Well, Life on the Farm Was Kind of Laid Back…

We have two cats.

(I might have mentioned that before. In fact, with as many times as I have mentioned the cats in residence here, I may be turning into a crazy person myself, who blogs about cats. Ugh. If I take up crocheting afghans in the next couple of days, I’m doomed to crazy status.)

The reason that we have two cats is simple. I have forbidden Hubs from ever sneaking home another kitten again. No way. Period.

We also have goldfish.

They are my favorite, because they stay where they’re supposed to stay. (Well, for the most part, minus the acrobat who decided, after four years of boring tank life, to see what would happen if he back-somersaulted THIS way. He landed on the floor, that’s what happened. And one of the cats found him before the humans did. That’s what else happened. We no longer have that goldfish. Really, it was tragic, and it was his own fault, for not staying in the tank.) The goldfish also do not break many house rules. They swim; they eat; they don’t complain when the tank corrodes over with algae and other nasty aquatic growth.

We also have deer.

I did not sign up for the deer. I made no affirmative decision to take the deer on. They were not in my homeowner plans. When we built our house here, the neighbors failed to inform us that this was the prime spot where the deer and the antelope played. Except the antelope don’t play here, because getting here would involve some fence-jumping, which they are not prone to do. But the deer? Land’s sakes, but they’ll jump hurdles sideways with their eyeballs crossed and their ears in a knot, if it means they can access my lawn and eat the delicacy known as my bushes.

I love my yard. I love my bushes and my trees. I do not love the deer. In fact, the boy’s Aunt Pink gave him a blow dart gun for Christmas. It shoots miniature paintballs, and Hubs and I encourage the boy to artistically decorate the deer in coats of many colors on a regular basis.

With all the wildlife adventures around here, I am beginning to think that I would enjoy living in a sterilized, animal-free bubble, where someone would simply bring me food every single day, and I’d never have to worry about cat hair or half-eaten rosebushes again.

Cat 1 at our house suffers from anger management issues, and is in dire need of a twelve-step program to see her through it and help her discover recovery on the other side. (“Hi. My name is Cat 1, and I get angry.” Applause. “Welcome, Cat 1.”) Cat 2, being the complete opposite of her sister, is a lover. She’s a huge lover. However, she is also…how can I say this politely?

Not smart.

That’ll work.

Not only is no one home at Cat 2’s place, but her light isn’t even on. In fact, I’m not sure that Cat 2’s place even has electricity. It might be easier to say, “Her candle’s not even lit.” Saying that her elevator doesn’t go clear to the top is pointless, too, because she doesn’t even have an elevator. Or stairs. It’s more of a rickety ladder propped against the wall for upper level access. The upper level, by the way, is nothing but an empty storage facility. Cat 2 is content to stare at walls. She eats flies. She loses time. She has a panic attack (or eighteen) on a daily basis, when something frightens her. I honestly believe that Hubs and the boy and I are all new people to her, every single morning. It’s almost like she wants to reintroduce herself to us as we go about the ritual of showering and applying deodorant each day, because she simply doesn’t recognize us from the day before. A few mornings ago, Hubs asked me, “What do you think Cat 2 would be like, if she lived in the wild?” Without even a pause, I told him, “She would have been a meal for another animal with big teeth a long time ago.” Hubs nodded. He was in complete agreement.

When the house settles down for the night, and I crawl into bed, Cat 1 also crawls into bed. She has a blanket at the foot of our bed, where she is supposed to sleep, but she prefers to inch her way up, where she wraps herself around my neck like a cat scarf. Here, she will purr and snuggle down, until I wake up and toss her back to her blanket. But really? Cat 1 will stay put in bed, once the lights are out. It’s why she is called The Nighttime Favorite.

Cat 2 usually comes to bed shortly after we do, as well. She is perfectly content to sleep on the blanket at the foot of the bed, because she has no idea who the strangers are with their heads on the pillows, and strangers equal danger. And danger equals panic attacks. So she stays away. However, if anyone gets up in the middle of the night, Cat 2 considers her evening nap to be over. Done.

Take last night. Hubs and I hauled the boy to a movie, and the pink SoBe drink did me in. At 3:00 this morning, I had to make a mad dash for the bathroom, but I didn’t do it right away. I could feel the weight of Cat 1, wrapped around my neck; Cat 2’s weight was slumped against my foot. I knew, without a doubt, if I got out of bed, Cat 1 would roll over and go right back to sleep. Cat 2 was the problem.

I laid in bed as long as I possibly could. And then, people, I couldn’t remain there any longer. At 3:15, I was up, visiting the bathroom.

At 3:16, I was back in bed, and Cat 2 was gone.

At 3:18 she had discovered a clam-shaped eraser that the boy had brought home from school and left on our dining room table. This is the other thing that Cat 2 does. In the middle of the night, she roams the dining room table and kitchen counters, regardless of the fact that she would be beaten severely for such acts, if we caught her at them during the daytime hours. At our house, if you put your feet in the litter box, you do not put your feet on the counters and the tables. There is no room for discussion on this. Cat 2 breaks this rule on a nightly basis.

At 3:20 this morning, Cat 2 had the clam-shaped eraser in our bedroom, where she proceeded to bat it against the door. Over. And over. And over. And over.

