Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Keeping Down the Noise

So now I feel like a heel.

We’ve had Midgie for about a year now, ever since we liberated her from the local pound and brought her home in an old shopping basket.  And she’s been a fun cat to have around, in many ways.  She likes to sit on your lap and bump heads with you.  She’s affectionate, playful, and sweetly dim in that way that cats often are.  Mithra just flicks her tail at her in disdain.  Actually, that’s not quite true – Mithra usually hisses, bats, and runs either at her or from her.  It’s been a year, you want to say.  The other cat is here to stay.  Get over it.

Midgie does have her down sides, though.

For one thing, she is the worst smelling animal I have ever owned.  That cat has breath that could melt Kevlar, and since cats clean themselves by licking she pretty much stinks from head to tail.  She has a clean bill of health from the vet, including her gums.  We can’t figure it out.  And this is in addition to the random assortment of additional odors she seems to give off just because she can, as if she were some 14-year-old boy having a contest with his buddies, with the winner claiming the last slice of pizza.  Not that I would know anything about such contests.  Not at all.

For another thing, she squeaks.  She has this weird purr that starts like an unoiled fan and then – because she opens her mouth a bit when she purrs, thus creating something of a subwoofer (or sub-meower, I suppose) – gets loud enough to hear from several rooms away.  It’s a fun trick when you’re on the phone and she’s sitting in your lap.  People ask, “Are you grating aluminum?”  “No,” you reply, “that’s just the cat.”  “Right,” they say.  “You can get good money for grated aluminum, I hear.  Dinner’s on you.”

She’s also a mess.  I’ve never seen a cat throw her food around with such abandon.  She actually prefers dry food, and we’ve tried to make it challenging for her because she spent the first three months with us parked in front of her food bowl and slowly inflating to the point where we were going to tattoo “Brunswick” on her butt.  Making it difficult has worked – she’s back to looking like a cat now – but she just takes that dry food and flings it all over the room before methodically hunting it down and eating it.  I suppose it’s a sport to her.  She’s an indoor cat.  Other than randomly annoying Mithra it’s pretty much the only sport she has.

The key problem recently, however, has been that she has become very vocal. 

This wouldn’t be a problem if she were vocal at, say, lunchtime.  Or when the girls get home from school.

But at 5am?  Yeah, that’s a problem.

For a while we figured that it was because she was prepping for treats.  Tabitha had gotten into the habit of giving Midgie these special treats that were advertised as “breath cleansing” (and in truth they were, as Midgie’s breath improved from lethal to merely offensive) in the morning.  But we stopped that a month ago, and nothing changed.

Then we tried shutting our door, which became problematic when Mithra decided that was unacceptable and began clawing at it.  This also happened around 5am, strangely enough.  It’s like the feline witching hour or something.

Finally we have decided to shut Midgie in the basement overnight.  She has her litterbox, and we’ve moved all her food and water onto the landing at the top of the stairs.  There are rabbits to play with and places to hide.  She’ll be fine.

Have you ever seen the look of betrayal on a cat’s face when you shut the door on them, though?  It’s just heartbreaking.

But we’ve already done the whole “sleepless nights” routine with two infants – we’re not doing it again with a foundling cat.


Random Michelle K said...

Our small back-up cat has always been shut in the basement at night, because as soon as we go to bed, she comes into the bedroom and starts batting things off dressers and book cases.

Once she dumped half a glass of cold water onto my face when I was sound asleep.

We used to allow His Royal Furriness to remain upstairs, but as he has gotten older, he choose to be shut in the basement where the litter boxes are.

She used to be hard to catch before bed, until we realized she has no brains, and giving her treats on the top of the steps allows you to easily shut her in the basement.

So, I feel your pain, and have horror stories of my own to share in sympathy. :)

KimK said...

Michelle, I love that you have a small back-up cat. :)
Our smelly little frat girl seems to have survived the night in the basement with rabbits.

Random Michelle K said...

Well, she is smaller than His Furriness ( and I argued against getting her. (She was dumped at a pet store, only 4 weeks old, and stunk to high heaven.) I lost that battle.

She is, however, an extremely sweet cat, despite having the IQ of oatmeal.

Eric said...

Ironically, the fact you're still having cat disputes after a year heartens me: Elvis and Mori still do not abide one another at all.

Searching... said...

We had a smelly adopted cat, too. Once we treated him for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (or stabilized him is more like it), he's been normal smelly instead of clear-the-room smelly. It was pretty simple - prednisone and some probiotics. Might be worth a try...

Dr. Phil (Physics) said...

When we lived in the U.P., Mrs. Dr. Phil's old orange cat once got distracted by the time change and wanted to pound on our bedroom door upstairs at early hours. So I'd go downstairs and lock him in the bathroom with one of the litter pans.

This was apparently such a good game, that after a few days he'd run ahead to the bathroom, jump on the closed toilet and sit perched on the edge of the sink and wait for me.

Silly cats.

Dr. Phil

David said...

Boy, there are a lot of stinky cats out there! And easily fooled! It works out.

Searching - I'm not so sure about the IBS for Midgie, since the main source of the odor is clearly coming from the other end. Is this the sort of thing that can work back up the GI tract and emerge as halitosis?

Eric - it took Mithra about four months to warm up to Tria, but they became pretty good buddies before Tria disappeared. It's been a year for Midgie, though, and at this point I just don't see much changing. The intensity has diminished, so perhaps there is hope. Good luck with Elvis and Mori.

Unknown said...

Boo and Poppy started out with the latter hating the former, but I think it settled down after they had to spend a couple of snowy weeks in a cold cattery together.