Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Training a Cat: Why I Know Parents Are Saints!

Please note, this is an attempt at humor, with some truth thrown in here and there. See CyberGal doesn't do "children". I don't babysit, or do Youth Sunday School. When I go on vacation I attempt to stay far, far away from God's little gifts. I like kids in small doses. I drop in for an evening. So I am blissfully unaware of the character building friends of mine speak of when they discuss parenting. No more!

No, I didn't take care of a child, but I was instructed to "discipline" the owner's cat. Knowing absolutely NOTHING about how cats react to being thwarted, I assured the owner that the cat would not be permitted out of the house before 7 AM and would be back inside the house at 9 PM. How hard can this be...?

God works in very mysterious ways. How hard was it? It depends on whether I get points for never actually acting on my thoughts towards a yowling animal who has the endurance of an Olympic athlete!

I have bizarre sleep patterns no matter what's going on. I tend to sleep for three to four hours, get up at around 2 AM, work for a few hours and return to sleep for a good six hours. Taking medication to straighten this out leaves me too doped-up to function. So, since I have a very lose schedule, I work around my sleeping patterns.

The cat and I got on very well. She'd cry to get out between 3:30 AM and 5 Am and whether awake, or asleep, I can open a door and return to blissful slumber. But, now, I had a real challenge. The owner told me just to lock her out of my bedroom when: "...she becomes a pest." I thought this was a bit extreme. After all, Maggie likes me, there won't be a problem. NOT!

I woke up at 3:30 to her usual morning serenade. I tried talking to her. Her mewing got louder. She jumped on counters. She virtually screamed at me in a non-stop stream of feline invectives. She was mad and let me hear about it. There is nothing quite as frustrating as trying to ignore an angry animal with a will, determination and an ATTITUDE.

After the first hour of this heavenly bliss, I started thinking about teaching the cat like my mom taught me. Pick her up and toss her against the nearest wall! I confess my emotions were now all stirred up. I couldn't believe how angry I was becoming.

"yowl, yowl, yowl, YOWOWOWL!" Maggie is following me around the house. It never stops. Its only 4:45 AM and I gotta wait until 7:00 AM? Since she actually startled me with her leaping on a counter where I was pouring hot water for coffee, I cured THAT problem. I moved away from her so she'd know I wasn't going to strike her. I then hit the marble counter as hard as I could with a flat hand.


Ooooh, look at the flying kitty!

Blessed silence. Being startled by the unexpected noise, Maggie shot off the counter into the air. By now I was actively babbling incoherently at my Lord. "How do they do this without killing their children?" As I heard the soft ticking of a clock, waiting for my answer, the Yowler re-doubled her efforts.

When my cell phone alarm went off at 7 AM, I leaped into the air to let the suffering feline lose upon the world. By now, she'd given up and was nowhere to be seen! My rage returned as I realized she was going to take hr own sweet time exiting the house! Well, eventually, she sauntered into the kitchen and hung half in and half out of the doorway.

Once she did actually exit, I returned to bed and collapsed into unconsciousness. It didn't really feel like sleep, but I was all keyed up inside and couldn't figure out what was happening to me. I never remember having to apologize to God for so much so fast over anything before. I was being torn apart by a four pound fur ball with a will of iron!

I did get a lot of church work done while the Yowler was out at play. But, she wouldn't come in at all to eat. At night, she wouldn't eat even her beloved "treats". Now I had a torrent of guilt to keep my anger company. Why am I being so cruel... No, I've got to do what the owner requested. "Dear God, please tell the cat what's happening and tomorrow will be better, right? Thanks Lord."

By day three I discovered I could confuse the cat into momentary silence. I decided to imitate her in pitch, attitude and volume. Maggie actually turned full around to face me. In shocked silence she sat looking up at me like I'd just floated in from Mars. Long story short, she cried, I suffered. She refused to eat, I worried as she was beginning to lose weight. It just went on like this day after day, after day.

I then noticed that awful feeling one has when they have to do something they loathe. I was afraid to go to sleep at night because I knew that at 3:30 AM, we'd start all over again. Now I had depression to go with my guilt, worry and impotent anger. Hmmm, when I get off this gig, I might have to get my medications changed. Great. I could just see telling my Doctor this story! Probably commit my butt into the hospital for sure!

So, its finally over. Eight days of discovering several worrisome traits I didn't know I had. Realizing that my mother, in spite of her troubles and illness didn't actually kill me. Now I know enough about my personality to realize it wasn't because I didn't try to drive her to distraction! Yeah, you parents out there. You are all saints!


MacPhilly said...

Damn straight. And don't ever FORGET IT! :-D

mikeT said...

Very good, very well written.
Write more about cats!