Tuesday, June 28, 2016

When Life Hands You Manure, Grow Flowers

Boy, are my pets in rotten moods lately.  As usual they tend to take it out on me, like it's my fault their lives are falling apart.  And of course their lives are totally falling apart.  It's constantly ninety degrees, they don't get free-fed anymore, I'm at work eight hours a day, I don't let the cats go outside, and for the love of God, why do I never let them kill spiders?

My animals always let me know in no uncertain terms that they are pissed.  Willow pees on the floor. She likes to mix it up too.  Sometimes she pees on the plastic litter pads outside of the boxes downstairs, and sometimes she pees on the plastic sheet under her cage upstairs. Puckett yaks up her food.  When she's really mad she poops in my shoe.  Percy also yaks on the floor, but when he's really mad he releases his anal sacs all over my foot and leg to remind me that one does not mess with something that can release an overpowering stench.

If I painted a white stripe down his back, Percy could totally double as a skunk.

To be fair, my pets are probably pissed at me because I haven't been home a lot.  If I'm not at work, I'm in recovery, on a date, or at the coffee shop, writing.  I can't write at home.  My pets get in the way and don't allow me to get anything done.

Meanwhile Willow has peed on the floor three times this week (to be fair, she has gotten better since she no longer pees on the carpet). Puckett barfed twice.  Percy barfed once and released his anal sacs twice, and Tess has this annoying habit of pooping in the exact place she runs through when she's chasing flies outside.  I've read that animals don't like to eat, play or drink water in spots where they eliminate.  Cats especially are finicky about this which is why the litter boxes are downstairs and their food bowls are in the kitchen.  The only exception to that is Willow's cage.  Her litter box and food bowl are both in her cage, and if she doesn't want to eat where she shits then she should start thinking about maybe not peeing on the floor.  Tess, however, has no such reservations.  Her favorite place to chase flies is in the corner of the backyard where my little crab apple tree grows.  It is also her favorite place to poop.  She races around that tree several times a day and every time she tromps through the piles of shit she leaves behind.  I clean them up almost every day in the summer, but my God, can that dog poop.  I don't get it.  She eats once a day.  I fill her bowl up whenever it's empty because she is not a hog and only eats when she's hungry.  Usually she only cleans the bowl once or she snacks lightly throughout the day until the bowl is empty.  I have no idea where all this crap is coming from.  For a dog who eats so little, she sure does poop a lot.

The cats, on the other hand, eat constantly and so they also poop constantly.  I clean litter boxes three times a day, sometimes four depending on how smelly Percy decides to be.  That's his other trick.  When he's annoyed or huffy with me he somehow manages to generate the stinkiest nastiest dump any animal is capable of and usually right in the middle of my lunch.

It's been a smelly week.

When I'm in a rotten mood I generate emotional shit.  Of course one thing that will put me in a rotten mood is having cleaned the house and litter boxes top to bottom only to have Willow pee on the floor, Puckett yak on it, and Percy release some kind of stink so that the entire house needs airing out.  This happened the other night.  I fed my animals as soon as I got home from work.  The house stunk to high heaven indicating that Percy had recently been to the box so I cleaned all the litter boxes.  Willow proceeded to pee on the floor once all the boxes were clean (really, Willow?) and then Percy promptly barfed up the entire contents of his dinner all over the steps and then on the carpet downstairs.  He then went to use the litter box again.

It was a double whammy.

I yelled.  Willow fled.  Percy released his anal sacs.  Then he gave me the snottiest, shittiest look I've ever seen on that cute little black face and marched off.

I had to bleach everything - the floor, the litter boxes, the steps.  I am here to tell you, nothing smells worse than a male cat's anal sacs.  And no male cat takes greater pleasure in grossing humans out with it than Precious Percy.

One probably wonders why I keep these little bodily fluid factories around, but honestly the good really does outweigh the bad.  My emotional shit is worse than anything physical these three furballs can generate out of whatever orifice.  They put up with a lot more shit from me than I put up with from them.  My animals pick up whatever mood I'm in, so if I'm feeling pissy, they get pissy.  When I'm anxious and I make them nervous, causing the dog to pace and the cats to race through the house or scratch their scratching posts incessantly.  When I'm in a little too good of a mood, the cats race through the house, bouncing off the walls, and Tess leaps and bounds around me, usually narrowly missing my face with a paw she's waving around.  She and Percy like to wrestle.  Puckett and Percy also like to wrestle.  When I start dancing in the kitchen, the dog dances with me and the cats bounce all over the place like little rubber balls of fur.  If I dance or do Pilates downstairs, the cats all join me in a bit of Downward Dog and Planking, though the cats' idea of Planking is stretching full length on their sides either beside me or underneath my "Plank." By the way, trying to hold any Plank position for ten counts while a tail runs back and forth under one's nose is almost impossible.

Honestly, my pets are neurotic because I'm neurotic, so therefore their physical shit is generated by my emotional shit.

It can all be construed as my fault.  I may yell, but I'm not going to punish them for that.  As usual I bring all my shit and theirs on myself.  Theirs just happens to be more tangible, smells terrible, and is overall disgusting.  There is no doubt, however, that emotional shit is more toxic than anything that comes out of a cat.  Negative self-talk, depression, anxiety attacks, the constant spinning of one's mind imagining all the things that can go wrong are enough to lower the quality of one's life a lot worse than a few piles of kitty poo.  I am not a glass half full kind of person.  I never was.  I was always a bit more pessimistic than optimistic, preferring to call myself a realist.  I like to prepare for the worst, that way I'm never disappointed.  I like to base decisions and outcomes on what is most likely to happen due to history rather than what the most positive outcome might be.  I never like to get my hopes up to high.  I've been too jaded.  The funny thing about negative thinking and always expecting the worst is that it puts one in a rotten mood, and as demonstrated by my cats, rotten moods only produce more shit.  Because it has finally sunk in that shit only begets more shit, I've changed my outlook and tried something new: positive thinking, gratitude, and self-care and most importantly positive self-talk, because honestly cutting myself down is no fun.  I would never speak to a dear friend the way I talk to myself sometimes, so why should I treat myself any differently?  As much shit as they produce, my cats don't shit all over themselves, so why am I shitting on myself?

And you know what? I think it's working.  Having a more positive outlook on life has improved my writing, improved my relationships with friends and family and coworkers, and improved my attitude at work. It's also possibly attracting a better class of men and weeding out the worthless ones who aren't for real.  Little by little, even with my bad days and my funks, I'm feeling better and less hopeless about stuff in general.  I smile more, I laugh more, and I'm finding nuggets of fun in my day to day life.

I really am a professional shit shoveler which qualifies me for recognizing my own shit and starting to shovel it.  It's a stall-full, I'm not going to lie, but shovelful by shovelful, it's getting dumped in the wheelbarrow and taken to the manure pile.

Now if I can just figure out how keep up with shoveling the physical shit of my pets.  They may eventually bury me with it.

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