Posts Tagged ‘humor’

Reader Questions: Nancy in Omaha

Dear Nancy,

You are not alone. Many households struggle with the same problem. Here are some suggestions.

First, remove the beautiful heirloom glass vase and stash it away in the closet. Heirloom glass vases do not belong on the same table with a cat. Although cats are extremely careful with heirloom glass, sooner or later, in the excitement over a bird, an accident is bound to happen.

Second, you might want to remove the chairs surrounding the table, especially if they are the kind with high back. Having to jump over this hurdle is sure to increase the unintentional scratching of chair backs and table.

It goes without saying that the tablecloth should be removed and reserved for special occasions, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, when your guests can take turns guarding the table. Make sure you invite enough guests to guard the table at all time, and of course extra vigilance is needed when setting the table for the big meal. Cats are more excited about live birds than dead turkeys, but there’s a certain allure to that turkey you lovingly prepared (for your guests, not the cat).

Final note, over time, your tabletop will inevitably resemble an erosion plane. No, you will not need to cover it with a tablecloth. But to avoid the cost of a professional refinisher, you might want to visit one of the many DIY websites that teach you how to refinish the table yourself. I can assure you, based on feedback from other cat lovers, that there is great satisfaction in learning a new skill, such as dining room table refinishing, especially as it also applies to other wood surfaces in your home.

Finally, if DIY is not your thing, you may want to consider purchasing a cat tree and placing it by the window.


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I volunteer at a cat adoption center. Though non-paying, the job has its perks (paid in otherwise non-adoptable cats) and satisfactions (The stitches from Freddie’s bite came out yesterday and the wound is no longer infected.)

I truly enjoy helping people find the perfect cat. “No, Freddie does not normally bite – he’s the sweetest kitty ever – but he lost it when we shoved him into a cage.” One thing though never ceases to bug me. It’s those clueless people who come looking for a cat that does not shed.

Well, people, cat hair comes with the cat. Usually attached, but often (daily) detached (for evolutionary reasons that I can’t fathom). So you either forget about a cat or get a cat and get over it. Every day is a bad hair day when you share your home with a cat (or a dog, or your children – they all shed!). That’s what vacuuming is for. Bear in mind that some (most) cat hair adheres with tenacity stronger than super glue, in which case vacuuming is counter productive. And unless your income is in the top 5% of US households, forget hair rollers, as you need three per day (with one cat) to maintain your home in it’s pre-cat hairless condition.

So if you’re interviewing for a job, it’s a must to keep a separate pristine set of clothes at your friend’s – I mean the friend who does not own a cat or a dog, or any other hair-shedding living thing. I’m giving you this advice from experience. Once a friend of mine went on a job interview for which she was eminently qualified – and this is a real story with sobering consequences. She was confident the job was hers because, well, she was the only candidate.

She didn’t get the job! We did a lengthy, tearful, post-mortem. Was it her curly hair (not professional)? Maybe the skirt was too short? Or – the unthinkable – her typing at 120 WPM too slow?

No, it was conspicuous cat hair on her black suit.

Moral of the story: (a) If you want a job at a law firm, you need to look dignified, and (b) if you’re going to a job interview in a black suit, you’d better own a black cat.

Final note, if you need that job real bad, Cat Adoption Team of Wilmington has plenty of black cats for adoption at PetSmart. Adoption hours: daily 5:00-7:00 PM and all day Saturday and Sunday.

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It was Saturday morning. I was at the computer applying pale peach nail polish to my fingernails. In the middle of doing that, I had an idea for a story and started writing. Kippy, one of my seven kitties, was lounging on the desk, helping the story along by alternately pushing the cap lock or tab keys as needed.

It is Saturday morning. The forecast has said fifty percent chance of rain and the sky is a flawless blue. She is sitting at the kitchen table, her fingers spread in front of her, waiting for the pale peach nail polish to dry. The window panes are projecting sharp sun-yellow rectangles on the butcher block. She looks at the pattern of light, regular, repeating, until it cascades off the table onto the linoleum floor. She is irritated, but she doesn’t know why. Her daughter is in the living room at the piano, playing Bach. The rhythm lurches forward and stumbles, corrected wrong notes punctuating the music with randomly placed exclamation marks. Hell, thinks Carla in her irritation, the girl has lead fingers, tin ears. She wonders why she has been paying Mrs. Kramski for piano lessons the past six years, why Heather continues doggedly to practice, practice, practice, without the thrill of accomplishment, without hope. She remembers the old joke: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice, and she sneers.

