You know how when cat owners get together (or dog owners) and they start talking about things their pets did? Like, “OMG my cat totally chases after toaster oven cords, ha ha!” and the other person quickly (so as to get in his or her cat story before the first person can continue) goes, “Yeah I know, my cat plays in our car engine, you wouldn't believe the cat hair problem I have in the oil filter!”
I don’t do that.
My cats are almost entirely useless. I kind of like them, but they definitely are more annoying than useful. They eat, poop, puke, sleep in a tireless and repetitive pattern. When they meow, my eardrums want to rupture. Their eating and crapping costs me a fortune in food and litter, and don't even talk to me about the time I caught one of them dragging their ass across the carpet like a dog. Yes. CATS. And mine are useless and gross.
However, I like cats in general. And because I am unwilling to put them down (although I gave it considerable thought after the ass-dragging incident) nor give them away, I thought it prudent for the sanity of my family to find alternate uses for them.
Ally, a 16-year-old tabby, is a screechy old crone whose meow is annoying as she is unattractive. Ally’s sole purpose in life is to sit right next to me, no matter what. Especially if there’s no space. At first I fought this. For years I would push her away (nicely of course) or prevent her or otherwise thwart her close-cuddling attempts. But then I discovered that she doubles really well as a side table. Yes! Now I use her to put my papers on, and she doesn’t mind. See the picture at right. There is me (in purple check jammy bottoms) and my laptop on my lap, and Ally as a side table holding my papers. Good girl, Ally!
Max, a younger and more attractive cat, is a different story. When a delivery truck comes to our house or passes by, he runs upstairs and hides. His ears go stiff and his eyes look wild. He is utterly convinced that one of these days a man in a delivery truck will burst through the front door and mow him down with a tommy gun. As our street is a busy street, his day is fraught with spikes in his kitty adrenaline. And God help him when a delivery is for us and he can hear the thump of feet on the stairs to our front door.
When Max is not taking cover, he lounges on the floor, exhausted from his constant state of worry. And so we found Max’s alternate purpose -- as a playmat for the whippersnapper's toys. Those of you who are boys, or who have had boys, or otherwise grew up with boys, will know that little boys often like to set their toys on a base of some sort. Anything will do. And that’s where Max comes in. Observe:
So you see, your pets need not be annoying and burdensome. No! Make them work for you!