Well, well…look what I woke up to.
I knew this was coming up, and intended to post on my and Myryle’s two year anniversary on November 8th, but work ate my life and I missed it.
And the day that I brought this little freaky-deeky home deserves commemorating.
Even if I’m not completely sold on her innocence when it comes to my potential demise.
Death By Feline.
Sounds about right.
She was about a year and a half old when I got her, and I was her fourth owner in her short life, if you can believe that!
Believe me, there were days I certainly found it easier to believe than others. The two trips she’s sent me on – not the glamorous kind with beaches or all you can eat buffets, no.
The trips we’ve taken have been more along the lines of scabbed faces and broken teeth.
But there have been good times, too.
As soon as some come to mind, I’ll get them in here.
I call her The World’s Most Dangerous Feline. Alternating disturbing and dangerous.
For instance, witness disturbing:
I’ve refererred to her as Mistress Myrtle or just The Mistress for short, prompting The Silver Fox to share this photo with me.
Pretty spot on, considering what injuries she’s inflicted over the years. From grisly, like above to more playful-ish, like this one.
If that’s not the picture of affection…
She has started mellowing out. Or at least stopped treating my legs and wrist like this:I still have to keep my paper towels and TP stashed out of her reach. She still finds ways to both express her displeasure with me and drive me to the poor house in paper towel expenses, though.
She had a UTI somewhere back around 12 months ago. Of course, I only knew it because her cat litter clumps got a little…well, littler. As anyone who’s ever had a UTI knows, peeing when you have one hurts. As cat owners probably know, when cats associate pain with their litter box, they stop going there.
Fortunately, she moved from her litter box to my shower. I’m sure it wasn’t because she’s considerate and there’s a drain in there, no. Probably one of the Lost Boys I’ve <ahem> entertained (mildly by Portland standards, I’m sure) peed in the shower and she sensed it before I cleaned my shower.
However, when I am gone too long from home, she will also take to the tile in the bathroom or utility room to express her displeasure. Hence, the continued exorbitant paper towel expenses.
Eventually, she began optimizing her time by eliminating the trip between her litter box to poop and the tub to pee. Instead of peeing in the damn box, she started pooping by the toilet.
I know who’s boss.
What I was spending on paper towels was at least offset by a meager savings on cat litter.
Still, if she’d asked my opinion..
During this cat box demonstration of feline disobedience, Myrtle was also starting to become more cuddly.
That’s a big plus!
AKA: mostly why I wanted a cat, independent but cuddly.
I chose poorly.
Thanks for that pro-tip.
While she still freaked out if I came at her too quickly when petting her, she was starting to crawl into my lap while I watched tv.
Usually right about the time that I need to refresh my drink or get rid of one of the drinks I had consumed earlier…
Sometimes she just lounges atop the glass coffee table near me.
No, wait…that was her hunting toes. At least she’s stopped stalking my ankles like prey. That usually happens when I’m not too alert and ends in injury of one sort of another.
Trust me, she does it, though.
Fine, don’t trust me.
In another show of – what I’m told is – trust behavior, she frequently exposes her belly while chilling. That’s good…I want her to be a happy kitty! And not just on the coffee table. She gets her Baby Seal pose going everywhere: coffee table, floor, dinner table, kitchen counter…
She don’t even care.
So, back to that cuddly stuff.
Since she began settling in, she’s favored sleeping in the bed, day or night. Initially- y’know – for the first year and a half – that was dead center during the day and as far away from me as possible while still being on the bed when I was in it.
Apparently, she’d put a feline flag on the bed and claimed it as part of the Empire of Myrtle without my knowledge.
But six months ago, she started moving closer. It started with her sleeping by my calf, occasionally revisiting her flaying skills on my ankles and toes. As she tempered her killer instincts – inasmuch as they involved me as prey – she began moving up my thigh.
I was pretty happy with this development. Not just because it meant fewer transfusions for yours truly, but also because I foresaw this as the last stop before cuddling like spoons with ma lil kitteh.
