When someone adopts a cat, I would imagine that the typical responsibilities that go along with it are pretty evident: dishing out food, washing bowls, playing cat games, keeping the litter box scooped, dealing with an occasional fur ball puddle, and ultimately, offering love, comfort and security.
But I must have missed the fine print on the contract as there are some strange things I found myself doing that were not entirely evident from the start. But when Miss Ivy looks up at me with those big green eyes and lets out a soft meow, it puts a big smile on my face and makes it all worth it.
Here they are, the top 10 weird things that the cat made me do:
10 – Baby proof the house
Since the arrival of Ivy, I don’t recognize myself since I have turned into a bit of a robot, always on auto pilot, perpetually looking to eradicate any potential choking hazard like twist ties, buttons, dimes and elastic bands. Also, I have placed pieces of masking tape on ground level cabinets to prevent Ivy from opening them, especially if they contain anything potentially dangerous. The reality is that despite a curious spirit, she seems to lack a mischievous streak to get into any trouble, and frankly aside from tissue paper and yarn, she doesn’t seem terribly interested in human stuff.
9 – Checking her stools
After the feline parasite incident of last September, whenever I scoop her litter, I do keep an eye open to ensure nothing is moving or looking back at me from the litter box. Along with that, goes an occasional check of her bottom to ensure all is clean there too. There should have been a “claws” in the contract about that part!
8 – Counting cat calories
Much like human food, not all food is equal when it comes to calories. In the first months after her arrival, she was starting to put on a little weight. The vet suggested I limit the amount of wet food I offer her. That was easy enough but a day or two later, she was following me around the house like my shadow and constantly meowing. I had also noticed that she was going through her food rather quickly, including the dry food I was leaving out. This started the process of reading the fine print on cat foot labels. Little did I know that her favourites were actually very low in calories (50-60 calories per serving), while some other commercially available foods can be 100 calories or more per serving. From that point on, I have kept track of which favourites were higher in calories vs lower, and adjusting the portion size accordingly. In the end, by my calculations, she is pretty self-regulating and stays around 180 calories per day, a little less if she’s been sleeping a lot, and a little more if we have played a lot.
7 – Postponing basic human needs when she’s asleep on me
She is just so calm and peaceful when she is taking a nap, it would be such a shame to disturb her. Plus let us not forget the wrath I occasionally incur if I wake her up before she is ready to wake up… Meh, let her sleep.
6 – Watching a show I don’t want to watch when she’s asleep on me.
I learned my lesson early on: be sure that the remotes are within reach if I plan on parking myself in front of the TV for a while, and risk her climbing aboard and falling asleep on me. Nonetheless, from time to time, I forget and end up watching something that really does not appeal to me while she sleeps so soundly.
5 – Cutting her meat and fish
Some wet foods look quite delicious in that they contain nice big chunks of beef, chicken or fish. Unfortunately, some of them are too big for little Ivy to eat, to the point that she used to leave them behind… not an effective use of my pet food budget. The easy fix was simply to cut her meat and fish for her. The result, fewer pieces left over or the plate is licked clean…. Princess Ivy is not spoiled.
4 – Getting concerned about her fibre intake
When I first got her, I was told that she never ate pâté style foods, which remained true for several months. Then sometime in the fall, her tastes changed. None of her favourites were her favourites anymore. When I tried her on pâté style foods she loved them, but for some reason she was getting a little “irregular”, and “going” less frequently, which created other complications. Once I found some sources of fibre I could incorporate into her pâté favourites, she was “going” like a champion again.
3 – Learning her language
I hinted at this in the post, “Just Like Mom”, in that a few months after adopting Ivy, I discovered that there is a pattern to her meowing language in helping her express a need. It blew my mind that following her meows, looking her in the eye, gently stroking her head and sweetly asking a question actually elicits a reaction as she leads me to the area of feline concern.
2 – Taking pictures, LOTS of pictures
And using up every MB of free space on multiple devices. It’s worth it…it provides great material for her Instagram account (Check her out on Instagram under the name: Ivy_the_cat.ca)
1 – Eating chocolate in hiding
I was mortified when I heard that chocolate could be toxic for cats, especially since chocolate is accepted as a food group in this house. To strike the right balance I find myself locking myself in closed rooms or closets to eat chocolate, dashing to the nearest sink to wash my hands and brush my teeth, and then washing the sink, in order to not leave a trace.
OK, that last part might be a little over the top, but with a precious loved one as Ivy is, there seem to be no boundaries to the weird lengths I would go to, to keep her healthy, happy and in a steady, contented purr.
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Have a great day,