuperStroller, and started up the lane toward the paddocks. There was a great turnout, which is always nice, with booths and tents and whatnot. But us? We go for the donkeys. (Specifically, we go so that I can pet and brush the donkeys. Let’s be honest.) So we made a beeline for the paddocks — one for mules, the other for donkeys.

And of course, they were all there in their gorgeous, aloof glory. We got to the fence, and got Stinkerbelle up out of the stroller so she could pet the lovely little mules by the fence. We picked her up, and turned to lean over the fence to the mules.

And then it began, like a siren or a rock concert or some other loud thing that is very loud.

Stinkerbelle was bellowing for all she was worth at the mules. “DIDDIDDIDDDDYDIDDIDDIDDDIDIDIDDYDIDDDDY!” Very LOUDLY, and excitedly.

She was trying to make friends with the kitties. Which were not, alas, kitties. Nor were they DEAF, I would imagine, so they wisely chose instead to ignore the extremely loud small child hollering her greetings to them in full-throated love.

So the donkeys were a hit. Inasmuch as she thought they were really BIG kitties, Stinkerbelle enjoyed the visit to the donkeys. Good thing for them that Donkey Day is just once a year. (Also, good thing for my hearing.)

But That Baby loves her kitties with an equally vociferous and heartfelt love, so she will be fine until next year’s visit. How do I know this? Well, two recent incidents come to mind.

Today, she was in her playroom, playing with her toys and shrieking at a video of (what else) animals while I made a meat stick for dinner in the kitchen. The cats have learned to just ignore her or flee when she comes around, so those who had not fled were in various states of repose.

Now, Opus is old. She can’t get around much anymore, so we have put a comforter out for her to sleep on during the daytime. And she’s as deaf as a post, so she mostly ignores That Baby anyway. But with That Baby, we have had to establish the rule that “That Kitty is NOT for playing with. She is for DECORATION ONLY.” And so That Baby is not allowed to touch that kitty or otherwise terrorize or manhandle her like she does with the others. And she is learning, but she needs reminding from time to time.

I had to remind her a couple times this afternoon. Luckily Bubby mostly slept through it all.

And then I looked up from my cooking to see That Baby, leaning down over That Kitty, TRYING TO LICK HER.

ACK. Poised on the brink of getting a fuzzy mouthful of old kitty.

You never saw a woman move so fast. There was no way that was going to end well for either party.

I relocated Stinkerbelle and went back to my work.

I looked up again.

“Wha… WHATISTHATONYOURFACE?!?!”

Apparently, she had learned she was NOT to lick That Kitty. Which might explain, a little bit, why there were great, wet, drooly wads of Cinnamon fur on her cheek and chin.

She is fine. Cinnamon is hiding and won’t come out. And Bubby is shouting at me, trying to convince me that she is traumatized by the Great Licking Child of ’09 in a ploy for food.

That Baby and kitties. Is it too late to get her interested in, say, Chia pets instead?

Just Another Day

SCENE: An afternoon at The House of Peevish. Stinkerbelle is in her exersaucer, watching “Annie” and waiting for the post-lunch poop. Mom is in the kitchen, having some lunch. The cats are in various states of repose around the room: deaf, elderly Bubby curled up with Cinnamon on a blanket under the window, Lucy sunning herself on the windowsill, Duncan curled up under an end table amid the toys.

A breeze blows.

The baby gate, leaning up against the wall, catches the breeze and falls to the floor.


Baby Gate: BLAM!!!! (Well, it doesn’t SAY “blam” but it falls down and makes a ridiculously loud “blam” noise.)


Various cats freak the hell out and scramble for cover. Even deaf old Bubby is up and on the alert. Cinnamon and Duncan are poofed to a ridiculous size. Lucy falls out of the window.


Stinkerbelle: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! (belly laughing uproariously)


~ THE END. ~

Saturday Smile: Old Pals

old-pals

Our two old girlies, Cinnamon and Opus, have been slowing down a bit recently. Opus is going to be 20 this year, and Cinnamon 11 (or is it 12? I cannot remember.)

