Tag Archives: Chaos

The Saga of Jupe

9 Mar

I consider myself a cat lady. As someone who has lived with and among dozens of cats her entire life, I have a lot of experience with them. Growing up our house became the hub for any homeless stray in the area, and since we lived on the cusp of the suburbs and the country, near an auction yard where people used to dump their unwanted strays, we had plenty. Some of them stayed and lived with us, but many, many were spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and sent off to loving homes. In fact, we’ve given cats to three of our friends and we still love and visit Oscar, Loki, and Mochi to this day. All of this is to say, I have a vast amount of experience dealing with cats.

I have never met a cat like Jupiter. Do you see what he’s doing in the photos? He’s biting the light switch. Biting them. If you were standing outside my house at that moment, you would have seen my porch light flicker on and off schizophrenically. I have no idea what possesses him to do this. His appetite for destruction boarders on obsession.

We once had a cat named Spock (full name: Baby Mister Spock). He came from a cat colony around the corner. This colony was made up entirely of inbred cats, born of a brother and a sister that kept having babies together. As you’d imagine, Baby Mister Spock was extremely stupid.

He’d regularly meow while he was eating, so that round bits of kibble would roll out of his mouth and slide all over the floor. He liked to yawn, mid-meow, because he noticed his mouth was already open and it’d save him the trouble. He made goat-noises when happy. He’d fall asleep with his head in the food bowl, and upon waking up and realizing he was hungry, he would immediately start eating.

He was the dumbest cat I ever met, but he was funny and everybody loved him. Unlike Jupiter, Spock used his powers of stupidity for good.

When Peach and Tink were alive, we let them roam the kitchen counters because they were harmless. Sure, occasionally we’d catch them licking the butter if we left it uncovered, but that was our fault, really. Jupiter is so annoying we’ve had to enforce a strict no-cat policy on the counter and table, and to this day if Isobel sees one of the cats even looking at the table she enthusiastically shouts NO NO NO! We still have to squirt Jupiter in the face with the water bottle at least 25 times a day because, over a year later, he still jumps up on the counter and tries to eat your food while you are eating it every day.

Those of you out there who are not cat people, I can assure you that none of this falls within the realms of what you’d call normal cat behavior. Poppy and Zorro avoid the counter now, that’s for damn sure. Even my Mom, the cat whisperer, agrees he’s the most obnoxious cat in existence.   

Jupiter’s new hobby is jumping up on the desk, climbing atop the computer tower, and flinging himself at the bulletin board, knocking over the speakers, webcam, and monitor, my two picture frames as well as the bulletin board in the process. And I should mention the reason he’s doing this is to pull the pushpins from the bulletin board so he can bat them around and eat them. Yes, I have to prevent my cat from eating pushpins. He will try to do this over and over, no matter how many times we squirt him in the face with the water bottle.

Last weekend we’ve made the executive decision to transition Jupiter to being an outside cat. Previously, all our cats have been indoors, but I think it’s in the best interest of the household if Jupiter spends a bit more of his time outside. The more I think about it, the more I think that maybe he’s not stupid so much as he is destructive (and possessed by the devil). He seems to be enjoying his forays outside and maybe it will drain his excess energy enough to become a normal cat.

Actually A Very Good Idea

20 Dec

I love Christmas but I hate shopping (unless it’s thrifting). I particularly hate shopping in giant, unruly crowds of people. Number one on my list of Christmas tips is to stock up in November before the mad rush of shoppers decent. The plan is to buy enough nonperishable household supplies to last through the Christmas season so that we don’t find ourselves at an overcrowded store, desperately clutching a single tube of diaper rash cream, on December 24th.

We knew this, we tried planning ahead, and yet we still found ourselves circling the parking lot of a giant toy store on the Saturday before Christmas. As we looked for a parking spot, any parking spot, Anthony said, “This may be the single worst idea we’ve ever had.”Ha! Hardly! I mean, sure, it was dumb. But Anthony and I have been together a long, long time, and we’ve done some monumentally stupid things. Which I won’t talk about. Or maybe I will. Later. When I don’t have to worry about finding gainful employment beyond the home. Ahem.

Like most kids in America, Isobel already has an obscene amount of toys. But she had been struggling with playing independently lately even though she did very well with it for a long time. We realized the other day that many of her toys are too young for her. She’s not a baby. She’s a little girl. We had several gift cards to a big box toy store so we thought let’s go shopping! Shopping for toys for Isobel when we don’t have to worry about our budget is almost as good as thrifting. We were just a little off with our timing.

And so it came to be: we found ourselves in the aisles of a packed, chaotic, and deafeningly loud toy store the weekend before Christmas.

