#501: The Castle

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The other day, my friend Alex came over and brought with him a big, four-parter box contraption that now sits in my room next to the Playstation and the bureau. Although it’s a bit small, it’s designed so that Jace can explore a space and move around freely, as if he had a little hideout to himself. The thought is that hopefully he’ll calm down a bit more if he has somewhere to go where he can relax and be away from people. The other thought is that, Jace clearly likes his little cat tower, so why not let Jace get a little castle for himself?

I’ve put a lot of thought into getting a more elaborate castle sometime in the future. I’d like to get one mostly because, although it will cost an arm and a leg to buy, it’ll keep Jace busy for sure and he’ll absolutely spend lots of time on it. The hope is that regardless of how long it takes him to acclimate, he will eventually love it so much that he refuses to get into other things in the room. That’s obviously a tough bargain, considering he loves to get all over the furniture and pretty much everything there is to get into in this room.

Another thing we’ve been struggling with when it comes to Jace is figuring out how to trim his nails. He’s not necessarily the most cooperative cat in the world, so that makes it difficult to get him to stay still for me to clip those tiny nails. Alex recommended maybe getting a nail filer instead, but I’m not sure that’s the best idea either. Regardless, it’s going to take time to figure out how to be the best cat dad around. I hope that I get better over time.

#491: The Incomparable

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Jace is an incomparable little monster, and I love him to bits, but he’s still a monster that needs to be tamed from time to time. Just imagining him running and rushing through the room last night, tearing into the chair and jumping on top of it and messing with Chris’s feet beneath the bean bag chair. He’s a relentless beast and no matter how much you try to rein him in, he steps in and seems to have something else in mind, some other tenacious plan that he needs to enact before moving on to his next big idea. Jace is the kind of cat that loves moving from place to place quickly, and even though he’s also full of energy when people are around him, he loves nothing more than to lounge lazily while people aren’t around. He’s calm, collected, and normal under any other circumstances. He’s a stupid little boy but he’s my stupid little boy, and for that I am eternally grateful.

I decided to title this blog post “the incomparable” because he is an incomparable animal. He doesn’t share a lot of traits that most cats have, and he’s by no means normal. He likes lounging around but as soon as he’s surrounded by people, like I said, he seems to go crazy. It’s like it activates an instinct for him to seek attention and become the center of their communications. I don’t think he even minds being pushed around a little bit when people inevitably get tired of his antics and start pushing back against them. Alex has compared him to a dog before, which is funny because even though he has dog-like traits, he definitely acts like a cat sometimes too. It’s funny how all the animals I end up having end up acting different from what you would expect of them.

#488: The Chuck

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My dad has this fancy toy (it’s not really fancy, but oh well) called the Chuck It. It’s a little handle that you hold onto, and it scoops up this orange and blue ball that dogs love to grip onto with their mouths. It’s an invaluable, ingenius little device that’s really helpful in a pinch and makes going outside in the yard with Roxxie, my dad’s dog, super easy and fun. I’d like to think it’s because of the dog, who’s a big goofball and loves attention more than anything else, but I think some of the responsibility has to fall on the Chuck It for being so easy to use. Scooping up the ball after Rox returns it to me is accomplished in one seamless motion (most of the time) and I get to throw it right back to her, as easily as ever.

In all, I’ve enjoyed being able to take care of my dad’s dog. She’s a goofball, as I mentioned already, and she loves getting rubs and affection. She reminds me of Angus, Alex and I’s older dog, whom I miss dearly and wish was still around with me. Even though I have Jace now, who I still love and care for, he’s not as affectionate as Angus was, and Angus also was my first pet. I owned him as much as Alex owned him, and I felt responsible for his treatment all the same. Every time I see dad’s dog, I’m reminded of the dog I used to have, and how things may have turned out differently had I been a better person. Oh well, no use lingering on the past for too long.

I thought I could write a whole 300-word blog post about this one toy, but I guess it’s harder than it sounds.

#485: The Dog Sitter

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Once, a long time ago, I think while I was still in grad school, I watched a dog for my cousin’s neighbors in Madison. It was in this huge, gaudy mansion with a massive, fluffy monster of a dog. Their mansion had three or four floors, with a top floor dedicated entirely to games and arcades. It was immense and incredible, and I wish I got the chance to go back there and scout out how it’s changed in the time since then. But what’s most likely going to happen is I won’t have the chance to go back, considering I accidentally broke their dishwasher. It was an unfortunate situation, but honestly the dishwasher was kind of shoddy considering the rest of the house was such great quality and in such incredible condition.

