Thursday, April 3, 2014

Spring Fever


My animals have absolutely had it with the endless snow and winter wonderland and I have absolutely had it with their lack of tolerance for the crappy weather. It has been a long, miserable winter with three days snowstorms, grey cloudy days, subzero temperatures, a high-energy German shepherd cooped up for hours indoors, and three unimpressed cats sleeping beside the heater, paws covering their faces.

We've had several teasers. The weather would bloom sunny and gorgeous only to plunge headfirst back into a wasteland of snow, wet, and cold. Twice now these teasers have sent the cats into performing their own personal three-ring circus and encouraging the dog to forget her good manners when walking on a leash and try to drag me into oncoming traffic, to say nothing of practically plowing over me on the stairs.

I believe we have finally hit the beginning of spring after this last particular nasty bit of business where the snow fell so wet and heavy, it slid off my car in one big white sheet and froze the roads over, closing I90 from here to Buffalo and from here to the Montana state line. Once again this means my animals are assuming spring has begun and it is time to do the “Spring is Here” happy dance and drive their mistress crazy.

Each one has his or her own way of celebrating. Percy is the most entertaining, and he is the ringleader of this three-ring circus, as well as the acrobat, the trapeze artist, and the “trained big cat.” I guess that makes me the lion tamer and I am doing a bang up job with it, let me tell you. To give an example, a few weeks ago, I was in the bathroom with the door open. Tess was lying right in the doorway, her head and front paws draped mournfully over the edge of the linoleum, eyes gazing at me as though to ask me if we were ever going to do anything fun again. A moment later this small black shape launched itself over the dog, all four legs extended out front, tail stretched out behind. He landed with a thump, galloped into the bedroom with the sound of a stampeding buffalo, and stopped short by the backdoor and yowled. Tess' head shot up and she looked around, eyes wide and startled, before she got to her feet and slunk downstairs to the kitchen.

Every evening Percy tears through the house, up and down the stairs, yowling and caterwauling like the devil himself. Then he'll slip into his litterbox, do his business (speaking of a nasty bit of business), scratches forever, and then jumps back and out and continues to race through the house yowling.

I took him to the vet to see if there was anything wrong with his delicate tummy.

There wasn't.

Puckett has her own methods. She has been on perpetual PMS which is no small feat for a cat with no uterus who is generally a sweet unobtrusive creature. Puckett has been scratching everything and anything that gets in her way, leaving deep claw grooves in the wood of my railings, and has even started scratching the couch. To remedy this the Cowboy fashioned rough wooden braces over the edges of the couch so she can at least scratch something harmless, and wrapped protective foam around the railings after smoothing the wood down with wax. And what does Puckett do in response? She scratched around the coverings and threw me a saucy look as if to let me know that she would scratch whenever and wherever she chose and there was nothing I could do about it.  I swatted her hiney for that one. It was barely a tap, not even with the same strength used for a vigorous patting and cuddling.

You would have thought I had beat her like a redheaded stepchild with the look she shot me. Her large green eyes were wide and filled with such searing indignation as she glared at me and wrapped her tail around her body. Then she turned her back to me, whipped her tail into the air and flounced off, ears slicked back against her head.

Since then the precious darling has been one hell of a moody little bitch. If I pet her she attacks me with her paws, even using her claws to leave welts in my skin. She gives me snotty looks, chirps at me demandingly when its feeding time, and turns her butt to me more times then her face so that I'm starting to wonder whether she's coming or going.

Willow has reverted to her usual pissy tricks, and when I say pissy, I mean pissy. She left me a present on the floor next to the litterbox again and scratches the carpeting on the stairs with wild abandon. When I snap my fingers at her she runs away and then looks at me with this vacant stare like she can't figure out what I'm so upset about. She has developed a new intimacy with her cage for her little missing the litterbox trick. And she teases Percy incessantly. Usually he's the one to pick on her but lately if she is feeling ignored she will roll on the floor enticingly and run after him, pawing at his tail and trying to get him to chase her. Then he does and she trips over nothing, rolls across the floor, and lands on her back, waving her paws in Percy's face. Percy had enough the other night and trounced her pretty good. She responded by hiding under the desk. When he gave up and wandered off to amuse himself with catnip, she darted out and followed him. Another time Percy chased her across the living room and she tried to jump on the desk. She missed and fell back, landing with an ungraceful thud on the carpet. She immediately began to wash.

So did Percy.

She uses the same trick on the dog. If Tess has the audacity to walk by her, Willow shrieks and throws a fit, waving her little claws at Tess all threateningly. Tess just looks at her sideways and moves away, ears back, with a look of confusion. As she walks away Willow will sniff her hindquarters and swipe at her tail.  Oh, the drama.

Tonight I thought maybe the gang had settled down a bit. I was in my bedroom, reading, and gathered around the bed from the side to the foot were all four animals, coexisting peacefully. Tess lay protectively by the side of the bed. Percy stared out the backdoor. Willow was under the corner of the bed and Puckett was curled up between Tess' front paws.

It only took Percy to decide that everyone was being way too good. He attacked Willow who streaked from the room. Tess got up, seemingly annoyed with Puckett's overbearing attention, and left the room as well. A moment later Puckett ran after her. I heard a crash as Willow jumped into her cage and Percy tried to follow. I gave up and got up as well. Percy abandoned Willow and enticed the dog into wrestling with him. Puckett ran to her food bowl and demanded dinner. I started vacuuming and Tess galloped through the house in excitement.  Percy jumped up on the railing and slipped into his tightrope walking routine before he tried to attack Puckett. Chaos ensued.

Well, spring's off to a great start. How long until summer?

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