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February 20th, 2006

birthdays

Another thing I neglected to do last week was wish happy birthday to zannah and parkbenchzine. Not that I've been in the habit of posting birthday wishes, but I don't want them to think I forgot, because I didn't... I just, um, neglected to post in Zannah's journal or email Jay. Hmm, that's not better than forgetting, is it. I'm lame.

Anyhow: Happy birthday Zannah! Happy birthday Jay! I hope you each had a good time, and have good years ahead of you.

On a side note: the LiveJournal "mood" list has some surprising omissions, such as "perturbed" which I wrote in yesterday, and today's "abashed".

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destructo-cat

At my old apartment, the paper towel roll originally hung underneath one of the wall cabinets, over the counter, in the kitchen. Nimiel ignored the roll most of the time, but then one day I came home to find she'd torn all the towels off. After that, I discovered a magnetic towel holder that I could put onto the refrigerator door. That worked perfectly, as the top of the refrigerator was one of the only places inaccessible to her - she probably could have jumped there from the kitchen counter, but so far as I know, she never tried - and there wasn't any other way for her to get at the roll.

Here in the condo, however, the refrigerator is much more accessible. I put the holder on the hallway side of the refrigerator; there's a medium-high set of shelves across from it, but it didn't look like she'd be able to keep her balance on the shelves and reach it, or reach down from the top of the refrigerator. Once again, she ignored the roll for the past few months. Today though I came home to discover all the sheets from the half-full roll on the floor, where she'd clearly torn them down. Now, I've noticed that the roll has tended to undo a couple sheets simply from the slight breezes of me walking by, so I thought it was possible there'd been some dangling sheets and that was what caught her attention. Whether or not that's the case, it's clearly too late. I decided to try reorienting the roll vertically and putting a fresh one out; about an hour later while I was eating dinner, I heard some noise that made me get up to check, and sure enough, she'd jumped up a bit from the floor to grab at the roll. So that's clearly no good anymore, now I'm going to have to buy some kind of holder that I can screw into the inside of a cabinet door, or at least just keep the roll in a latched cabinet.

This makes me very angry and frustrated. The larger issue seems to be that she's looking for entertainment, but the only things that seem to really occupy her are things she can destroy or "kill". Her favorite toys, the only ones she'll consistently play with at length on her own, are small plastic fur-covered mice with rattles. After playing with one for a while, eventually she'll tear and eat the fur off the mouse; fortunately she doesn't seem to actually want to eat the plastic body, and also fortunately, even after "killing" and "eating" the mouse, she'll continue to enjoy playing with the plastic rattly body. The problem with these mice is that they're easily lost underneath the oven, the refrigerator, the washer, and a few cabinets and shelves. I bought her a double-sized one once, and it's still kicking around here; she really doesn't play with it, presumably because it's larger than she likes. Likewise, she won't play with the rattling twine-covered ball, and hardly plays with the small twine-covered rattling mouse I recently bought. She'll chase either if I toss them for her, and bats the mouse a little bit on occasion, but it really doesn't hold her attention.

I also tried buying her a furry catnip-laced toy on an elastic cord, that I could hang from a doorway. The first time I let her play with it, it was great, she spent a good hour or so with it while I was packing for my Christmas trip, and eventually went off to rest, if I remember right. The second time, she spent all of five minutes before she'd torn off and eaten the four fur strips dangling from the toy, which I believe is where the catnip was; since then when I've put it up, she's played a bit and gotten bored fast.

I can and do keep buying the small fur-covered mice that she obviously loves, but I can't afford to buy enough to avoid regular fishing trips under the appliances, and I don't really want her eating lots of that fur all the time. I could buy a few more of the twine-covered mice and just wait for her to give up and play with them, but I don't really believe it'll work that way. I really don't know what else to do to give her entertainment.

And of course the problem isn't simply what to give her for toys, the problem is that I'm worried she's just going to start literally tearing into other things, like the furniture. She's also been pretty constantly going after the tree; while I believe half the time it's just because she knows it gets my attention (and how I was supposed to avoid forming that relationship while keeping her from attacking and harming the tree is beyond me), I'm still somewhat amazed I haven't yet come home to discover half the branches torn off and leaves eaten. Then what about the various important papers I have waiting in my file trays for me to deal with? Do I need to put them into metal boxes now, before she gets bored enough to tear them all up? She's pawed at them before. Or the books on my shelves?

Yes yes, I'm ranting and probably blowing things out of proportion and I should just calm down, whatever. This is my journal, and I'm angry and frustrated and feeling very powerless. And before anyone says anything stupid like "don't ever have children," at least children develop intelligence and you can hope to reason with them, to teach them how to behave well. As far as I can tell, I can never teach her not to do things, I can only teach her to run when I yell, and I can only lock up all my stuff in containers she can't possibly open or claw and bite through.

Oh wait, maybe I'm not blowing things out of proportion after all: I almost forgot to mention how, back some time in early January, I came home from work to discover she'd been tearing at the metal mesh covering the rangetop ventilation fan, probably eating bits of the mesh as well. Now what the FUCK am I supposed to do about that?! I did catch her doing it a second time one night, just as I was getting to bed; I yelled at her, held her up to it and swatted her nose (as I understand, nose-swatting is how mother cats teach the kittens). I think she's left it alone, but I'm not sure, and again, did I even communicate anything as substantial as "don't mess with that when the human is around"? And it's the fucking rangetop ventilation fan cover - I can't put it somewhere she can't get to it, and how could I keep her from tearing at it when I'm not home?

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