My pets have stopped listening to me.
Don't get me wrong. I have never been under the delusion that they listen to me much at all, but they have, over the years, learned a little bit of discipline that keeps them mostly off the furniture, out of the trash can, and for the most part, from sitting on my face at night while I sleep.
Not that they don't push buttons every chance they get.
I am lucky in the sense that, given what I've viewed in other homes, my animals don't really run the show (ha ha ha ha). I just let them believe they do, like Puckett. (Of course as I write this, Tess is licking the recycling bin). Puckett believes she is queen bee and then is genuinely shocked (and disgusted) when I demonstrate an air of discipline, demanding she stop doing something she isn't supposed to be doing.
For example, the rule in my house for as long as I've had the cats is that they are perfectly welcome on the bed. They are just not welcome at the head of the bed near the pillows. They are certainly not allowed ON the pillows. I have allergies and rather than get rid of the cats, I assume that moving their furry proximity down towards the feet will relieve these allergies somewhat. Silly human, I know, but it was worth a shot. The cats have recognized this rule for some time now until recently. I found Puckett one morning sacked out lengthwise along the pillow, her head practically resting on it. When I picked her up to move her back to her designated area, she dug all four sets of claws into the bedspread letting me know that if she is going to be moved, the bedspread is going with her. I moved them all into a pile onto the foot of the bed. She removed herself from the pile and marched back up to the head of the bed, shooting me a look that was the equivalent to a middle finger at twelve.
As if that wasn't bad enough, she has taught Willow to follow her example. They are all constantly teaching each other bad habits. Now Willow and Puckett are sacked out alongside my pillows, shedding as much hair and dander as they can that if I don't vacuum the bedspread every night before I got to bed I will surely suffocate, or at the very least wake up in the middle of the night with the feeling of a cat sitting on my face.
Tess, who has been an angel lately on walks and in the dog park alike, managed to break away from me the other day and run down the poor mailman. In her defense she did listen to me the first time I hissed at her and told her no and to stay. She stayed. For a second. Then the temptation became too much for her and she barreled into the poor man, begging for a scratch behind the ears. Luckily for me and for her, the man was a dog sucker and Tess is not one of those dogs that hates uniforms. Usually when I let her run loose and I tell her to stay or to leave something she is very good about following orders. I could almost see her middle finger as she pranced away from me, tail waving, to insist on her position as center of the universe to the mailman.
Plants are off limits to the pets in my house and they know it. I have one that sits on a shelf inaccessible to the cats. It's been there for at least four years. I inherited this poor plant from the library. Up until about a week ago it has sat in its space unmolested. Now Willow has figured out how to get up on the lower shelf in order to reach up and gnaw the lowest hanging leaves off the plant. She left a trail of them the other night for me to find when I got home from work, I blamed Percy since he's the one who usually attacks anything that isn't edible and then mopes around for hours with a bellyache. I caught Willow today clambering up onto the shelf and sniffing through the leaves. There were teeth marks in several of the leaves. I told her no and shooed her away, then went back to my book. Not a minute later she was up there again, more quietly I might add, chewing on the leaves.
It has always amazed me that a cat can sound like a herd of elephants when stampeding through the house, but when they are getting into something they shouldn't they are basically soundless. I have lived with the little beasts long enough that I can pretty much sense when they are doing something they shouldn't.
Willow has also began to systematically dismantle her cage at night when I'm asleep. She does this at the decibel level only a gnat can hear.
Tin foil has taken care of the problems currently, both with the bed and the plant shelf. When I resort to tin foil (it's not the first time), I really get daggers and a middle finger shot my way through three pairs of eyeballs. The Cowboy has reinforced the cage and Tess, well, she may have to go back to leash-walking if she can't control herself enough not to mow down every friendly face that happens across her path.
Of course, if she is going to stop listening to me and start running people down, the least she can do is find a hot guy that is suitable husband material.
Why these guys don't use their powers for good is beyond me. After all I feed them and provide them with a warm place to sleep. One would think I've earned something.