The Great Couch Battle

The Great Couch Battle

Juniper on the Couch - FINALLY

We’ve always known Juniper was a strange Greyhound. While still a lazy, cat-like dog, she avoided the couch and bed. We chalked it up to her refusal to use her back legs. Planting her front legs on things presented no problem, but getting those back two up? Nope. It’s made for comical scenes every time we have to haul her into the car.

Especially when you consider she’s a retired racer.

Greyhounds have to jump in and out of trucks and vans as part of their routine. It’s a natural part of their training. No one wants to lift THAT many heavy dogs all day. (We’re not huge fans of the times we have to) But from day one, she’s just looked backwards over her shoulder at us as if she has a sudden paralysis. And while getting into the car isn’t optional, the couch certainly was. So she was left to her beds scattered in just about every room of the house. (A situation that worked for the cats)

And then came the fly.

For whatever reason, flies are where our weird dog draws the line. She’ll trample bees in the yard, attempt to snap up cicadas, and ignore mosquitoes. Flies, though – every fly is out to steal her soul. If a fly enters the house, she goes into full-blown panic mode and hightails it for her crate. We then have to go through an insane process of getting her to come back out. (After Tonks disposes of the offending insect)

It was comical and tragic at the same time. Especially the night THREE flies made it through the door. Tonks wore herself out trying to catch them (poor thing was sprawled on the floor in exhaustion), and Juniper refused to enter the kitchen to eat dinner. She was THAT petrified. We decided it was time to draw the line.

So we implemented the no-crate policy.

The next time a fly came in, we put the baby gate up. Deprived of her hidey-hole, Juniper miraculously figured out how to jump onto the couch. We were stunned. (We shouldn’t have been – flies were the only thing that got her to JUMP the baby gate in the first place) For whatever reason, the couch made her feel comfortable while our resident exterminator went to work. Since we’d long-since agreed the couch wasn’t off-limits, we left her there.

Didn’t take long for Juniper to realize the couch is a comfortable sleeping spot. She could curl up or sprawl out, with room to spare. There was just one problem: Squeak had made his migration to the couch, and he wasn’t impressed with the jostling motion. He also didn’t appreciate sharing the space with a gassy dog.

Thus began the great couch battle of 2020.

Squeak’s brain may work differently than other cats, but he’s still a cat. It didn’t take him long to figure out that if he shuffled further down the couch, Juniper wouldn’t jump into her “new spot.” We’d hear her whining and find her standing beisde it, staring at him. It got worse when Firefly decided to take up a spot, too. (Never mind that there’s a second couch in the den – she wanted the first one) We had to sigh and direct her back to her beds.

Squeak and Juniper sharing the couch

Morning’s became an epic battle over who could reach the couch first. Who got to the “prime” spot before the other. And who was willing to slide over and share. It’s amusing – almost as funny as watching Juniper slide into my fiance’s spot when he gets up!

Juniper finally discovered the other couch, but she gets grumbly when she has to shuffle out there. She whines when Firefly chooses to sit out there, even if he chooses to sit on the back instead of the couch, itself. The battle promises to continue into the future (and I’ve put my foot down on buying any more couches).

And she still refuses to get into the car without assistance. We point out the car is the same height as the couch, but she continues that pathetic paralysis stare. Logic doesn’t apply to Greyhounds, apparently.

Photographic Demon

Photographic Demon

Our little squishy faced demon

Check either my or my fiance’s phone, and you’ll find hundreds of pictures of the Minions. No surprise there; parents take pictures of their kids. Especially when their kids are irresistibly adorable. Of course, trying to catch some of those moments requires sneaking up on the buggers since not everyone enjoys the paparazzi. (Firefly, in particular, doesn’t enjoy having his photo snapped) But there are exceptions to every rule.

In our house, it’s Tonks.