Opus doesn’t do much more than sleep these days. With failing eyesight, hearing that has long since failed, and tired old bones, we have put her favourite warm comforters out on the floor for her so she can snooze away her retirement in comfort. She struggles to get up and down the stairs nowadays, and she’s thin and frail. I don’t know how long she has left with us, but I hope that time is happy.

Cinnamon, on the other hand, has just started into old age. She’s got a few years left, but the signs of growing older are there. She no longer jumps or plays as she once did. She will lose at least two teeth this year. And she has taken to hiding whenever That Baby is about the place. Unless Her Bubby is around, of course — she adores Opus and knows Opus will protect her. And I believe Opus, however grudgingly, loves her too. I think Cinnamon has always thought of Opus as her mother, while Opus for her part has tolerated That Kitty amazingly well. (We just pretend not to notice when she grooms Cinnamon as a mother cat would do.) It breaks my heart to think of how devastated our little CinnamonGirl will be when she no longer has Her Bubby around to love.  That day is coming. But not quite yet.

In the meantime, I will enjoy catching these moments, as our two old pals take every opportunity to just spend time together and grow old in comfort together.

Happenings

Happening around here recently:

  • Stinkerbelle has been fascinated with the concept of “in” these past few weeks. She delights in putting things IN other things. So, she likes putting stacking cups inside other stacking cups, for example. So to facilitate this whole new world of discovery, I got out a couple of large Ziploc containers and gave them to her, and she can spend time happily putting toys in these containers and taking them out again. We call them her buckets. Sometimes, she will put a cup inside a bucket and shake it about like a party noisemaker. That’s PARTICULARLY fun.
  • Stinkerbelle is also learning to go for the cheap laugh. The other night, she had BDH and I on the floor, howling with laughter, by belly laughing at us laughing at her laughing at us laughing at her… it was a giggle loop. The other thing she does is put things on her head and then look at us for the laugh. She drapes her chain of plastic links over her head, then looks at us for the laugh. A teatowel, on the head… and looks for the laugh. But sometimes, she does it just for her own self, I think. The day before yesterday, I looked over at That Baby, sitting on the floor, intently watching her movie… with a bucket on her head.
  • One of the cats, Lucy, is feeling a bit neglected since the baby came. Lucy is a lap cat, and because she has very little fur, loves to get up on my lap in the morning or the evening and snuggle for warmth. And I LOVE this. But between the baby and my laptop and my knitting, Lulu is getting precious little lap time these days. I feel bad for her. She’s tried sidling up to me when I am on the floor playing with Her Babyness, looking for a little snuggle sometimes, putting life and limb in harm’s way — because That Baby is FASCINATED by Lucy and wants nothing more than to grab a handful of fur, or an ear, or an eye, or whatever… But Lucy has been INCREDIBLY tolerant in the face of such danger, all for the sake of a cuddle. So this morning, I had the baby on my lap, giving her her morning bottle, and up hops Lulu, looking for a snuggle, willing to share my lap with a squirming, kicking baby. So we sat there, the three of us, quite peaceably, actually — me trying to keep That Baby from kicking or in other ways killing Lucy with kindness, while holding the bottle AND giving Lu some pets. Talk about juggling.
  • Yesterday, I made blueberry muffins for BDH. He likes them, and I like to bake. I have been looking for years for the “right” blueberry muffin recipe, one that tastes like the blueberry muffins he likes (cake-like, no bran or oats, and of a good size so they hold butter well). So I found a recipe in my BHG cookbook and decided to give it a try. I mixed up the batter, and started spooning them into the muffin cups. And they were the TINIEST MUFFINS IN EXISTENCE. Oh well. So, I thought, well as long as they taste okay… So I thought that I’d use some of my daily allotment of Weight Watchers’ points and try one — they’re tiny, so what could it hurt, right? THREE STINKING POINTS LATER, and I was ready to slap whoever came up with the recipe for these miniscule muffins. (To give you an idea, I get about 25 points in a day. So, three points is nothing to sneeze at.) I had used up three valuable points on the muffin equivalent of a stinking TicTac.
  • That Baby likes to be rocked to sleep at bedtime. And honestly, we are quite content to do so. We love cuddle time with Stinkerbelle because we know that it will too soon be gone. So, we rock her, and while Van Morrison plays in the background, we will close our eyes and rest a little until she falls asleep. But recently, she is cracking us up. She has decided to take our before-bedtime cuddle time as an opportunity to practice talking. So, we will be sitting, rocking That Baby, eyes closed, music lilting away, and all of a sudden… quiet baby talk. Baby talk of all sorts of sounds, and changing intonations, and changing volumes. It’s the sweetest sound in the world. But also? When you are trying to seriously IGNORE That Baby so that she will go to sleep, one of the most hilarious. And it makes it awfully hard not to just laugh and snuggle That Baby up and kiss on her like crazy,

