When my husband is away on business I am a better version of myself. I plan, I prioritize, I empathize (a little more), I clean, I fold laundry and I clean up cat barf. I don’t let things slide because someone else is in the house and they may do it.
The chores in our house are not clearly defined, nor is pet care. Sure, my husband does the garbage more than I do, and I do dishes more often. But it’s not like I don’t ever drag garbage cans around like I’m a three-ring circus performer showing my stuff, or that he never unloads the dishwasher. I make the kids lunches one day more per week, but who’s counting? There are some things that can get annoying, I think, for both of us. The cat is a contentious issue at times.
Our cat is old and crotchety and we have to keep her. She is now 16 and we’ve had her since she was 5 years old. That’s already a bit old to start with a cat. We got her through an animal rescue shelter and promised that we would not get rid of her; she’d been in and out of that place at least 5 times already before our rescue. We have kept our promise, through hair balls and medical issues and old cat habits. She has a loud and shrill voice that she does not control. I don’t think her hearing is going; I think she knows exactly how annoying she is. Sometimes she wakes up and starts the meowing at 3am, head-butting our door as she does it.
By nature I am lazy. Ask me to go for a run and “I am the tiger”. Ask me to help clean up piles of papers, or vacuum, or do dishes, or deal with some cat mess and “Mary had a little lamb.” I’m all weak and white as snow. This week I have had to do all the cat stuff. I usually feed her in the morning, but have also shouldered the task of feeding her wet food at night. She refuses to go outside but asserts her control; she meows at the door incessantly until you open it, only to sniff suspiciously and wedge herself between door ajar and door jamb. I have had to deal with the litter box (I’d almost be pregnant again just to avoid doing this) and, as I mentioned, the cat does not go out. The cat also gets a bit neurotic, wolfs down her food and then regurgitates it elsewhere. I don’t know the reasoning behind this one.
The cat is our household barometer. It’s well-known that animals are instinctive creatures. When things are getting stressful or exciting, the cat starts to go squirrely. She can follow you around like a small dog when she sees suitcases coming out of the attic and knows someone is leaving the house. She starts to gnaw and claw at the furniture when the kids yell and I yell back, louder. When we watch tv and she curls up on a lap and gets a pat, she purrs and is content, pleasant and sits patiently for her food.
I can tell how well things are going by how the cat is acting. She has been mostly content all week. This morning she started the meowing at 6am, so I made sure to feed her right away. She wolfed down more food than usual, causing me to think perhaps I’d forgotten to feed her last night. Ten minutes later she was doing the self-imposed Heimlich and leaving me all her breakfast to clean up. I thought my week alone with the kids had gone so well, perhaps the cat thought otherwise.