Even more surprising, we had a blast picking out toys for Isobel. Apparently the valuable ignoring skills I’ve built up throughout my life helped me totally, completely ignore the insanity around us and focus instead on finding some awesome toys for Isobel. (My skills worked a little too well, actually, because several times I bumped into people with my cart. Oh, sorry. Didn’t see you there. Because you hardly exist.)

We had a list with us, and although we didn’t get everything that was on it, we took home a good assortment of toys.

Baby-Doll Stroller – Isobel constantly tries to push her own stroller around, which is too tall for her.

Dollhouse Furniture – I found this dollhouse for her at a yard sale while I was pregnant.  Furniture and inhabitants were not included.

Plastic Animals – She can identify most animals in English and many in Spanish.

Musical Instruments – The girl’s got rhythm.

Hotwheels Cars – She loved our neighbor’s cars. I haven’t been able to find them second hand.

Alphabet Puzzle– Any toy encouraging the learning of the alphabet is fine by me. She’s pretty good at singing the song, but can only identify a few letters.

Bubbles– she loves bubbles so we bought her some fancy wands.

We looked through everything on our list, loaded up our cart, and sorted through it for the things we really liked. Isobel was at Grandma’s so could take our time. When all was said and done, spent only $7.00 thanks to the giftcards.

I did buy this bee backpack even though it really didn’t serve any specific purpose. I’m so glad because Isobel has worn it around all day and apparently loves it.

We gave her the stroller early because we could hardly resist.This is what she looked like most of the weekend.

Backpack on, proudly pushing one of her stuffed animals in the stroller through the house.

The only thing wrong with this stroller, from her perspective, is that five stuffed animals wouldn’t fit in there at once.

It’s only a matter of time before she tries to push Poppy around in it. Frankly, I’m not sure if Poppy would mind.

She’s been practicing some tricks with it. Pretty soon she’ll be taking it off some sweet jumps.

Going to a toy store the weekend before Christmas? One of our good ideas, actually.

Kitten Highlights

17 May

Life with kittens has added another layer of chaos to our lives, albeit a joyous one. Poppy and Jupiter are like ninjas testing the various weaknesses of our household system. I would have thought that after having three naughty cats and then an inexhaustible toddler we would have cat or baby proofed everything that wasn’t nailed down. My recent need to purge all clutter from the house coincided directly with my pregnancy and intensified with Isobel’s mobility. You could say it was a source of perverse pride for me. Let your toddler loose in my house! I dare them to find something to break!


Poppy and Jupiter have been quite creative in finding things to get into and mess up. Poppy’s favorite game is to launch herself into the air and to grasp the clothes hanging in my closet and freestyle climb her way to the other side. In order to jump down and do it all over again, of course. I discovered this little trick after finding a third of my neatly-hung shirts discarded in a wad on the floor.

Zorro and Peaches are nutso for kitten food, and I hardly blame them. I’m sure it’s nutrient-rich and packed with fat to provide energy for running through the house at top speed. Zorro and Peach normally dine on Science Diet Senior-Formula Indoor Cat Food, which sounds so fiber-filled and wholesome it’s probably the Grape Nuts of cat food. Their new goal in life is kitten food. It’s their Holy Grail.

Feeding the cats is now a complicated maneuver: somehow we have to corral both kittens in the same room at the same time while preventing both the big cats and Isobel from getting in. It’s difficult to say the least. Peaches is not known for his brains, but I tell you I have never met a cat more motivated by food and there isn’t anything in the world that will keep him from a snack he wants. It makes the mornings interesting, that’s for sure.

Isobel really enjoys gnawing corn straight off the cob and we discovered recently that the kittens do, too. As soon as Isobel gives up her ear of corn those kittens are all over it, munching side by side like pigs at a trough.

The first night we brought the kittens home Poppy started running down the hallway and mewing in obvious distress. We thought it was perhaps because she was alone so each time it happened I went down the hall and brought her back to the living room. Finally I thought she might need the litter box which was in the laundry room. I plunked her in and she immediately let out the most plaintive mew and started pooping. As soon as she was done I swear she marched back into the living room beaming with pride.

We learned the hard way about the sort of mischief that is possible when a kitten and a baby work together. Isobel has a fascination with anything liquid, and if she can spill that liquid everywhere, so much the better. When she’s done eating she regularly likes to turn her bottle upside down and shake it as vigorously as possible. Fortunately that doesn’t do anything except spray a few drops here or there so by the time we stop it little damage has been done. Jupiter, however, is as crazy for Isobel’s bottles as he is for kitten chow and we have discovered that if they are left out he will gnaw the nipple right off. Isobel waits until he has done so and then tips the bottle upside down, much to both our baby’s and the kitten’s delight.

I’m sensing a dangerous partnership here.