We have two cats. They are sisters named Jinx and Fu. We adopted them from a friend who was moving overseas when they were eight years old – what is that in cat years? – back in September 2012. Life has been a roller coaster ever since.
First of all, the cats were supposed to be Quinland’s. She had been dying for a pet, and when we were at our friend Liz’s house in London, Q fell madly in love with their cat, Garfield. Besides being cute and furry and a bit wacky, Garfield had the ultimate desirable cat trait: he would come and crawl up in Quinland’s lap to be petted or just to hang out. It was true cat love. Needless to say, Q was very excited at the prospect of getting not just one but TWO cats of her very own. Visions of cat cuddling danced in her head.
Quinland broke her leg three days before the cats were due to arrive, and the prospect of weeks on the couch must have made the idea of New Cat Friends seem even more attractive. Of course, it didn’t work out that way. Between the giant neon cast and the scary scary crutches, Jinx and Fu were absolutely terrified of Q. There was no cuddling. No petting. No anything. They didn’t want to come near her. They have warmed up slightly over the last year – Jinx will even occasionally sit on her lap to be petted – but by no means did they provide the pet companionship Q was looking for.
David, it turns out, does not like having cats. He was under the impression – as was I – that cats are like teenagers: they like their own space, they want to follow their own agenda, and as long as you make sure there is food in the house, they are fine. Jinx is pretty low-maintenance like that. She also tends to party late into the night and leave the house trashed.
Fu, on the other hand, is like a newborn. She cries when she is hungry, thirsty, or has just used her litter box and wants it cleaned. She cries when she wants attention. She cries when she is tired and wants to go to bed. She cries when she wants you to get up. The noise is absolutely driving David insane.
But, just like a little baby, when all her needs have been met to her satisfaction, Fu is so dang cute. She will roll onto her back and stretch out like an otter to get her tummy rubbed. She will let you cuddle her in your arms like a doll. She talks in her sleep and snores the tiniest little snore.
Like all cats, they both love containers. Jinx tries to climb on, under, or around any box (or basket or stack of books or piece of paper) she sees.
Fu likes to crawl into a comfy box for a nap, regardless of comparative size.
I feel like I have been getting pretty good Cat Value from these two. Though I sometimes feel like I am the only one cleaning the litter box, I love to play with them and brush them and cuddle them and talk to them in silly voices. They totally know my voice and they know when I am calling them.
But they may have to find a new home. Truly, David feels that they are a serious liability. I do see his points:
- Fu’s constant meowing is keeping us from ever getting a decent night’s sleep. With the fatigue that comes from MS (for me) and from teaching high schoolers (for David), sleep is a precious commodity. The broken-up sleep could be a big factor in how down I have felt all this year.
- Jinx and Fu are destroying the furniture. They both scratch and claw at everything. Both arms of our loveseat are shredded. The ottoman and sofa are getting seriously clawed. The carpet upstairs is being torn up bit by bit. As David says, “We are paying money (for food, etc.) to keep pets that are destroying our belongings. Why would anyone pay to have their stuff ruined?”
I can’t solve either of those issues. There is no way to shut Fu up, and nowhere to put her that we can’t hear her. At 4:40 this morning, in a sleepy haze, David put Fu out on the deck. (They are indoor cats, but our deck is so high up, they can’t go anywhere.) At 7:00, when I woke up, I went to let the cat in and she was gone. Thankfully, she reappeared on the DOWNSTAIRS deck. Did she jump? Fall? Who knows, but we are lucky she seemed okay, if a bit disoriented.
As for the scratching, I am at a loss. The cats have a giant scratching tower-castle-thingy and they rarely use it. I’ve gotten a variety of scratching posts and boxes, but they don’t like them, even when liberally sprinkled with catnip.
I feel guilty about all the problems, since I was the one who brought them into our lives. I hate feeling like I am making my family suffer. I want to find a solution that makes everyone happy… but I don’t know what that is.
In the meantime, I look at these two cuddly mufflepuffins and think how sad I would be to see them go.