Oh, yeah. Predict a cat’s behavior. Go ahead and try.
She moved from the outside of my thigh to the inside. I usually sleep on my side or on my back with my legs crossed at the ankles…so she was basically just laying in the crevice formed by my thighs.
Or the crevasse formed between my legs when I slept on my side in about the same position a body lands in after a failed attempt at flight. Again, she usually found this comfy spot about 30 minutes before I had to pee.
She is loathe to reposition once she settles, let me tell you.
Her slight overreaction usually involves an insistence that she be rewarded for met magnanimously allowing me to move. Hence the baby seal physique that compliments her Baby Seal pose so well. In my efforts to minimize treat-age in her diet and maximize my potential to return to sleep, she began to climb up on my chest and sit.
More feline disobedience.
When my reaction failed to produce results, she settled in and laid down on my chest.
Overtime, she began to nurse, making me feel as if I were the treat.
Nursing left a big wet spot on my bedding.
And, then I was up.
Score 1 for Myrtle’s long game.
Once we were back to our nightly cuddling detent; her by my leg side, me free to hit the head without traumatizing her comfort, we both found enough sleep.
Me: 4-8 hours.
Her: 16-20 hours.
A couple of months ago, I woke up with my legs in a figure 4 and Myrtle curled up and purring like a monster truck between them.
I am unsure how this happened.
But now it happens every night.
My reward here, is that after a couple of months of her vaguely menacing my genitals while I sleep, she has begun using her litter box again.
Not every time she goes and certainly not every day.
In a rage of frustration after taking a five minute shower only to open the shower curtain and find shed peed on my bath mat…
Or letting her run the hallway to find she’d peed on my doormat, strange theme…
Or thinking I’d outsmart her by showering without putting my bath mat down until I was ready to get out of the shower…
…only to fine Lake Cat Pee’s tide drifting toward the shower, well…I’d come to a point of “It’s her or me”.
My last ditch effort here in salvaging our relationship was to begin shutting off the bathroom door and putting her litter box in front of the door. Subtle, no? And by litter box, I mean the fourth new litter box of our relationship.
I was rewarded with mixed results.
A pee in the box and a poop on the laundry room floor.
A poop in the box and a pee on the laundry room floor.
Both in the box!
This last led me to try and hug The Mistress, which sent her into freaky-deeky mode.
Fine, I’ll just leave some treats in the table for when she calms down.
The next day, literally the next day, I came home to poop in the box and a reminder – in the form of Lake Cat Pee on the bathroom floor – that Myrtle can open doors.
All of this made me reluctant to ask a friend to watch Myrtle while I was away this week at Seminar..
The Silver Fox was still on his month long Iberian Adventure.
I really didn’t want to expose a less initiated friend to Myrtle’s pee-cadillos.
I debated just leaving a big bowl of kibble and bowls of water everywhere. Mom-Donna suggested boarding her…too expensive. That got me thinking, though, and I was able to find a pet sitter on Craigslist who would come once a day for $10. I booked her…and then she didn’t show up for our key exchange date.
Fucking – audience participation time! You choose:
A) Portland flakes;
So, I was back to the buncha-food, buncha-water plan.
Linda Belcher invited me to lunch.
After I casually bitched about my plight, she practically insisted I should have just asked her to begin with. It’s right between her office and her bus stop, anyway.
I tried talking her out of it and we settled on her stopping by my place for a glass of wine on her way home while I was gone.
If some wet cat food happened to fall into a bowl for The Mistress, so much the better.
I got nightly pics of Myrtle along with texts about how sweet my cat is while I was gone. On the night of my return, I got an excited text from Linda about how Myrtle had been so good while I was gone…using her box the entire time.
Sure enough, I came home to a box littered with poops and clumps. I rewarded my beastie with treats and sat down for a little snack myself before bed. After finishing her snack, Myrtle gave me the cold shoulder.
The next day, I woke up and discovered a couple of dried up pees and poos in the laundry room, just as I suspected.
That’s my Myrtle.