Loving Animals More Than Humans

This blog post was inspired by Sarah Silverman’s comedy special We Are Miracles in which she says – amidst a bunch of other awesome, off-the-wall things – something about the fact that if Africa were a land full of stray labradoodles, our desire to care for and/or help its inhabitants would be way higher.

Loving Animals More Than Humans | TheFurFiles

And she’s probably right. Weird-looking, curly haired dogs, big fluffy, pushed-in-face cats, iguanas, gerbils (though this one, I just don’t understand) – we love our pets, often more than we love humans, it seems. My aunt tells me this in every email she sends – people suck/animals are so much better.

Her “I’ve been burned one too many times” bias aside, I believe there are lots of people who feel this way. The question is why? Why would we care about animals more than we care about our own species? Is it because we see animals as helpless creatures, driven to build a life in a contaminated world of chaos, concrete, and poison? I know that’s being overly-dramatic, but it’s the truth. The poor raccoons have nowhere to go, and then we get pissed off when they set up camp in our attics. Is it because we think humans should just know better, and that if we suffer, it’s our own damn fault? Well, we should, and it is.

Continue reading “Loving Animals More Than Humans”

This Is How Smart Cats Really Are

This Is How Smart Cats Really Are | TheFurFilesSome of you may already have thought of this, but I hadn’t, until yesterday when my husband pointed it out.

Cleo – our youngest furry baby – likes to play fetch. Lionel does as well, but not nearly as much.

Now Cleo, she’ll bring her pink mouse to you, and wait for you to throw it. When you do, she’ll run to get it, and then bring it right back – the first one or two times. After that, when you throw it, she’ll run down the hall, stop when she gets there, look at it, turn around, walk back half way, look at you – and if you don’t respond by getting up to get it yourself – she’ll just leave. The game is done.

Now, all this time, I’ve been thinking, “She must not be very smart. She can’t seem to bring it back every time. Maybe she just gets distracted. Or bored.”

Until yesterday, that is, when my husband made very this astute observation. Keep in mind that he’s not even the cat lover out of the two of us. “It’s almost like she’s trying to teach US how to fetch,” he said. “If she were teaching her babies, that’s probably what she’d do. She’d go after it, get it the first time – showing them how – and then on subsequent attempts, she’d leave it, thereby giving them a chance to try.”

“That makes total sense,” I said. I was amazed. It did seem quite plausible.

I knew cats (and animals were smart) but for some reason, I didn’t give her enough credit. Now if I could only figure out why Jackson – one of our older cats – chews at the baseboards. Maybe he’s missing something in his diet. Or maybe he’s trying to clean his teeth. Or maybe it’s a nervous habit – he IS that kind of cat. (Our housekeeper’s cat is on some sort of anti-anxiety drug, like cat Xanax. Maybe he needs something like that.) Or maybe it’s because he’s certifiably C-R-A-Z-Y, as my husband says. And I say to my husband – “You are the reason Jackson is the way he is. You give him a complex. He can sense that you don’t like him.”

“Well, he keeps chewing on my baseboards.” Fair enough.

He also tries to hump Cleo. She really doesn’t like it, and routinely swats him in the face. He hovers over me when I sleep as well, and sits and stares at the wall sometimes.

So there you have it, I have one Jeffrey Dahmer-esque cat (because he IS pretty cute), and three normal ones. I’m actually glad that paws can’t hold giant kitchen knives, or I think we might all be in trouble.

Note: from some of the articles that I’ve read, cats are listed only behind dolphins and chimps in terms of intelligence. Yes, cats ARE smarter than dogs. The cerebral cortex of a cat is greater and more complex in comparison, and it contains almost twice as many neurons. Why don’t cats come when they are called then? They haven’t been domesticated as long as dogs, and/or they are way too smart to be enslaved by us humans. I tend to think the latter.


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When Your Cat And Your Neighbour’s Cat Do NOT Get Along

Kevin is my neighbour. He lives three doors down from us. So do his cats – two of them.

