First things first: Alice is still alive. In fact, she’s started gaining weight – she’s up 25% from where she was when I left for Houston. That is pretty cool. However, you should get a load of her next to Jacob – the difference is staggering. He is about 2.5 times her weight.
The Twilight kittens have made it to another defining moment in kitten development: they’ve pulled all the toilet paper off the roll. I am so proud! It seems odd to say that, but I had a brief concern that the little ones wouldn’t be alive at this point, so I take my miracles where I can get them. The TP destruction just means that they are getting mischievous and looking for things to do.
Little Duck and Lamb are still as cute as ever. I think I can actually see them growing right before my eyes. Look at them:
I worried that Duck would be lonely while we were out of town last week, but he seems to be handling us traveling just fine. Serra, on the other hand, freaked out. For the first time in her life, Serra chose to pee in something other than her litter box – she used our (thankfully not yet packed) suitcase. I doused it with tons of Nature’s Miracle, and later tonight after I finish packing I am going to take my wet vac to the thing. I may have lost a suitcase.
The thing to remember here is, despite popular belief, it was not anger at us that drove Serra’s new choice of litter box. Barring a medical problem, it was most likely stress. When we take the suitcase out of the closet, it means that we are going to leave her and she has no idea when we are coming back. Serra’s very attached to me, so I am not surprised in the least that my absence makes her anxious. My guess is that she figured I couldn’t leave the house without that bag, so she soiled it to make me stay. Or maybe she just marked it so I would remember that I belong to her and I should come home soon.
There is a saying: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.” I am not sure who the true originator of this quote is – it’s been attributed to a few different people. In any case, I think a modified version of this statement makes sense when trying to interpret cat behavior: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by anxiety. Thinking about it that way will help you not get mad at the poor cat; rather, you’ll tend to feel a little more sorry for her than anything else. I know that there are plenty of people who just won’t see it that way, but I think it says more about those people than the cat. Personally, I’d rather not make up a reason to be mad at a creature (or person for that matter) when I don’t have to be. Anger takes too much energy for that.
I’ll give you another example of a commonly misinterpreted behavior: biting. Many believe that when a cat bites you, she’s just being mean. Nothing could be farther from the truth. You are way bigger than any cat – that alone can be intimidating. Maybe you unknowingly touched the cat in a place that hurt her. Or maybe she is redirecting her anxiety about environmental stresses (other cats, moving, new people in the house…) at you, a person who just happens to be in the way. In all of those cases, it isn’t anger, it’s stress. Having endured extreme stress on occasion, I understand what it’s like to have too much on your plate. Heck, I’d bite too if I weren’t afraid of catching something. In any case, I feel sorry for a cat that feels so backed into a corner that she has to bite me.
Those are my words of wisdom for this week. Who knows, maybe they’ll change the way you see life.
Edit: I always seem to speak too soon. I went in to visit the kittens tonight, and Alice was dead. It couldn’t have been more than an hour ago since she wasn’t cold yet and rigor mortis still hasn’t set in. At least it didn’t happen with the sitter.