Tuesday, August 22, 2006

His Little Puny Brain is No Match for the Siren-Like Call of the Leather Upholstery

Oh man. I came home last night and my step-dad said my cats have to go. Apparently, f0rtun@to my cuddly wuddly perfect dood has been sharpening his claws on the leather sofa. Unfortunately, I am not the only human in my cats' lives right now so my discipline alone cannot make up for my parents' complete lack of discipline and initiative to cat-proof the house. I know leather is fort's kryptonite. He is perfect but for his penchant to dig his claws into it's supple surface (and to chew on plants until he pukes, but that is easily cleaned with a little resolve or a paper towel). I should know. I have gone through many a pleather legal portofolios and even one coach purse in the name of this weakness. Under my sole watch he did not scratch the non-leather (or cheaper imitation fabric) furniture as long as a launching pad (a kitty toy with a ball in a circular track surrounding a corrugated cardboard center) is nearby. Once in a blue moon I'd catch him start to claw something he's not supposed to and I scoop him up and put him on the pad and he gets the point. I have a launching pad next to the sofa and I naively and wrongly thought this was enough to keep him from scratching it. More needed to be done to prevent fort from scratching a leather sofa.

But Bar' ain't doin' none of this. He doesn't understand that animals need people to define their limits. We need to use their instincts and their limitations in order to manipulate them into behaving. Telling the cat it's s.o.l. and has to move out because it scratched the sofa isn't going to keep the cat from scratching the sofa. But keeping him out of the room with the lucious leather will keep him from scratching the sofa and it's as easy as keeping the door to the living room closed when no one's home and letting fort in and out of the laundry room instead of the living room doors so he no longer even cares to go in that room if the door is left open. I don't even mind keeping him in my bedroom all day because he just sleeps all day anyway. If keeping him out of the room was impossible I could take a more disciplined approach. For instance, when I first broke in my cat @nn@belle, whom I rescued from the hard cold streets of ghetto Tremont, she liked to claw my mattress but I broke her of the habit with a handy spray bottle of cold water. To keep fort from scratching the leather, as soon as I was aware he was up to that, I needed to watch him in that room and anytime he came near the leather with the glint in his eye I would have to give him a squirt.

I suppose this is really what bothers me. B@rry waited until the last second to tell me about the problem and instead of allowing me to try to fix it (when we could have been preventing it to begin with) his solution is to throw us out. This is how it always is with him and my mom. They deny deny deny ignore ignore ignore until something becomes intolerable and then they freak out about the consequences of their denial and willful ignorance. If they knew he was scratching the couch they should have told me from day one and we could have worked something out to prevent the problem from escalating. It's not like this happened because I didn't care or let him do it. I didn't know he was until last night (I'm not up on the status of parts of my parents' furniture and it's not like they take equisite care of things themselves such that some scratch marks would appear blatantly to be my cat's fault).

Yes, I know. I am taking my cat's side in all of this and yes, I'm making a few excuses. I do feel bad about it. I really do. I know that I am partly to blame, if not mostly, because I should have paid more attention and should have recognized the potential for this problem to arise. However, it is so frustrating because if I knew the problem was to this extent I assure you, dear readers, that I care enough about not rushing the move out, and my cats' well-being, and my parents' ability to tolerate us while we're there that I would have taken all possible measures to prevent the problem. And this is just the kind of thing that frustrates me to no end about living there.

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