When I go for walks with MY cats – yes, they DO walk on leashes, too bad it’s like walking with two schizophrenic and very disobedient dogs – I often see “Kevin’s cats” sitting quietly, calmly, on his porch. They look at us like we are very strange – “lock these weirdos up” crazy almost. So does Kevin. So do all of my neighbours, in fact. I could cat less. I just want my cats to experience life without getting run over by a truck.

I just want my cats to be happy, and I don’t mind being tortured while they pull this way and that to eat the grass and chase the odd bumble bee or squirrel. Why can’t people just let us live?

Last time we went past Kevin’s house, Kevin’s cats were nowhere to be seen. Suddenly, one appeared from around the side, near the eavestrough. His eyes piercing and determined, he looked like he wanted to eat my cats, and to kill me. He slowly walked toward us. Bravely, my cats took one step forward, and then – like they’d been shot or something – they took off in retreat, racing home with me in tow, making me look like the biggest loser on the planet. Lionel – in his distress – even tried to climb the street lamp and then he fell back down. It was not my proudest “I love my cats to a fanatical extreme” moment. There was even a girl who witnessed the whole event. She snickered.

Having been scared off by “Kevin’s cats”, I told my furry babies that soon we’d go back to seek our revenge, to reclaim our territory, to tell these “other” cats, who really owns this street. It will be Abyssinian versus Himilayan (or whatever the heck they are), short fur versus long, “bordering on god-like good” versus terribly, terribly evil. Yes, WE WILL PREVAIL.

And then the other day, THIS was on our porch. It was one of Kevin’s cats. Oh, no he didn’t. The battle is on!When Your Cat And Your Neighbour's Cat Do NOT Get Along | TheFurFiles

BTW, my dad says that Kevin’s cats have big heads with scrawny bodies. They shouldn’t be too hard to take down.

NOTE: I would NEVER hurt another cat, not even one who interlopes on my property to upset my own. I’ll just pat them secretly when mine aren’t looking, and then wash my hands thoroughly so no one smells the adversaries. No one will be the wiser.


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Another “Pets And Kids Destroy Everything, It’s A Good Thing They Are Cute” Story

I try not to let “things” control my life. I want to live simply, staying as healthy as possible, laughing lots and experiencing all the joy the world has to offer. I don’t need a Gucci watch or a Northland 72″ side-by-side custom refrigerator to be happy. Having said that, I also don’t want to live in a cardboard box. (And I wouldn’t turn down that refrigerator if someone just left it on my doorstep.)

Sometimes, I want nice things – nice pieces of furniture, and nice articles of clothing. Besides, nice things – or things that are made well – generally last longer than not-nice, cheap things. Can you say that stupid IKEA desk and those even stupider IKEA lamps?

Anyway, I’ve been doing a little shopping lately. We have a basement that is sitting pretty much empty, and we needed a new couch at least, and some chairs, and an end table or two, and possibly a coffee table, and there was this pair of jeans that I saw…

OK, OK, so one of the items that I bought was this beautiful coffee table/trunk. Now, here’s the issue. Because of the cats, we can’t have stuff that’s made of fabric. The cats destroy things like that faster than my kids make a mess of the kitchen when they are having a snack.

My husband says we could get rid of the cats. He says that somebody would pay a good dollar for three of them. He says the fourth, we’d have to actually pay someone to take, and they still probably wouldn’t. Jackson is just that strange. My husband is kidding – sort of. I gave him a hard shot in the arm after he said what he said.

No, any new furniture coming into our house can only be made out of leather, wood, or concrete. Yes, concrete. I’m not joking about that. As indestructible as possible would be ideal. It might not be comfortable, but it would definitely be a money-saver. My kids and/or my cats can wreck almost anything without even trying.

So yeah, I bought this coffee table/trunk type deal. It’s custom made, leather, and expensive – REALLY expensive. I wanted it to be something we’d have in the family forever, you know, to pass down to my children and my children’s children. It’s also a heavy motherfucker. And when I say heavy, I mean three hundred pounds of “the two of us could barely carry it down the hall and it almost crushed my foot” heavy.

Break in the story here just to say that what happened next is the perfect example of how things operate in my house.