Hubs sat up in bed and made the hissing sound through his teeth which sends Cat 2 into a full-scale, code red, must-run-for-cover panic attack.

The attack hit. Her tail puffed up. She left. It was as though she had never been there.

At 3:25, she was back in our room, thumping the clam-shaped eraser against our door, because she had completely forgotten about the panic-inducing hiss that scared her off five minutes earlier, and wow! Look! An eraser on the floor! How on earth did that get there?

At 3:26, Hubs sat up and threw a pillow across the bedroom at Cat 2, which sent her into the second high-alert panic attack of the night. Her tail puffed up, and she raced on out of the room.

At 3:30, she was back. Back with the eraser, hitting it against our door. Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.

At 3:31, Hubs jumped out of bed, and stomped across the bedroom floor, like Horton might have, in an effort to save the flower with Whoville on it. Honestly, a brontosaurus would have made less noise in our bedroom. He threw more pillows. He snarled. He growled about killing Cat 2 with his bare hands and having her stuffed as a future show piece for the fireplace mantle, even though he knows that I have no plans for any taxidermy to be displayed here. Ever.

Naturally, this Jolly Green Giant attack on Hubs’ part scared the snot out of Cat 1, who had been sleeping as peacefully as she could through the initial rounds of friendly fire. Being scared senseless with all the stomping and the snarling, and only hearing the part about “stuffing the cat and turning her into home decor” made her rip out of the bed, as she wasn’t sure WHICH cat Hubs was referring to.

What happens when you’re wearing a cat scarf in the bed, and she suddenly decides to rip out and leave? I’ll tell you what. She leaves scratches resembling train tracks down your ribcage, and then…wow! Wide awake! Not that I was sleeping through the onslaught of the Jolly Green Giant attack in the first place, but suddenly I found myself on the front line of the battle, with a bleeding war wound to boot, and desperately in need of Captain Hawkeye Pierce and some bandages.

At this point, Hubs grabbed the only remaining pillow in the bed, yanked the blanket off the foot of the bed, and left. He took himself to the sofa in the living room, completely away from the felines and their antics, so that he could go back to sleep.

And I fell asleep again somewhere around 5:45, only to hear the alarm go off at 6:15 this morning. I can honestly say that I felt like I’d had my head caught in a combine, it was so cloudy and sleep-deprived.

Naturally, Hubs told me this morning that it was all my fault anyway, because I had made the choice to get out of bed and wake Cat 2 up.

And the deer?

Yesterday, I ran a herd of eight does off our property, as they were grazing on the only area of grass in our yard which has started to turn green. There was my lone patch of green blades, just starting to poke through in the early spring sunshine, and there were the eight does, gathered together for a little girl time, some deer gossip, and a bit of a mid-morning snack. I ran them off, by flailing my arms in circles and screeching at them, to the neighbor’s yard, where they turned around and stood staring at me, like I was a wound-up circus monkey on crack, and they weren’t sure what to make of me.

The deer and I are going to go head to head in combat this spring, I’m afraid. I’ve already talked to the boy about drawing up plans for an electric fence, and I’m beginning to think that Hubs’ idea of a moat filled with flesh-eating alligators and piranhas is actually a good idea.

Let’s see you jump over the snapping gators to get to my daisies and geraniums, Deer!

But then, every now and then, these animals do something which completely catches me off guard, and makes me feel a bit sorry for them.

This morning, after picking up the house and folding a couple loads of laundry, I discovered myself with about forty-five minutes of free time, which is rare. I decided not to ruin it. I made a cup of chai tea (Only eleven days until Easter and Starbucks, by the way!), and I sat down with a book to read. Cat 2, upon finding me relaxing with a novel, jumped up onto the sofa with me and said, “Hey! Who are you? Have you lived here long? Can I sit with you for a spell?” And she did. She purred, and she snuggled against my hip, and she behaved herself, and I found myself patting her head and telling her what a good girl she has turned out to be.

And a couple of Saturdays ago, while the boy was outside playing with a pack of kids (and by pack, I mean seven other children), they discovered a dead deer beneath our deck. Apparently she had been hit by a car, as one of her legs was grossly broken, and there was evidence of internal bleeding. She had obviously crawled under our deck, looking for a safe spot, and blam!

She died.

My first reaction was horror, and I demanded that Hubs don his special gloves for touching dead things and pull her out from beneath the deck. I reminded him, in vivid detail, that my marriage contract clearly states that I do not touch any dead things. At all. It was a sad little sight. Hubs hauled her out, and I actually felt very sorry that I have invested so much time into hating deer. Hubs did not feel sorry for this deer at all. He was just glad the kids had found her before the flies did, because, ohmygoodness! Stink! Hubs just wishes that the city would open Deer Season in town, so that he could beat a couple more deer down with a sawed-off two-by-four. Still, I had a moment where my heart hurt a little bit for this mother deer, who had suffered and died.

But then they were back in my yard again this morning, and I realized…

that doe beneath my deck is one down in my war plan.

And Cat 2? Well, she hasn’t found herself mounted above the fireplace yet, but if she sends Hubs into another tailspin like she did in the wee hours of this morning, she might be. I might even be the one to do it, because I’m not sure I can handle the Jolly Green Giant stomping around on the front lines again.

Happy Wednesday night, y’all.

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