Don’t Worry, Bugs

Over the past two weeks by now (sheesh, has it really been that long?), I kind of lost my train of thought.  Who wouldn’t, with Cat-Woman Destivelle and Cat-Guy MacAskill?  But I’m glad to say the train’s just pulled back into the station again, so all aboard please.

We’re talking about how I, a newbie to the animal world, am searching for ways to negotiate life with a stray cat who, around 1.5 years ago, waltzed up to me on the street and announced that I would be permitted to care for him.  He’s been quite the handful.  Regular readers know the most dramatic example:  The claw-launch maneuver.

We’ve progressed to the stage where I’m not actually injured – but this morning he tried it on again for size.  Now don’t get me wrong, we’re still enjoying great progress, in that I didn’t actually bleed – but I need him to just give this caper up altogether.  And there are other issues, less serious but still quality-of-life-debilitating, that we have too.

So here’s a checklist of what I’ve done, on the basis of what I’ve learned from all y’all and from expert-saints like Jackson Galaxy:

Item:  Cats need to inhabit three dimensions.

Accomplished:  Installed shelves and several aerial beds.

Item:  The circadian thing.  Twice a day, cats need to hunt-catch-kill, eat-groom-crash.

Accomplished:  Begun a regimen of hunt-catch-kill-eat-groom-crash, twice a day.  Look at the hunt-game we invented, using scraps from the drum Bugs I broke.

Item:  Firm, clear-but-calm-authoritative correction.  A “no” to the claw-launch, immediately followed by a “yes” to something else.

fingerTSSHT!!

Accomplished:  Firm correction, followed by request to come up for scritches, followed by treat.  It’s working.  But per this morning, claw-launch is not gone entirely.  I want it gone entirely.

Item:  Bugs and I probably  need more time.  To paraphrase Jackson’s latest Q&A session – which I highly recommend – our relationship will be fluid over time; over the entirety of our lives together, Bugs and I will eventually learn to trust each other more.

Accomplished:  Cultivating patient mindfulness on my part.  Stepped up my meditation practice.  Response on Bugs’s part is incremental.  Two steps forward, one back.  Here’s Bugs in his more-mellow incarnation, after I meditated and also issued a firm correction:

Item:  Hmm.  Maybe the next step might be to introduce into the household another cat, about the same age but who’s spent life with humans.  An ally, a teammate, so the conversation can be  assisted by a friendly humane-feline translator.  Wondering about this, thanks to suggestions from friends.

Accomplishment Plan A:  Call vet-rescuers about cat “Buttercup” on PetFinder.  Buttercup looked just the ticket.  By the time I called, Buttercup had found another home.  I grieve/rejoice to say.

Accomplishment Plan B:  Will continue the search.  Watch this space.

Don’t worry, Bugs.  I still totally love you.

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About nadbugs

Anita loves cats. This must be because she, too, has had nine lives. She’s been dancing since she could walk, she was a commercial artist and advertising producer, she earned a third-degree black belt in Aikido, she is a drummer with the Afrique Aya Dance Company, she is an attorney, and she’s a meditator and a devoted student of Nonviolent Communication. She also spent one lifetime sidelined with a devastating back injury in 1992. Since then – FELDENKRAIS METHOD® to the rescue. The FELDENKRAIS METHOD is all about dreaming concretely – thinking intelligently and independently by way of a gracious and kind physicality. The work affords all who study it a process by which to reach, with movement, into the mind and the heart, to make nine lives into one whole being.
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12 Responses to Don’t Worry, Bugs

  1. Marcy Benham says:

    Bean, did you know the Fay Animal Shelter is having a “name your price” adoption deal through 8/25? For a minimum of $5, you can adopt a cat that will be spayed/neutered, vaccinated & chipped? Cool, huh? My Uma put up with old Rebel for years, begrudgingly, but now she owns the house (at night anyway when the dogs are in bed) and loves it so I don’t want to impose upon her highness with another “intruder” or I’d be down there looking around.

  2. nadbugs says:

    Dear Marcy, I’m SO tempted to suggest you and I hop on down there just for grins — but STOP!! because we know what would happen. My thought is that I am not able, enough, to take on another challenge like Bugs — I really really need a lapcat, and I need that character to be as sure-fire as can ever be predicted in these basically unknown circumstances —

    So I decided not to go with the Fay Shelter idea but, instead, to go to some of the more-intimate animal-rescue ops, where, like for example on PetFinder, you can tell they’ve actually spent time with the animal and know him / her somewhat.

    Oh — I hear the Shelter tugging on my leash — DOWN! TSSSHT!!! [breathing deeply] Visualizing spaciousness, time, no pressure, wait to hear from Jackson, do your research, come on Bean, you can do this —

    But have you SEEN how MANY cats there are out there on PetFinder, within a 100-mile radius, looking for homes?? APPALLING!!!!

    • Oldcat says:

      That’s how I got Calpurnia a year or so ago – looking at Petfinder at all those cats.

      Take some care in choosing your new cat – he or she has to have a little sass in case Bugs is a little intense – you don’t want one cat under the bed all the time and Bugs unexercised. A possible thing is too look for a Maine Coon mix – they tend to be mild and calmer cats but not shy like a Persian often is. Though they do get big.

  3. nadbugs says:

    I hear a delicate balance is needed, thank you for pointing that out. And interesting about Maine Coons. I totally love the way they look — but my house is so little, I feel dubious about taking on a cat that big . . . . Love the idea of Calla reaching out to you through PF. A happy thing.

  4. Eleanor says:

    I love this tick list. It’s all so positive and it’s interesting to see the problem + solution together. Hmmmm, that last part…HOW EXCITING!!! You’re right about the need to be selective when choosing a 2nd cat. You’ve asked Jackson Galaxy for some pointers? Perhaps you could find one that’s around the 6-12 month age. That way it should already be showing it’s personality. I’d also heard that it’s best to stick to the same sex when you are a 2 cat household. I don’t know how much truth there is to that as I’ve nearly always had just male cat couples, I haven’t experienced a M+F cat mixed household since I was very young.

    • nadbugs says:

      I have asked Jackson, Ellie. Thank you so much for your input. There are so many factors, aren’t there! I’m excited, too. Cautiously so. I’m mindful of what I’ll be taking on — the risk. But of course excited and so interested. Let’s see what the consensus turns out to be.

  5. MelanieJ says:

    Best wishes in selecting a new cat for the household! I totally think that having the right cat would be a great thing for Bugs! But it’s good that you are being so cautious and selective … my Romeo was such a cautionary tale; introducing TOO passive of a cat into a household of maniacs was not such a good thing for him or for us.

  6. You’ve really done a lot of good work. You really must love your kitty to be so dedicated. Jackson Galaxy really does know cats, and I’m so glad he’s helping people with their issues. Good luck with another kitty, I hope it helps!

    • nadbugs says:

      Oh Julia I really do love him. Bugs, that is. And Jackson too. I’m so happy I like Jackson so much, because there’s so much advice out there — Jackson seems like such a good fit, for me and Bugs. And judging from his FaceBook page, and the volume of Q&A he’s been getting, there are an awful lot of us who are really grateful for him. And thanks for the good wishes re another kitty. A work in progress. I’d really like to take my (our) time. Lots of moving parts, it seems to me. Fingers crossed.

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