A few weeks ago– maybe even over a month now– I became the owner/feeder/keeper of this charming orange
ball of fury kitty.
This model of cat (who I named Jasper, after Jasper Johns who is a famous American artist) comes complete with 20 extremely sharp claws, a mouthful of needle sharp teeth, and one giant attitude. Unfortunately, right after I got him, I was involved in the tornado response in North Minneapolis and any sense of regularity and schedule he and I had started to develop was totally destroyed.
Since then, we have had a series of minor, but no less annoying, owner-cat issues. Some hyperactivity, some aggression, some attempts to destroy things that I would rather not have destroyed thankyouverymuch. I tried feeding him more, and then less, and then different. We have reestablished a schedule, as much as possible. We play for no less than 15 minutes every morning and every night.
And yet, the following things have happened this week:
1. At one point in the evening, I found him completely underneath my area rug in the living room.
2. He climbed through the blinds. And then got stuck.
3. He wedged himself in the space between the storm window and the inside window. And then got stuck.
4. He jumped onto the shower curtain rod. And then got stuck.
5. He spent 45 minutes at 3 AM jumping on the wall after a dead bug and letting the pads of his feet squeeeeeak all the way down the wall on his way back to the floor, where he landed with a thud! and a MEOW! before promptly jumping again.
6. My feet have been attacked while I was doing the following: sweeping, sleeping, stepping into the shower, stepping out of the shower, coming into my apartment, leaving the apartment, sitting on the couch, feeding the cat.
And the truthiest truth is that I love him for his quirks and the strange trouble he gets himself into. But tonight I was at Petco and I saw these treats (he loves a tuna treat!) that help calm cats. Like, uh, kitty Xanax. I had actually been told about this once before– some herbal supplements to basically get your cat to just chill the eff out. And I was totally against it! I wasn’t going to drug my cat! I was simply going to love the bad behavior right out of him!
At the moment I was walking away, I remembered a story a grad school classmate told me about traveling when she was a child. When she was little her parents used to give all their kids Benadryl or some other drowsy-making medication that made them all zonk out for the duration of a flight or road trip. So the kids basically had no recollection of traveling– just being in new places. It’s not that these parents didn’t love their kids, they just also valued their own sanity. So for $5.99 I thought I would just try it, and if I ended up with some doped up, tuna treat addict for a cat, we could stop. Enter him into detox, and then stop, really.
I walked into the apartment at 5:47 PM and the moment of truth occurred just before 6 PM. And guess what? He wasn’t doped up, he didn’t just crash and sleep the whole night. In fact, he still got in a little bit of trouble. But he wasn’t on the verge of psychosis. More importantly, I was not on the verge of psychosis. He was playful and he even bit me once, for old time sake. But now, as we wind down for bed he is actually winding down. Let the choir sing.
The packaging says I can give him 1-2 per day. $6 per pack, 21 treats in the pack = $2 per week for a happier household that I think we are both appreciating. I can handle that.