Sisyphus With A Broom

Our house is a bit of a mess these days. Keeping the house clean has become somewhat of a Sisyphean task. It is hard to stay on top of the cleaning, especially since our littlest one came along.

No, I am not talking about Stinkerbelle. I am talking about out littlest CAT, Duncan.

Okay, so he isn’t actually the littlest — Bubby takes that in a walk, all elderly 6 1/2 pounds of her — but he is the youngest. And he’s like the feline world’s version of Peanuts’ PigPen. Without the wit.

That cat is a one kitty mess. Everywhere he goes, everything he does, generates a mess. He’s a one-kitty destruction crew. And because he’s somewhat happy-go-lucky and always good natured, he has a hard time learning what bad behaviour is, which is a challenge to us. When it comes to learning “No!”, he’s about as sharp as a sock full of soup.

Don’t get me wrong, I love him. I love him just as much as any of the others. But it is hard to be patient with him when he is constantly making a mess.

Case #1: The distribution of litter

When Duncan goes downstairs to use the litter boxes, he is a mess waiting to happen. Now, I am sure in his little kitty brain, he wants to be a good boy, so when he goes in the box he digs and digs and digs, with such great enthusiasm and effort, and when he’s done he shows equal effort in burying. However, with great enthusiasm comes great mess, as litter gets sprayed for metres around. It is everywhere.

Now, that would not be so bad, but sometimes, just for fun, he rolls around in the litter that SOMEBODY sprayed on the floor. And so then, after a nice happy roll on the cool concrete of the basement floor, he comes upstairs happy but just filthy, and that dust and litter gets tracked everywhere.

Case #2: Plants

Duncan loves plants. He loves to eat plants. He loves to dig in plants. He loves to sit in plants. So, what very few plants we have have fallen victim to his enthusiastic horticultural appreciation. He’s chewed most down to nubs. Dirt is sprayed everywhere. And one of these days, we’re going to find a pot smashed to bits, when he tries to sit in one and realizes he out-bulks the potted plant by a ratio of 3:1.

Case #3: The Foyer

If I had to name one place where Duncan’s efforts are most evident, it is in the foyer. It is his favourite place to be. And why wouldn’t it be? It’s where the kibbles and the water are. And for him, eating requires killing his prey first, so he fishes a kibble out of the bowl, chases it around until it is good and dead, and then perhaps eats it (if he doesn’t get distracted — so walking around in bare feet can be an exercise in painful if you step on an errant kibble). He brings toys down and leaves them in the kibble bowl, so he can find them again. He bathes toys in the water dishes, and if he feels particularly adventurous, climbs the water dispensers (which, by the way, can’t take the weight of his bulk and slide around the tile floor, spraying water everywhere). And nothing, NOTHING, is more fun to Duncan than to run headlong into the foyer and slide on the mats like they are his own personal surfboards. Good luck opening the door with 6 feet of bunched-up mat and rubber anti-slide mat pushed up against it.

Case #4: The World As Toybox

Everything in Duncan’s world has toy potential. Everything. Just in the last 12 hours, we have taken some of Stinkerbelle’s toys from him. He fished a bunched-up wrapper out of the garbage up in the attic, and this morning we found it in (where else?) the foyer. As I swept up the kitchen this morning, he dove headlong into the schmutz and scattered it everywhere. And when I shooed him from doing that, he chased the broom. And, the piece de resistence… He chases poops around the basement floor.

Before we brought Stinkerbelle home, someone’s advice to me about keeping on top of the cleaning was “Start as you intend to carry on”, meaning don’t set your expectations too high and set yourself up for failure.

Well, somebody should have told us that before Duncan became a member of our family, too.