My Cat is Actually a Demonic Cow

I am in the fetal position in the corner of my bed, pressed up against the wall. I am crying, but no one can hear me. I just want to go eat a turkey sandwich or maybe some Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but I can’t. Eyeing the closed door to freedom directly opposite me, I decide to attempt another escape. I tentatively lower my left leg over the side of my mattress while fearfully clutching my purple comforter. All of a sudden, a streak of fur shoots out from under my bed and sinks its teeth into my Achilles. I scream and withdraw my foot as the monster retreats into the recesses of its lair, only emerging every so often to reassert its dominance by leaping up and biting me.

Some of my most vivid childhood memories consist of my cat viciously attacking me. I can remember running and sobbing to my parents and hearing them tell  me that I was “being dramatic” and that there was “no way Mia was trying to kill me.” Only after they saw her stake out the bathroom for a  post-shower assault on my shoulder did my parents finally believe my horror stories.

My cat prepares to bang her face against the glass of my gerbils' tank. The gerbils and I think it's hilarious when she does this.

My cat prepares to bang her face against the glass of my gerbils’ tank. The gerbils and I think it’s hilarious when she does this.

To be perfectly honest, a cat wasn’t my first choice. I wanted a dog, but owning two un-potty-trained Yorkshire terriers when I was five had traumatized my mother, so I geared my energy toward convincing my parents to bring home a sweet, loving, baby kitten instead. When they finally agreed, my family journeyed across town to The Lawrence Humane Society and naively adopted what we thought to be an innocent five month old kitten.

Mia was innocent for the first few weeks, maybe even the first few months after we brought her home, but then she evolved into a territorial fiend. She conquered visitors’ shoes and attacked the owners when they attempted to reclaim their footwear. No intruder was safe from her needle-sharp teeth, blood-curling hiss and declawed paws. She assaulted anyone from small children to grown men. Even today, when my grandma comes over to feed my cat while my family is out of town, she carries a broom to beat the demonic feline away if she approaches.

I took this picture, left for six hours, came back and took the same picture.

I took this picture, left for six hours, came back and took the same picture.

After 8 1/2 years, Mia has somewhat calmed down. Because I hit her on the head with a dictionary a couple times in self defense, she no longer stalks me. In fact, Mia doesn’t attack too many people anymore. She is getting older. Her gait is now uneven, and sometimes she moves like every step is more difficult than the last. That’s probably why she only rouses herself to switch sleeping locations or to go to the litter box.

Because of her 25 lb frame, my nine year old cat isn’t capable of doing the average “cat” pastimes without injuring herself or breaking something.  She can no longer gracefully jump on  a ledge or hop on a bookshelf without missing the ledge or breaking a shelf. She’s too lazy to chase a flashlight’s beam. Her obesity and age make her much easier to find these days. If she’s not pooping or eating, she’s sleeping on my bed or drinking out of my toilet. If she isn’t doing any of these activities, she’s probably making out with the living room rug.

Mia gets camera shy when I try to take pictures of her drinking toilet water or licking the rug, so this is a rare snapshot of her in her natural habitat.

Mia gets camera shy when I try to take pictures of her drinking toilet water or licking the rug, so this is a rare snapshot of her in her natural habitat.

Everyone in my family is pretty indifferent to my cat’s existence at this point except for my dad. My father loves Mia. He loves the way her stomach flops back and forth, nearly touching the ground when she walks. He loves when she weaves in front of him, meowing pitifully for him to feed her in the mornings. If he thinks no one can hear him, my dad talks to my cat like he’s cooing to a human baby. My dad’s enjoyment is one of the only reasons we keep our real-life Garfield around.

After I finish typing this blog, I will perform the weekly ritual of washing Mia’s butt because she is too fat to lick it herself. Then I will brush her fur so that later this week I will only have to lint roll my jacket once instead of twice. As I perform these tasks, I will quietly wish for Mia’s demise, but tomorrow morning, I will wake up early enough to listen to my dad whisper to her while he pours her kit and kaboodle into her Aristocats food bowl, and I will hope that she sticks around for a few years more.

My cat is a plus-sized feline model. Sporting her small dog sweater, her confident pose shows that her weight does not make her any less beautiful.

My cat is a plus-sized feline model. Sporting a small dog sweater, her confident pose shows that her weight does not hinder her beauty.


My Gerbil Farm

I have an addictive personality. When I become interested in a topic, people around me find it difficult to redirect conversations away from my current obsession. The summer before sophomore year, I became interested in gerbils. Gerbils are, in theory, the perfect pet. They aren’t nearly as needy as a dog or a cat, but they also aren’t as boring as a fish or a rock. Since I had already experimented with owning dogs, cats, fish and rocks, I basically knew this to be a fact. For the entire months of May and June, I begged my mother to let me have gerbils of my very own.