The coffee table/trunk heavy son-of-a-bitch arrived the other day. My husband and I unpackaged it. We then struggled to get it inside and to put it into place. We’d just set it down – literally JUST set it down – and we’d turned our backs to clean up the mess of styrofoam bits and pieces of cardboard that had followed us down the hall, when Lionel (our one cat) came over, sniffed it once, and then dug his claws right into the top, leaving a few gashes in the smooth chocolate brown leather.

I’m still angry. I can’t even talk about it. Sure, I can write about it here on my blog, but don’t ask me to speak the words “my cat defaced my new coffee table/trunk two seconds after we brought it in the house” out in the open, or I just might cry. I feel like I’ve been abused or violated somehow, and by my best cat friend no less.

Ahhh, but he looks so cute…

Another "Pets And Kids Destroy Everything, It's A Good Thing They Are Cute" Story | TheFurFiles

And even though Lionel was sitting on my lap moments after it happened, and I was patting him and talking to him in that silly baby cat voice that my husband hates so much, not everybody in the house was calm. My husband “roiled” – I don’t know if that’s even a word, but it’s the best I could come up with to describe how he reacted – his way down to his office where he then sat plotting. Don’t worry, I’ve calmed him down since then. No one is going to the vet to have their claws removed. I’d never let him do that. He’d have to move out first.

I am however, off to the craft store to buy some pieces of poster board, and lots and lots and LOTS of double-sided tape. You know, to put on top of the coffee table so that if the cats jump on it, their paws get stuck and they immediately jump off. If you wanted to teach your cats to stay off your brand new leather, expensive, coffee table/trunk, what would you do?

Any suggestions are welcome.

P. S. The water squirt gun is on stand by.


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When Pets Get A Little Too Close

If you don’t already know this, I love cats. I mean, I REALLY love them. In the hierarchy of love that I have for things in this world – and this is how my husband sees it – it goes kids/cats, working out, HGTV, clothes, shoes (to be differentiated from clothes), new furniture, ice cream, The Bachelorette/Sister Wives (I’m addicted to both), open windows and doors, and my husband. Yes, he can play that “pathetic martyr” card sometimes. Break out the tiny violin.

Out of all of my cats, there have been a few over the years with whom I’ve really connected too. At the present moment, it’s Lionel. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of my furry babies, but Lionel – oh, Lionel – he and I have a special bond. I knew it from the moment I saw his picture on Kijiji, his little paw just reaching out to me through the computer screen.

When Pets Get A Little Too Close | TheFurFiles

He was sweet when he was a baby, and he’s only gotten sweeter, and better looking, and smarter. OK, maybe not smarter – he spends a lot of time chasing his own tail – but he’s very charming and loving and EXTREMELY handsome. His eyes get me every single time. It’s like looking at the cat version of Johnny Depp and Colin Farrell combined – uber hypnotic.

The best part about him – as much as I love him, he loves me back even more. He just wants to be with me all the time. He’s like my shadow. Everywhere I go, he goes.

When I’m writing my blog, he sits on my lap, purring away to beat the band. When I work out – if I’m home – he comes with me downstairs. Every night, when I have a bath, he sits precariously at the edge of the tub waiting for me to finish. When I sleep, he snuggles with me under the covers, his head nuzzled against my side, his claws kneading emphatically in and out of my husband’s bare flesh, which – I tell my husband – is what he gets for sleeping naked.

Lionel is ALWAYS there. Thus, it is not uncommon for him to be there when my husband and I want to get “romantic” as well.

At times like this, my husband says, “Can you get that damn cat out of here. He’s giving me the creeps.”

“Why?” I say. “He’s fine.”

“He’s NOT fine. He’s looking at me. It’s like he’s jealous.”

When Pets Get A Little Too Close | TheFurFiles

“You’re being silly. He’s just sitting there, probably dreaming of bugs and birds and catfood.”

“No, he’s probably dreaming about clawing me in the penis while I sleep. Just get him out of here.”

Begrudgingly, I shoo my little angel out. And I’m not saying that I proceed by imagining that my husband has whiskers and a cute white muzzle or anything, but…

Just kidding. I dream about him having a really long tail. Thank goodness my husband has something like that. 😉