Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Do My Cats Love Me, or Do They Love My Chair?

Are cats capable of feeling love? I think so. I often see a look in the eyes of my cats that at least passes for loving. According to Dr. Berit Brogaard, writing in Psychology Today,  the brains of cats are 90 percent similar, in structure, to our own. Dr. Brogaard goes on to say that, while cats demonstrate a more avoidant attachment style than dogs typically do, they are capable of becoming attached to their caregivers. Of course, if you've ever owned a cat, you already understood this. My cats follow me around the house all day long. When I come home, they are waiting at the door to greet me. Fatty will sleep in my bed at night if I let him, and if I don't let him, he scratches furiously at the door with both front feet until I emerge. 

Whenever I sit down in my favorite chair, a cat sits on me. Max does this weird thing where he'll jump on my lap, knead at my belly for several minutes, and then curl up on or next to my feet, usually staring at me adoringly. Fatty is more of a lap cat. He'll spend hours sleeping on my lap. Even Penny, when she was still with us, eventually warmed up to the idea of sitting on my lap, although her favorite place to sit for most of our time together was on the arm of my chair.

The chair in question.

I always thought this behavior was a sign of their love for me. Fatty probably thinks I'm his mother, seeing as how I rescued him from a Wal-Mart parking lot when he was three weeks old. Max is less attached. But recently the manfriend remarked, "I don't think they're sitting on you because they love you. I think it's the chair."

I realize that on the surface, that sounds kind of harsh. Obviously they love me, but he kind of has a point. When I sit on the couch, or in my office chair, they're nowhere near as interested in sitting on me. Most tellingly, whenever the manfriend sits in the chair, they suddenly discover a newfound interest in sitting on him, too. Also, there is almost always a cat in the chair whether anyone is sitting in it or not.

They're using me to get to the chair. Those little bastards. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

3 Reasons I Want to Stress-Eat Right Now

Last month, I finished my master's program at WVU. That means I've developed a
number of new skills, chief among them, stress eating. I'm not f&cking kidding here. I've
gained 30 lbs. My GP blames my anti-depressants, which can, in his words, "make people
hungry," but I blame the fact that, while I quit smoking over five years ago, I didn't quit
needing to put something into my mouth every time I'm upset. So throughout my very
demanding program, I have stuffed my face and fed my sugar addiction on the daily.
I tried, halfheartedly, or perhaps quarter-heartedly, or even one-fifth-heartedly, to stop. These efforts mostly amounted to asking my psychiatrist what I should do about the stress-eating. She replied, "Try the organic Oreos."

I, however, didn't want to let the matter go. "But, I mean, is it healthy to eat a whole sleeve of Oreos at one time?"

"Don't they come in trays?"

"Okay, a tray, then."

She shrugged. "I think you should do what makes you happy."

So, thusly blessed by the medical establishment, I kept on eating my problems. But now
that I've finished my degree, I'd like to stop. Unfortunately, I'm not quite sure what I'm
supposed to do with my problems if I'm not eating them. I mean, what's the alternative to eating your problems -- solving them, like some kind of animal? Here are some of the problems I'm currently trying not to eat.

1) I Don't Have a Job

Having just finished a degree means I don't have a job. I'm can still freelance and I'm
doing that, but I've reached a stage in my life when I want sick days and paid vacations.
I'm also intrigued by the thought of regular paychecks. But I'm job hunting in West
Virginia, a state not known for its thriving economy. It's not looking good. 

2) I Don't Want to Move

Ok, so on the one hand, I guess I'm not super in love with the idea of staying in West
Virginia. But if there's one thing I've learned in my many travels, it's that there's
something to be said for being close to your people, even if, like me, you don't really
have that many people. It's hard making new friends as an adult, and I'm well into that
part of adulthood in which all of my peers already have enough friends, thank you, and are
too busy taking care of their kids to hang out with anyone, anyway. Plus, I've been here
for years; I have friends, routines, and a life here. I've spent my entire adult life
tearing up stakes and moving every few years, and I'm sick of it. Moving is a pain in the

3) One of My Cats Just Died

OMG you guys, my most affectionate, best-behaved, favorite cat just died and it was
traumatic. She had been sick with an unspecified illness that caused severe anemia and
lethargy, so I took her to the vet, and he ordered several tests and prescribed some
antibiotics. The next morning I gave her the antibiotics, and she immediately started
vomiting, pissed herself, and slipped into a state in which she was lying on the floor, panting and groaning, unable to move. I rushed her back to the vet, which is like half an hour from
my house because #fml, and they said it looked like she'd had a stroke. X-rays showed
that her heart had become enlarged because of the anemia (which had likely been
chronic), and the vet thought that some blood had become trapped therein, where it clotted, only to be forced out by the vomiting. So I had to put her to sleep. The last time I had to put a cat to sleep it sucked, but I had known he was sick for a few weeks; I had time to prepare myself, and he wasn't in pain. Penny died suddenly, and not peacefully. She suffered, and I watched her suffer, powerless to stop it. I brought her home and buried her in the garden, under the strawberry patch, since the strawberries never did that well, anyway. I put some cinder blocks over her grave so that nothing would dig her up, and I'm going to make a nice headstone for her. But then I'll probably have to move and leave her here. It's enough to make me want to scarf an entire package of fatty, sugary, non-organic Oreos.

Rest in peace, sweetie. :'(