Tuesday, December 15, 2015

How Could You Leave Me?!

My pets are very upset with me.  I spent four days in Colorado and came home to four very confused, very irritated animals.  They each compensate in different ways.  Tess is the least affected, I'm afraid to say, as she actually enjoys spending four days being completely spoiled by the Cowboy.  There are no boundaries when the Cowboy is in charge. Whenever I leave town, the Cowboy stays with the animals as he is the only one who can deal with their idiosyncrasies and put up with their codependency.  He is also the only person I trust to take care of the animals the way I do, though of course he falls short from my attentions as anybody would.  In my self-absorbed, egotistical mind no one can care for my pets the way I do, and they are used to a certain style of care and living that only the Cowboy can even hope to duplicate only because he was crazy enough to stay in a relationship with  me for three years.  He also continues to hang around despite the fact that our relationship is over and only friendship remains.

Of course he is also "Fun Dad" and doesn't enforce any of the rules and boundaries the pets are used to following.

I don't think Tess could bear a complete dissolution of my friendship with the Cowboy.  If I sent him away she would no doubt demand custody visits.

Because of this Tess is fine, if a bit clingier than usual.  It's the cats who are pissed.

Percy makes his displeasure known by being twice as obnoxious in yowling when using the litter box, terrorizing Willow twice as much, and making himself generally unpleasant though he still puts on a fairly good show of rubbing against my ankles and purring up a storm whenever he's near me.  When I leave the room he begins his mischief.  He's very obsessed with the Christmas ornaments and makes every effort to abuse them whenever he thinks he can get away with it.  The other night I heard a slight creak and went downstairs only to find Percy sitting on the table attempting to attack the garland wrapped around the railing overlooking the bottom level of my townhouse.  He jumped down as soon as he saw me so I know that he knows what he is and is not allowed to do.  He just enjoys pushing the envelope, and more so now that he is sure I deserve it anyway.  The look he shot me as he minced off was nothing short of a satisfied smirk.

He also lets me know that the Cowboy is the current favorite when he comes over.  Percy runs to him when he opens the door.  When I come home from work, Percy merely glares at me from his perch on his kitty shelf.

The nerve of me, going away for four days.

Puckett is very angry.  She has been a snotty bitch for two days now.  She refuses to purr when I try to snuggle her.  She makes a show of marching into the bathroom in the morning and giving me the "feed me" look, yet refuses to spend any more time in my presence than she has to.  She sits with her back to me rather than trying to crawl into my lap.  She comes slowly to the food bowl and eats with an air of reluctance, as though she wishes to punish me for leaving.  She doesn't come when I call as usual.  I have to go looking for her and then she challenges me with that unblinking gaze of hers, as if daring me to try and pet her.  She has never been a mean or aggressive cat. but one definitely knows when she is displeased with one's actions.  Where she is usually sweet and ready for a cuddle, she becomes aloof and distant.  She turns her head away, twists an ear to the side, gazes off in the distance or else looks right through one.  Getting back in her good graces always takes a few days and I'm lucky if she doesn't poop in my shoe.

And to add insult to injury, for the last two weeks she has been sleeping downstairs in the living room beside the heater while I watch my movies and work on my writing.  These last two days since I got back she has very pointedly been sleeping upstairs on the dog bed and refusing to have anything to do with me.

Willow is the opposite.  Instead of behaving angrily and sullenly, she is twice as clingy as usual.  Truly one has not felt the true impact of a cat who misses her human desperately than when one is attempting her Pilates and her cat is unashamedly under her nose.  I performed my twenty minutes of Pilates last night.  I did not do it alone.  I attempted the Saw.  Willow climbed up onto my extended leg and purred, trying to touch my nose with hers.  I flattened my back to stretch out my shoulders and Willow danced underneath my chest and ran her tail under my nose, making me sneeze.  Child's Pose turned into Cat Curled Between the Elbows Pose.  I did a thigh stretch and Willow's butt was in my face.  The Cat Stretch was performed with an actual cat beneath me.  Downward Dog became Upward Cat as she rolled under my face and stared lovingly up at me, purring as loudly as she could muster.  I finished my routine with some abdominal exercises while Willow rolled around on the carpet beside me, having a really good time doing her own Kitty Pilates.

I think I will probably think twice before leaving again.  I'm not sure I can handle the drama upon return.  I try to behave as though nothing has changed and keep things at status quo in order minimize the trauma of my leaving and returning, but it doesn't do any good.  Leaving my four codependent darlings just throws everything into disarray and urges them to the edge of collapse.  It doesn't help that we are now under a winter advisory and two weeks away from Christmas.  Between the barometric pressure and all the sparkly ornaments everywhere, along with the fact that I was gone for four days (might as well have been four years), my animals are complete basket cases.

I've already put in the order for four straitjackets.  Thank God for catnip and doggy biscuits both of which are shamelessly begged for at all hours, and freely given.

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