Learning to Share Space with a Pet

As a child I grew up in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains surrounded by animals. We had both dogs and cats, our neighbor raised hogs and had horses, and a number of small dairy farms dotted the landscape. Not only were there domesticated animals, but the woods we roamed held numerous wild creatures foxes, raccoons, possums, an occasional black bear–any who you get it. I grew up around animals.

Sheba Her Royal Highness

Unfortunately, when I moved to the city I ended up living in apartments where pets were either a no-no or it was expensive to have one. Twenty-five years after moving to St. Louis I’m the manager for the building I live in, cats allowed, but still taking on an animal is a responsibility that needs major thought. Having started a second job the first of February I started seriously considering getting a cat. An opportunity arose when a friend of a friend needed to move and could not take her cat with her. She wanted to find a good home for said cat and my friend told her about me.

I’m not stupid and I quizzed this woman on the cat and then insisted on meeting said cat. With animals you never know if you and them will be a match (it’s kind of like dating *snickers*). Let’s just say the two of us hit it off. Sheba is a three-year old cat the color of storm clouds and has the brightest yellow eyes I’ve ever seen. She also thinks she’s in charge of the universe.

Both my friend and I expected drama when I took her home that first night. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Caution, yes, drama, no. The drama didn’t start for at least a couple of days. *laughs* She was fine unless she heard people in the hall or on the stairwell outside. She would skitter across the room as if the devil were after her and dive beneath the chair in the corner of the living room. No amount of begging and pleading would get her out for at least an hour. This behavior has settled down, but the mail carrier coming in through the security door still sends her into a tizzy.

Thank the goddess she’s litter box trained although she seems to think she needs to dig a hole to China to bury her business in. That lead to her spraying litter across the room at least a foot away, she then would panic and try to put it back in the box. Wow…first weird thing down two million to go.I got her a bigger litter box in hopes of the flying litter to stop which did absolutely nothing. Still cleaning up litter–oh, well.

Weird things abide in my home now. She’s very loud when she so desires and talks at me incessantly. A friend heard her over the phone the other night and said “Is that the cat?” followed by “She has an odd sounding voice.” My friend Tee thinks she has some Siamese in her since Siamese have a tendency to loud vocalization. Hell, I’m not sure what type she is nor do I care. As far as I’m concerned she’s a Heinz 57 aka a mutt like I am.

I can forgive about anything when it comes to humans and animals, but she has two habits that have gotten her into trouble a few times. She’ll go to bed with me (not a problem) even falls asleep curled in my arms. She learned the first night she could not sleep wrapped around my ankles without risking getting kicked off the bed by accident. I scared the poor thing half to death. The first thing that really pissed me off was the scratching. Yes, she still has her claws, but I trim her nails. The first time she did it was the first night, focusing on the plastic corner piece on my box springs. I yelled and she stopped only to start-up again 5 minutes later which in turn caused me to yell again. This started at 3 am and went on for a half hour until I apparently lost my ever-loving mind and decided the claws needed trimmed right then and there and could not wait until morning.

To Sheba’s horror she discovered herself trapped under a really pissed off owner’s arm who was wielding a set of clippers. Much howling and shrieking occurred (this from me) and whining from the cat. When she’d had enough she laid back her ears and hissed at me, baring sharp little teeth. What Sheba didn’t expect was me to hiss right back at her. You should have seen the look on her furry little face. She was pretty sure I’d gone insane. Suffice to say the claws were clipped right then and there without further ado. Upon her release she sought out her hidey hole beneath the aforementioned chair and I retired back to bed. You’d think she would hate me after this, but nope. I woke the next morning to find her curled next to my pillow, snoring away. Go figure…

The clawing did not stop though as I expected. It wasn’t until yesterday I realized she wasn’t doing any damage, but rather was using this as a way to wake me up. Every morning between 5:30 and 6:00 am she will try to wake me by head butting me. When this fails she starts the scratching until I yell her name and then she jumps on the bed, gets in my face, and meows loudly before settling down and going to sleep. What the hell? Seriously? What the hell, dude? This morning when she started I just said “Get up here, dumb ass.” which she did and we both went back to sleep. Enough said.

Her other habit was her collar. Sheba refused to keep her collar on despite my best attempts. I eventually realized it was the collar she came with that bugged her. I purchased a skinnier and more flexible collar and now when I get up no longer do I find the collar sitting in the middle of the rug in the living room.

Don’t get me wrong–I love her to death. She loves me, but for the first time in twenty-five years I’ve had to learn how to assert my dominance again with an animal and it’s a learning experience. Especially when said animal believes she’s the Queen of Sheba. As one friend said “Welcome to being owned by a cat.” Yeah, she thinks she owns me…maybe…

Until next time…Blessed Be! 😉

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2 comments on “Learning to Share Space with a Pet

  1. Jesse, I’m sure I’ve told you this before–but I love your blogs. If I could write blogs like yours, I’d probably actually do it. Instead, I look hopelessly at a blank page for a while and then go on to something else. Why can I write books but not blogs??? I really enjoyed this one, since I’m a cat person. We had a calico for 21 years, and our current owner is a striped tabby who is 15. She’s old enough that her bad habits, such as they were, were left behind with her youth, so mostly she’s just kow-towed to and worshipped as cats were meant to be.

  2. Thank you, Ruth. I appreciate the compliment. My blogs just decide to appear randomly and this one is all Sheba’s fault. 😀

    I really think the blogging thing is because of the way I discovered I was a writer. For as long as I can remember I always kept a journal/diary of some type. I never considered it true writing until I was in my late twenties when I started writing fiction.

    I had cats the entire time I was growing up and to be honest prefer them to dogs (although I do like dogs as well). Sheba is my first pet in 25 years and it took a little adjustment on both our parts. She’s now realized this is home and is starting to settle in although last night her constant exploration ended in taking down my bedroom curtain rod (don’t ask I don’t have a clue) and she let out a yowl that woke me up just as she leaped across me, bounced off the bed, and ran for the living room.

    Poor thing scared the shit out of herself. Hopefully there will be no more of that. *chuckles*

    Thanks for visiting. I always look forward to your comments. Now if I could just figure out what’s going on with Word Press. I hate it when it runs my paragraphs together. *rolls eyes*

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