“Don’t tell your father that” is one of the worst things you can say to a teenager. Wait, let me back up.
We have a cat: Darth Jingles. Both kids fight over who gets to trap the poor overloved thing in their room when it’s time for bed. Usually, The Girl gets her first because she puts herself to bed much earlier. Then The Boy sneaks in and steals the cat after his sister’s asleep when we finally threaten/blackmail him sufficiently and he’s run out of stalling tactics.
The Girl has been tired of this arrangement for a while and expressed a desire for a second cat. Insert my previously mentioned utterance: “Don’t tell your father that.” The Girl is generally well behaved, but I essentially just told her that he’d cave. What is a teenager to do with conflicting signals like that? Exploit the loophole. She told her brother, who relayed her carefully outlined plan to Hubby who, for reasons I’m not clear on, decided a second cat was a good idea.
Fine. So now we have Darth Jingles, a black cat with an attitude, and Princess, a lilac Siamese just as lovey as you can imagine. Things have not been going well.
To begin with, Darth Jingles was notified of our plan to end her only-cat status, but she clearly thought we were joking. She’s not fond of the interloper and initially hissed at her at every opportunity. Princess (for reasons I’m unclear on) took this as an invitation to come closer and attempt to be friends. The kids spent a lot of time keeping the cats apart and speaking softly to Jingles to let her know she’s still loved. She imprinted on Hubby instead of the kids, although she’s fine with hanging with them, and loves bacon and ham. I lead her around the house with a strip of bacon and The Boy taught her to meow in a particular half-purr way that sounds like “hammm?” then rewarded her with pieces of ham. Peachy.
Then Princess decided to be a pill and started pulling at her stitches from being spayed. Yeah. Long story short, she got rewarded with a cone. Neither cat is fond of the contraption. It freaks Darth Jingles out. No more hissing – Yay – instead, she runs from Princess when she sees her. Princess of course doesn’t care for it either and spends a lot of time looking pathetic and running into the edge of walls and furniture because she lost her peripheral vision. It took three adults to put the cone on her, including the vet, so while we theoretically only had to have her in the cone at night or when we weren’t right there with her to make sure she didn’t pull at her stitches (that then had to be left in for four more days instead of being removed the next day as we were hoping), Hubby and I decided it would be less traumatic for everyone, Princess included, to just leave the thing on her.
A cat with a cone on her head can feed herself, but she makes a terrible mess, that was the first thing we learned. The second was that she couldn’t bathe herself. Fine, so we brushed her nearly all day long because she also can’t scratch and she really likes being brushed. Really. I’m serious, grooming is kitty heaven for her. She doesn’t care so much for it when I wipe her down with a damp washcloth, but she’s a good sport.
Princess tolerated the cone, almost, and the night before we took her back to have the stitches removed, she wiggled out of it. And started on her stitches again. And tore them open. The vet was displeased, but not as much as Princess when the cone was next attached to her harness instead of her collar. (Yes, she walks on a leash – better than Darth Jingles even, although she isn’t as good about car rides. And it is like one of Dante’s circles to get that cat into a carrier, so it’s just as well she’ll take to a leash.) As a bonus, because she tore open the incision, they had to stitch her back up and Princess has been in the cone for the past week. She glares at us a lot. You adopt me just to humiliate me? I don’t know exactly what passes for kitty-cursing, but it’s crossing her mind.
To be extra amusing, Princess is really playful for a two-year-old cat. It’s awesome to watch her chase a ball and run into things. She can dive under the bed with a cone on her head, something I wouldn’t have bet on. I’d like to go back in time and stop The Boy from training her to beg for ham. It was cute, but it’s gotten out of control.
At first whenever anyone walked in the kitchen, we had this little Siamese underfoot: “Hammm? Hammm?”
Sigh. “Fine. Here, take some ham. Shoo.” (Reinforcing the behavior was a bad move on my part.)
She widened her perceived feeding area to the dining room. “Hammm?”
“We’re eating acorn squash. It’s not ham. You don’t want it.”
Sigh. “Fine. Here, have some squash. See I said you didn’t – oh.” Yes, she eats acorn squash. She also eats watermelon, cantaloupe, bananas, and applesauce. She gave Cheetos a great effort, but just really wasn’t into it. Darth Jingles happens to enjoy pretzels, so I was actually thinking the Cheetos would go over better. Then again, what can you expect from a cat who eats squash?