Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Terrible Twos

My little girl is two years old, and boy do I feel every bit of it. Well, technically she is just over 5 months old, but according to the people who decide these kinds of things, cats age at a rate of five to six years for every one human year. Thus, what should be my adorable 6 month old is actually my hellacious 2-3 year old. I have never been particularly fond of human children at any age, and if Tobey (the kitty in question) is any indication of what motherhood is like, I stand by my convictions.

It seems that Tobey passed through her cuddly kitten stage about two weeks after I adopted her from an animal shelter. Apparently, all she needed was food, shelter, and love to really bring out the psychotic cat that was buried within. Tobey leaps about, claws unsheathed, literally swinging from one up-right upholstered surface to another by her razor-blade nails. (Think curtains to bed skirt, or pants leg to chair back... She also makes sure to take a swing past anything silk or satin should it dare to show itself in the room). I bought her a scratching post. She ignores the scratching post and scratches the stucco wall.

Besides being able to climb surfaces with her little kitten claws, Tobey likes to play a little game called, "I peed in the corner for no apparent reason. Again." Tobey has a litter box that she uses regularly. From day one, she had no problem adapting to it. There was not an accident for weeks until BAM! one day, she just pees on the carpet, four feet from her litter box. I scolded her firmly but gently, cleaned it up with carpet cleaner, put her in her box and scratched her paws around while lovingly reinforcing her (basic training for box use + a little child psychology). She indicated she understood. After two days of model litter box behavior, she does it again. Same spot. No remorse. I go to my sister for help.

Beth, a veteran mother of twins (chocolate point Siamese cats), waved it off with the air of superiority that all veteran mothers have when we new moms cry for help. "You have to use a cleaner that neutralizes the odors," she explains, "or else kitty can still smell the urine and thinks it's an acceptable potty spot. The same thing happened with Dixon when he was that age..." I buy Resolve Pet Stain and odor Remover (free plug for Resolve!). I thoroughly clean the area. Tobey uses her box. A few nights later, I wake up to the sound of kitty nails on carpet. I walk into the bathroom and there is Tobey, trying to cover up a new urine stain in the exact same cleaned-with-Resolve-Pet-Stain-and-odor-Remover-spot! She looks up guiltily. I admonish her more firmly. It's 3 o'clock in the morning and I don't feel like following the scolding with a hug and reassurance that she is not a bad kitty, but she has done something bad. I do so anyway. I clean the stain with the Resolve. I go back to bed.

A week went by and the corner remained clean. Yesterday morning I was rushing around, getting ready for work, and just as I was about to kiss her goodbye, she runs into the bathroom and pees in the corner. "Why, Tobey?!" I exclaim. "WHY?!" I clean up the spot with the Resolve. I scold Tobey. I am 5 minutes late for work. I go back to Beth. She looks slightly amused. Regaining her professionalism, she waves her hand around again and says "Tobey thinks that is HER spot. You need to put something there." "What if she just chooses somewhere else to make "her spot?" I ask. Beth chuckles. When I return from work that evening, I put a large shoe box over "her spot." She sniffed it and walked away. I went about my business. I did the laundry. I checked the shoe box, no problems so far. I went to Jujitsu. When I returned, the shoe box lay unmolested. No problems. I walked into my bedroom and stopped short. She had peed on my bed.

Beth laughed for a full five minutes. I have yet to see the humor.

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