I remember sitting downstairs at their desk, on the first floor, looking up at the huge balconies above me from the other floors, and blasting Queens of the Stone Age from the speakers. They had speakers that played throughout the whole house, so it felt like a concert going on just for me. I think the song was “You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire,” which starts really low and then explodes about a third of the way through into thunderous guitar and drums. Josh Homme, the leader of the band, is an absolute maniac and I love him. Such a creative mind, and I love the inspiration behind the song.

Well, originally this blog post was going to be about how I’ve been watching my dad’s dog for the past few days and will be continuing to do so for the next few days, too. It’s been nice being able to go to his place and take care of another animal.

#474: The Trash Can

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When I woke up this morning, Jace was sniffing around the trash can, pawing at it and putting himself neck deep in the can while he made his way under my computer desk. Jace is the kind of cat who loves getting himself in the middle of everything, putting himself in front of people’s faces and making sure they know he’s there. He wants to be seen and he wants to make sure other people know he’s there immediately upon entering any situation. He’s an attention hog, but he’s my attention hog and I love him for it.

That all being said, he also pawed his way through the trash can this morning, which is a big no from me. I had to dump it out as soon as I woke up, and I wasn’t exactly thrilled about that because I wasn’t ready yet to get up. He has a tendency towards waking me up when I don’t want to be and making sure he’s right in my face at all possible times. But that’s Jace!

I dumped out the trash can, and then I put Jace in the carrier case I have for him. He needed to be there because I was about to take a shower and I didn’t want him roaming around making more of a mess. He had to learn his lesson somehow, and I wasn’t exactly sure how to teach him what he needed to find out. I think I got the point across though, as he was meowing quite a lot when I returned back to the room after the shower.

The trash can exists so that I can use it to put my stuff in, but I don’t want to have to regulate everything I put in there. I guess that’s a part of what it’s like to have a pet, after all. I’ll get used to it eventually.

#470: The Spray Bottle

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Having a spray bottle handy has made it easy to help Jace out with learning what to chew and what not to chew on. When he’s feeling especially active and spry, he runs around like crazy, gets the zoomies, and starts chewing on whatever he can fit in his mouth. Sometimes that’s the lever on the desk chair, other times it’s the wicker baskets underneath the bookshelf. Regardless of what it is, or whether it’s tasty or anything like that, Jace seems to have other things in mind. He just doesn’t care about the taste at all; it’s the sensation of biting something and fitting it in his mouth that he loves the most. I stop him mostly because I don’t want him chewing and potentially digesting something that will make him sick. For example, if he gets the wicker down his throat, that’s obviously a bad thing, and he doesn’t know any better so it’s my job to come in and stop that before it becomes a bigger problem.

In these situations, the spray bottle comes in handy. It’s what I deploy when he seems to be getting a little too feisty and needs correcting. Just a light tap of water in his direction gets him to stop. Nowadays, all I have to do is shake the bottle and he starts to notice that he’s doing something wrong. He recognizes the shake and sound of the spray bottle as evidence that he should probably be doing something else. I wasn’t really sure if it would work from the beginning, but I’m glad it’s at least helping us make some progress. He’s been less likely to do that after I started using it. He also knows sometimes that maybe he should take a break and start to relax a bit more.

#468: The Vet

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Bringing Jace to the vet for the first time was an interesting experience. He had to get his nails clipped, and they needed to look in his ears and his mouth, both of which made him anxious and caused him to lash out a little bit. He’s a tough cookie and he dislikes being handled in any sort of way, but when it comes to being at the vet, he’s especially devious and difficult I found. It’s in his nature, though, and I’m not surprised to hear it and also see it.

In the next few days, they’re planning on calling me back so that I can schedule for him to go in to get his teeth cleaned. Apparently there’s plaque building up in his teeth, causing inflammation and poor health up in his gums. That needs to be fixed, obviously, so they’re planning on giving him anesthesia so that he can relax while they do it. He’s not the kind of cat to just sit there and let you do whatever you want to him, unfortunately, so the extra cost from the anesthesia is going to suck but oh well. It’s necessary to keep this guy healthy and looking clean in all ways.