“Who would take care of them?” my mom asked.

“Me, obviously,” I responded.

“Who would pay for their expenses?” my mom asked.

“Me, obviously,” I responded.

“Who would –”

“ME. I have always been a responsible pet owner! Except for the time that I left my hermit crab in my closet for a month in second grade, but that was a long time ago, and I have learned from my mistakes!!!”

My mom finally caved, and we went to the pet store.

My youngest brother Ian and I decided to purchase two gerbil sisters, and after decorating their cage with origami treat baskets, a running wheel and a couple cereal boxes, we made the big purchase at PetCo.

When we got home, we put the gerbils in their tank in my brother’s room. Ian named his gerbil Cameron, I named mine Sketch, and everything went well for the next hour and a half.  At that point in time, Ian came out of his room sobbing hysterically, “Kyra! Cameron is trying to kill Sketch, and I think she’s going to die!”

My cat examines the newly arrived and short stayed Cameron and Sketch

My cat examines the newly arrived and short stayed Cameron and Sketch

The next day, we returned Cameron and Sketch to PetCo and resolved to chose less bloodthirsty rodents in the future. Unfortunately, the gerbil troubles did not end there.

My brother and I purchased two different gerbils from PetWorld. These ones were supposedly both male and supposed to be more docile. Kermit and Lock, as we decided to name them, definitely loved each other, but not the way we originally thought.

Little baby Lock still thinks she's a boy.

Little baby Lock still thinks she’s a boy.

Several months passed, and I was at basketball practice when I received the alarming text from my brother: “LOCK HAD BABIES!!!!! FSDIOFSDFHF.”

My mind was pretty much blown at that point because Lock was a boy. Apparently, when we thought he had been growing up and getting bigger, she had been hooking up and getting pregnant. When I got home, I discovered two pink quarter sized blobs flopping around in a nest. I went to the kitchen to eat some cereal and try to process the situation. While I munched on my Frosted Flakes, Kermit, the daddy gerbil, ran by my feet. My thirty pound cat galloped behind him, nipping at Kermit’s tail. This was also unexpected. I swiftly scooped up the rodent and plopped him into the tank with the other unexpected events of the evening.

Upon interrogation as to why a gerbil was running around pooping all over the house, my other brother Noah revealed that Kermit had eaten a baby, so Ian had made the executive decision to store the cannibal in the bathtub to await his trial. At this point, I was so done with the situation, I left Kermit in with the mother and babies because I was too lazy to think of other options. I guess he just had first time dad jitters when he ate his pup because he ended up being a wonderful father to all of his other litters.

Ian named the babies Sugar and Spice, and I tried to figure out what to do with them. According to the gerbil forum, Lock was probably already knocked up again, so we didn’t separate her from her baby daddy. After Sugar and Spice were about six weeks old, we gave them to one of my dad’s coworkers, making and remaking sure that they were both female.

Sugar and Spice at three days old

Sugar and Spice at three days old

Lock stopped having babies for a while after that, but it wasn’t like Kermit and her weren’t trying. I couldn’t sleep at night because the gerbils were thumping their hind feet on the bottom of their cage. I googled why they would feel the urge to do this, and I found out they were having sex.

In March, Lock surprised us with another litter. This time, she had two more babies, and we named them Mac and Cheese. Then spring break happened. We had a neighbor take care of the gerbils while we were out of town, but when we returned we were met with atrocious news: Kermit was not the only cannibal in the family, and Lock had had four more babies. While we were gone, Lock had killed the two babies from her second litter and spread their gruesome remains all about the cage. Our neighbor had placed the dead babies in a grocery bag, and when we got home, my dad tossed them in the garbage can. I made up a lie about death by respiratory infection to tell my brother because I felt the need to preserve his innocence a little bit.

Mac and Cheese at one week

Mac and Cheese at one week

Lock did not kill the four babies of her third litter. When the babies were four weeks old, I separated the boys from the girls, leaving the only girl baby Ms. Piggy alone with her crazy mother. I took Kermit and the male babies Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle down to my room and kept them in a 20 gallon tank.

Fully grown Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are thirsty.

Fully grown Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are #thirsty.

Lock had gotten pregnant just after she had her third litter, and pretty soon, she had six more babies. We didn’t name them. Four died because Lock weaned them too early. We gave the other two to the pet store.

For those of you keeping track at home, my brother and I had an eight for fourteen baby gerbil survival rate, and gerbils are not actually the perfect pet. I am not obsessed with gerbils anymore. I have moved on to bigger and better things like Doctor Who and frozen yogurt.