She thinks she has pinpointed the source of her discontent, until her eyes focus on what she has been staring at absentmindedly all along: the bottle of nail polish, bathed in the yellow light. “Why on earth did I buy pale peach?” she thinks.

The doorbell rings, mercifully suspending the piano playing in mid-phrase. The bell also distracts Carla from her irritation and she is unhappy. Carla likes to wallow in her moods undisturbed, likes to travel through the nuances of her feelings, as a befuddled tourist would navigate through a foreign city without a map, trying to decipher the unfamiliar landscape.

The doorbell rang. I stopped writing and got up to answer the door. When I returned, there was an overturned nail polish bottle on my desk and a lovely pail peach paw print on the black keyboard. I am irritated and I do know why.

Filed under: Cats help life imitate art.
Alternative filing: Fiction writing with cat-assist.

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Twitter Trouble

This past winter a lightning struck a tree in my yard and through my cable modem zipped into my computer. In less time it takes to Twitter “what the …” my hard drive was forever divorced from my motherboard and consequently my motherboard committed suicide by incineration. Luckily my hard drive remained intact and now resides in an older discard computer from my computer technician.

Since then I’ve had twitter trouble. Not TWITTER trouble. Just twitter. My hard drive has developed a twitter, indistinguishable from the twitting of the Chickadees (I think chickadees) perching on the intact half of the tree struck by lightning.

I think I might take up Twittering as a distraction from that twitter. Or maybe it’s time for a new computer, or just time to unplug and listen to the birds.

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Before you set out to get a cat, you should be very clear on why you’re getting a feline companion.

Today I’d like to discuss one important reason to get a cat: a health reason.  Studies have shown that petting a cat lowers your blood pressure.  As so many Americans suffer from this silent affliction – and you may be one of them – to safeguard your health, you should definitely look into adopting a cat.

A minor caveat.  Owning a cat to lower blood pressure is counter-indicated if your blood pressure rises when any of the following occur:

–  Your cat helps you cook by giving directions from the top of the refrigerator

–  Your cat helps you cook by removing certain non-essential ingredients from the recipe, such as the chicken from your chicken casserole

–  Your cat helps you cook by adding essential ingredients to your chicken casserole, such as a dead chickadee it hunted especially for the occasion

–  Your cat helps you cook by garnishing your creamed chicken casserole with a light sprinkle of dark cat hair

If you don’t cook, this caveat does not apply to you.  However, watch out for other potentially blood pressure raising cat behaviors, such as new couch scratching, spraying your grandma’s heirloom dresser, or licking your ears at 5:00 AM.

If your heart is still set upon owning a cat, make sure you counter these ill-effects of cat ownership by petting your new cat for at least an hour in the morning, and a recommended two-three hours before bedtime.

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My cat’s tail was high up in the air, and mine, if it hadn’t been extinct for somewhere between 40,000 and one million years, would have been in the same position. We were both ready to pounce on the green lizard between us. The poor lizard had no idea that its life span would be determined in the next few second by who would win the fight over it, my cat or me.

Suddenly my teenage daughter,accompanied by her two best friends, burst out of the house.

It’s bad enough to have a geriatric mother (Whether you’re 39, 49 or 59, as far as your teenage kids are concerned, you’re way past your prime.). But the humiliation of your friends seeing your mother in a cat pose on the lawn is hard to describe!

Moral of the story: next time you assume a cat pose, do it in yoga class.

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I knew it had been a bad idea when I opened the kitchen cabinet and an empty space stared at me where I had stashed the 96 cans of cat food I had bought on sale just before I left for Italy.

My fears were confirmed when Kippy and Gingitt waddled into the kitchen.

Reason #1: Your ex may be trying to be super nice to you to compensate for how horrid he had been in the past. He would therefore overfeed your cats while cat sitting them. The result is, where you once had six cats, you now own six plump furry pillows with cute cat ears and a tail, tossed here and there throughout the house. Come to think of it, it’s not such a bad idea to convert cats to pillows: they’re cute pillows, warm in the winter, and self-cleaning. Two drawbacks however are that they aren’t always where you want them to be (like on the couch) and that they tend to squeal when sat upon.

An alternative explanations is that your ex may be trying to be super nice to you because he’s always been a super nice person. In that case, two questions must be raised. One, you could have anticipated the results, so why ask him to cat sit in the first place?  And the second and more critical question, if he was always so nice, why did you make him your ex?

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