When Alex and I took Angus to the vet, it was a bit different because we had the two of us there. We supported each other and made sure there weren’t any complications that could make the visit worse than it needed to be. Bringing Jace alone was a challenge, but it’s a responsibility I’m willing to agree to so that I can have this companion with me. Even now, just looking at him sitting on the couch across from me, it feels like we were meant to be friends together like this. It’s a perfect combination.

#454: The Doorway, Part 2

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This post is a continuation from the previous one, so please read that one first to get an idea of what I’m talking about here.

So, when I talk about Jace leaving the room and roaming around outside, I don’t mean in the outdoors, thankfully. If he were actually roaming around outside, I would be worried. He’s supposed to be an indoor boy, apparently, and so he most definitely finds the most happiness and comfort surrounded by walls. He’s domesticated, after all, and has a penchant for climbing on top of things and jumping from place to place.

The doorway allows him to roam around the basement or first floor area, and I’ve considered leaving the door open so he can just roam around wherever he wants. The only issue with that is that I worry he’ll stand by the doorway leading into the garage and, when someone opens the garage door, he’ll make a run for it. He’s a crazy little dude and I wouldn’t be surprised if he tried to do that from time to time.

Whenever I’ve opened the door and he’s made a run for it, he usually doesn’t run at all. He just kind of casually walks away, meanders down by the staircase, doesn’t go up it at all, but just stares at it for a few seconds before deciding to go towards the computer desk in the other room. He looks at it, goes underneath the desk when he sees me wander nearby, and then waits patiently for me to pick him up and bring him back to the room. He doesn’t mind being picked up, thankfully, which makes this whole process that much smoother and better for me. Sometimes he even just walks on his own back to the doorway and doesn’t seem to find the other area that interesting.

#453: The Doorway, Part 1

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The doorway into my bedroom is a wooden door that’s quite slim and tiny. It’s difficult to get in sometimes if you’re carrying something. When Mike and I were carrying my desk from the apartment back to the new home, we thought about bringing it through the doorway, but then remembered it would be impossible. It’s too tiny, and the curve around the hallway makes it exceptionally difficult to manage holding something like that. So instead, we went in through the door that leads outside, the one right by the bathroom. It was easier for us to manage and made the moving process so much better.

But this blog post isn’t about something as mundane as the doorway leading into my room. Instead, I want to talk about how the doorway leads to a certain escape (to borrow a term from a previous blog) from one small cat, the same cat that loves leaving the room as soon as possible and roaming around all over the place, leaving its hair on the ground and chewing on whatever seems to be chewable in the nearby vicinity. He’s a monster, but he’s my monster, and I love that about him. He’s the exact type of cat I imagined getting all those weeks ago, and he’s fulfilled all the obligations he has. He’s the type of cat that meows when you see him, and he lays down on the floor as soon as you walk in because he wants you to pet him and love him. He’s beautiful and a bundle full of love.

The doorway, however, is what allows him to roam around more. It’s not that him going around the downstairs is a bad thing, necessarily; it’s good that he’s able to explore and manage life on his own. He’s a good boy, after all.

#450: The Zoomies

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So, apparently cats do this thing called the zoomies. I found this out from a friend whose brother owns a cat, and apparently it’s very normal behavior, but at the time I thought it was completely crazy. I had no idea how to handle or understand what was going on with Jace, but he seemed to have seen a ghost out of nowhere and hadn’t a clue what to do.

The zoomies are a phenomenon with an actually scientific name for them, but I like to call them the zoomies because it sounds funnier that way and it also more accurately describes what the cat is actually doing. It’s zooming around relentlessly like it owns the place, and it’s all over all the time. It just rampages around, zooming from place to place, up on the window sill one second and then over by the bathroom the next. When my friend Dan came over, we thought the cat maybe just didn’t like Dan. Turns out what the cat does is totally normal, which is nice to know if anything because I was worried he would always be like this when Dan is around.

Thankfully, this was the first time I’d seen him do the zoomies. For the first two days I owned this crazy cat, he was totally normal and seemed to be adjusting well. All of a sudden, though, he starts acting out of whack and I think maybe I’m the one who’s doing something wrong, like maybe I didn’t feed him the right food or maybe he wants attention that I’m not adequately giving him.

Jace has been adapting to the new environment well though, and I’m glad to say that I don’t have to worry much about this boy when I’m gone, even though I tend to do that anyway. I’m a worry wart.