Monday, November 17, 2008

I am a little ashamed to admit it...

but this morning I lost it with Lily and Max. Yesterday, though wonderful, being as how I got to get together with Kari and laugh and gossip (and plan our workshop), was a long day, being as how when I go over to the mainland I also try to cram in all the shopping I need to do (Fred Meyer, Trader Joe's and Costco, mainly for staples). I didn't get home till 5 p.m or so, dog-tired and ready to crash early.

Max had been outside since I'd gotten up that morning, about 5 a.m., so he was waiting for me at the door, snarfed down every morsel of food in the dish, and was out like a light all evening. I went to bed about 10, thinking I would at least be sleeping till 5:15 or so, which is when the cats normally come scratching at the door.

(Music changes to grim, dark minor chords) At 4:50 a.m. came the first scratching sounds. "NO!" I hollered at the door, which normally sends them packing. At 4:55 came the second event. "NONONONONO!" I shrieked, knowing as I did that there was no chance I'd go back to sleep after this outburst but hoping that Lily had gotten the message and would wait awhile longer. At 5:00 came the third scratching accompanied by a "mew" that I knew had to be Max, because Lily's mew is much more strident. She had clearly set him up for it.

This time, I threw back the covers, stomped over to the door shouting NONONONONONO at the top of my lungs, wrenched open the door, ready to chase cats as far as I needed to chase them, mentally reviewing how stupid this all looked. Of course, no cats were there, having fled at the first STOMP, and I went sourly back to bed, irritated and feeling foolish to boot, regretting it all but trying to think how I can re-train them to quit scratching at the door in the morning.

I managed to stay in bed till 5:30, at which point I got up and found Max and Lily groveling in the hallway outside my room, Lily lolling on her back in submissive (yeah, right) pretense and Max bouncing up and down embodying the "Oh boy, food food food!" message. Lily, who is the prime culprit here, is neurotic enough without my having probably sent her into a decline for the rest of the day by MY neurotic behavior. For the moment, she has assumed the fetal position next to the heater, looking fragile, if a 15 pound fat calico can look fragile.

But seriously, is there any way to address this without raising my blood pressure? I would be grateful for suggestions and would prefer not to hire the local cat whisperer just yet.

8 comments:

Lizard Eater said...

No suggestions, but Oh My am I laughing out loud. No, no, I'm not laughing at you, dear. Really, I'm laughing with you. Really. snicker. Truly. Guffawwwwww.

I don't do well with no sleep. I have all kinds of evil fantasies when someone wakes me up, like dropping said child over the balcony.

I've never acted on any of those. And just to be on the safe side, I'll never take those sleeping medicines that cause you to do things in your sleep.

Miss Kitty said...

Sometimes I lose it with my kittehs, too. You haven't scarred them or anything. My mom says the best thing to do is ignore them...or punt them off the bed.

They won't starve...but they'll certainly be PO'd.

ms. kitty said...

Well, they are punted off the bed every night about midnight so that I can sleep in a more comfortable position than pinned down on one side by Loosy who insists on sleeping under my chin, Lily who wants to lie on my legs, and Max who has my back. They expect that and seem okay with it. And once I'm awake, I don't usually go back to sleep, so ignoring is easier said than done. But I have to admit, ignoring is probably the best tactic.

ms. kitty said...

I appreciate your not REALLY laughing at me, LE. REALLY I do! No, if I were reading this in somebody else's blog I would be rolling on the floor and also tut-tutting a bit at how out of control she was. So I don't blame you if you are doing the same. I was out of control. Good thing I don't have blood pressure problems---yet.

Joel Monka said...

You address any cat issue kind of like working with toddlers. First, you accept that there will be tantrums at first; the only viable act is to ignore them. Second, cats (as I'm sure you've discovered) are creatures of habit- NEVER reinforce anything you don't want to be an established ritual, for they will make it so. But... you can also use that tendency to your benefit. For example, I leave only dry food out for regular consumption, but in the evening, around 8:00, I'll split up canned food (or leftovers that include the gravy they crave- not enough for a whole meal, just a beloved snack). The first time, they treated it as a random treat; the second time, it became an ancient tradition. Thus, they all show up at 8:00, to avoid missing out. (stragglers find the dishes empty- so no one straggles) I also made a point of calling, "Hello, kitties!" when opening the cans- so now, when the catsitter comes to the house when we're away, she need only shout "Hello kitty!" and everyone comes running.

Cats are also bribeable, and will negotiate; if they are tearing up something, don't just take it away- they'll go right back after it later, and might even consider it a game. But if you offer them something else to destroy, they'll probably make a willing swap- just realise that if they do, the new item is theirs forever.

In the specific example you gave, what might work is to ignore any pleading while your door is closed- but create some new ritual, like my cans ritual, for when YOU'RE ready for them. Cats tell time amazingly well, and will probably cooperate.

ms. kitty said...

More good ideas---thanks, Joel. The sacred ritual thing I have learned the hard way, all right.

Sandy said...

I found you through Miss Kitty... and I loved this post (and all the comments - especially LE's). I have been there, still doing that! LOL! I have quit complaining to the kittehs because I finally figured out that I was the one that made them that way! SIgh...

ms. kitty said...

Hi, Sandy, welcome aboard! Stay in touch. I checked out your blog---so that's where Miss Kitty got the meme she tagged me for. Hmmmm--it has to wait till I get Sunday's sermon done.