More Issues Than Newsweek

I have a bulimic cat and an anorexic dog. This is not a good thing. I mean, what are the odds? Was it something I did? Did I say something that they took the wrong way? I just don’t know. I don’t remember talking about fat grams in Purina versus Iams, but maybe…. I obviously did SOMETHING though, because my pets have issues.

Pepper, the pretty, pukey cat

Pepper, the pretty, pukey cat

So my cat. God love her, it’s a good thing she is beautiful, because she’s got some serious issues. Her name is Pepper and we inherited her from my sister-in-law who’s allergic to cats but keeps trying to own them anyway. So 5 years ago here comes Pepper and her gear – a litter box, bag of food, a dish, you get the picture. I was so excited to take on a pet. You know, because I can cope with the normal little issues with cat ownership – fur on my pillow, being groomed at 2 am, being stared at in the bathroom, things like that. But I was not prepared for “crazy cat” ownership. And that’s exactly what she is: crazy. Seriously. It really isn’t her fault that she’s crazy – there is a very fine line between brilliance and insanity and in her case she wobbles between them all the time. Yeah, bulimic, beautiful, and brilliant. She’s got it all. So Pepper, my cat, can read. I don’t know how she learned to do it, but some where along the line, she learned to read. If her bowl is ever empty enough that she can see the words printed on the bottom she reads them. Too bad her comprehension is crap. She looks at those squiggles and thinks it says, “Time to Binge and Purge!” when in reality it says, “Good cat.” Poor thing, where am I going to find a remedial reading class for my cat? My school district doesn’t offer one. Maybe this one does?

So I think the bulimia thing is attached to her poor self esteem issues over the reading thing. I mean, it’s the only thing I can think of to explain this. I’ve tried talking to her, let her know that we love her for who she is on the inside and not just for her shiny fur, but I just don’t think I’m getting through to her. Almost every day, there she goes, puking up her kitty food again. Yesterday, it was the rug in front of the door, today is was on my bed. I go in there, and there it was. This nice little steaming pile of partially digested kibble on my bed. I turn around and there she is down the hallway, delicately grooming her pukey face and trying to hide the wet fur on her paw. I tell you, I actually catch her deep throating her paw and I’m sending her back home to my asthmatic sister in law and she can deal with the damn cat.

Here's Charlie, the big, brown dog

Here's Charlie, the big, brown dog

It would maybe be just a tad bit better if my dog was any help. I mean, at least he could do is eat her little “gifts” – consider it some kind of partially digested delicacy or something. But no. Charlie has standards. The dog will lick his own butt, but won’t eat things off the floor. I tell you, what is the point to owning a dog if it won’t hoover the floor? Of course, in my case, since he’s anorexic, I shouldn’t expect him to help out with the house hygiene. He goes on a hunger strike and it could be days before he empties his bowl. In fact, this morning he finally emptied his dish at 10:15 am. It was his breakfast from 3 days ago. But, I’m hard-hearted so I figure I’ll just wait him out. I know other people will whip out the Cuisinart and make some little concoction but I gotta say, there is no way I’m ever stinking up my house baking that stuff again.

On top of his little food issue, there is this other little problem. I take my dog anywhere and within about 35 seconds somebody comes up to me and asks me what kind of dog he is. Since he came from the Humane Society and whoever kicked his sorry butt to the curb neglected to put a collar on him as well as his pedigree, we have no idea what his breeding is. So I just say, he’s a brown dog. You would be amazed at how pissy people get over that answer. “Well, yes I can see that. But what kind of dog is he?” Um, a big brown dog? I’m helpful like that.

Seriously, I don’t know folks. All I can tell you is that he’s big, brown, and refuses to eat his dog food. People want to know if Charlie is part Great Dane or Greyhound, or the list goes on and on and on. Jacki just starts humming the Clifford sound track. I’m thinking of tattooing his sides with “American Standard Indeterminate Shorthair” which would all fit, but I doubt people would like that answer any better. But he is big. I’ll be in the kitchen and he will come in and give me that look like, “Go on mom, you know you want to drop a T-Bone steak.” As long as he can catch it before it touches the floor, that dog is in heaven. Right? So there he is, looking up at me with these big brown eyes and I can hear his tail wacking the walls in the hallway. Yeah, he’s a big, brown, picky, picky dog.

So my pets are having “relationship issues” on top of everything else. They have a rather strained relationship. It goes like this, “Charlie loves Pepper and Pepper hates Charlie.” After 4 years, we have progressed past the chasing stage to the “mom, he crossed the line” stage. Seriously, it’s like having 2 teenagers living with us. Pepper completely ignores everyone until you get busy doing something like typing on the computer. She’ll come on over and sit in her favorite place – the keyboard – and Charlie, who was just doing that “chasing the bunny and whimpering thing” he does in his sleep, will suddenly be right there. Great, now I have 2 cranky life forms with claws and fangs ready to duke it out on my laptop.

Well, I want to leave you with this last thought. Has anybody heard that notion that pet ownership is like some magic thing that will teach children responsibility and compassion and all that? How about the second part where owning a pet is somehow good practice for a married couple in order to prepare the couple for parenting? How dumb is that? Like somehow having a fur-baby is at all a realistic comparison? First off, pet ownership has a “short term” patina – you know, like if it doesn’t work out you can just pawn off the pet on your sister-in-law. Also, I just really don’t recommend anybody try any interspecies nursing. Dear god, those babies come with teeth. Oh, and there is no way that puppy poop will at all prepare a person for their first experience with baby poop. And, I have to say, you get a puppy, there is always that option of putting an extra blankie in the kennel, carrying the kennel and the crying puppy out to the garage, shutting the door, and getting at least 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep. You try that with a human baby and that child is going to grow up with some REAL issues.