Cat Tree 12/13/20

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

Today was a mixed bag. A couple of inches of snow at, and sometimes above, freezing meant I needed to procure a shovel and salt. Heavy and ugly work indeed. But I had a little bit of fun, too. I started placing cat items like the scratching post, two cat beds and such. One of the more fun tasks was constructing the cat tree. I tend to spoil my partners (fur and otherwise), so I bought the largest cat tree I could find; four levels, two batting balls, a ramp, seven scratching posts and a hidey hole. And, yes, assembly required.

I love putting stuff like that together. This was a fun one, too, with a diagram showing what pieces go where but no written instructions. I found myself disassembling a few times but mostly it went smoothly, like a giant tinker toy, and in the end, I have a cat tree over four feet tall.

But no cat.

It’s okay. Maybe next week I’ll adopt one. In the meantime, I can contemplate the cat, and the deeper meaning of it all. For example, I realized that for the cat, my adoption will be a highly stressful time. S/he doesn’t know me, doesn’t know the house, and it will take time to feel at home. I guess we’re the same, this mystery cat and me. I’m still feeling stressed in this new environment. It’s not a home yet, but it will be. It has to get my “smell”, just like the cat will need. I’ve been moving my stuff in, which helps, but I still have a lot of work to do. At this point I’m prioritizing my work, clearing out one room at a time based on usage. It might seem strange but getting a fully functional bathroom is right up there.

So now I’m stuck with the question of how to help my anticipated cat to feel at home. One thing I’ve done, as I mentioned above, is a plethora of toys and “safe” places. As it turns out, there are a couple of nice little products that can help cats feel more at home. One is a kitty treat which has, as one of its ingredients, melatonin. Hell, I’m going to eat a few of these myself to see if they can help me sleep tonight. If they work and don’t taste too bad, the cat may not get any of these. The other is a catnip spray. While catnip is a plant, the active ingredient is nepetalactone, which is chemically similar to some herbal sedatives which contain valerian. I don’t believe it is nearly as active in humans, if at all, but cats of course go crazy for it. I suppose that for humans, the closest catnip equivalent would be THC, the active ingredient in my friend’s magic brownies. Unfortunately, I don’t partake in the big T, although I don’t judge either. I have many friends who partake (some of whom are living in states where it is even legal). So, what is MY calming spray?

Intelligence is supposed to be a blessing of sorts. Biologists will say that our intelligence is why we’re at the top of the food chain, but if that were true then why are dolphins in danger of extinction? Maybe that’s not a fair comparison. Yes, my understanding is that dolphins really are more intelligent than humans, but our intelligence is why we’re about to become extinct as well with US bombers flying over Iran. I mean, seriously, how bright is that???

When I pick up the kitty, s/he will not understand what is happening. This strange he-human is going to throw him or her into a cat carrier to a new place that s/he doesn’t know. I know why I’m here. I know the path that led me to this house, and I know why I’m here. I can honestly say that’s what’s keeping me moving forward instead of sleeping all day like I expect the cat to do. Yet, it doesn’t make the transition any easier. In fact, as much as I hate to admit it, my intelligence (questionable in quantity) is probably making things worse as I consider the things that have gone wrong in my past, and recognition of what may yet go wrong.

It’s funny. Just a few days ago I wrote a blog where I confessed my problem of feeling joy in the moment, and now, here I am, saying that I still suffer from the stress of the future. Well, one step at a time, I guess.

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