Not only is she adorable (you know it’s true), but she POSES for the camera. She knows precisely where the lens is on every camera (including the computers), and she plants herself in the best light and location to ensure someone gets the shot. Of course, this also translates to her adding herself to video conferences, Zoom meetings, and Skype conversations. (A camera’s a camera, after all)

Tonks - the most interesting kitten in the world

I’m sure people think we set up some of the pictures we take. They look THAT posed (case in point to the left). But it’s really a matter of glancing up and snatching up a camera. She’s simply photogenic. And where the other three usually only give us a brief nanosecond to capture an image, she’ll pause until we get the photo right before moving or resettling and destroying the perfect picture. (Vanity, thy name is Tonks)

Tonks is the most ridiculous kitten

Over the years, I’ve had a lot of other cats, and my phone and pocket drive are full of pictures. Rarely have any of them have produced such consistently, ridiculously perfect pictures. I mean look at this! (And, yes, she likes this particular pose – as I’m sure you’ve noted…or you will) It’s absurd! You can even see her eyes dart back and forth, asking, “Did you get the shot, Mommy? Did it come out?”

For Christmas last year, I put together a children’s book detailing her story for my nephew. I was spoiled for choice when it came time to add the pictures to the book. There were so many, some I’d even forgotten about. It made writing the story more fun, because I was able to add funny little touches here and there. I mean, when you find a photo of her with her paw on a wallet, how can you NOT slide that in there? It came out a hundred times better than I ever imagined, and my nephew (and niece) thought it was great.

While I don’t use my own images in my freelance work, I absolutely slide mentions of my kiddos in (where appropriate). They make my writing more approachable, allowing me to connect with the readers on a personal level. And I often remember these images when I’m writing. They’re tiny stories in and of themselves.

Cutest demon on the planet

So, yes, you see a lot more of Tonks in the Photo Bomb tags than the other kids. It’s not intentional, and she’s not the favorite of the household, by any means. She just happens to be the most photogenic and demanding in front of the camera. I mean, how do you resist taking a picture of that face? It’s impossible! That little demon just begs to be immortalized on digital film. Which is why we’ll continue to do so.


“I’m Sorry”

Tonks huddling on my lap.

Tonks hissed at Firefly this morning (he had surgery yesterday, and she doesn’t like that he A) smells like the vet and B) has a cone of shame on), and so she got yelled at for being mean to her brother. As punishment, I wouldn’t let her on the desk. She’s since compromised by curling on my lap, very sad and apologetic.

This might be a first for cat kind. It’s definitely a first for this little demon!

Meet Tonks: The 8-lb. Demon

Meet Tonks: The 8-lb. Demon

Tonks - pretty much in her natural state.

As I type this, Tonks has already climbed over my shoulders, parked herself in front of the keyboard and obscured my view of the keyboard and screen, rolled my pen off the desk, and jumped onto the lowest shelf to knock the tiny stuffed tiger off the end – which pretty much sums her up. This is how we spend our day: she plays with everything in the office and gets in the way, and I remind myself that cats are supposed to lower stress levels and blood pressure.

Almost two years ago, Tonks was brought into the vet office I worked at by a police officer who found her alone in a gutter. I walked in the next morning to hear a kitten proclaiming its unhappiness for the entire world. She ended up spending most of the morning in my scrub pocket while I worked (kept her quiet), which was my first mistake. My second mistake was announcing that she needed a new name.

All stray animals were given names upon arrival, and someone decided to name her Khaleesi. Now, I knew where they’d gotten the name – and her lung power might have supported it – but there’s an extremely dangerous cat virus out there called Calici which is pronounced the same way. When your cat receives the FVRCP vaccine, it’s the C, and I knew that was asking for trouble; names are always prophetic (NEVER name a pet Lucky! You are asking for massive vet bills and sadness!). This tiny black and white fuzzball needed to ditch the name of doom quick. Suddenly, a co-worker threw out “Tonks” (in hindsight, I should have known THAT was prophetic, too), and it stuck.

I had lost an older cat that January to renal failure, and I wasn’t sure about letting a new cat into my life yet, but I also knew that A) this little one would be taken to the shelter, and B) the shelters were overflowing with kittens. So I lifted her up, looked her in the eye, and I asked her if Tali had sent her (I’m spiritual, not religious, but I do think our companions have a hand in this kind of thing). She looked straight back and meowed as loud as her lungs would allow. She came home with me that afternoon. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

Tonks was – and is – an absolute nightmare. She was tiny, so I couldn’t leave her unsupervised to begin with, and she had to stay in the bathroom at night. Once she declared she wasn’t having that anymore (her lungs grew with her), all bets were off.

She climbs EVERYTHING. There is not a piece of furniture that child has not been on top of, including the refrigerator, my bookcase, AND the curtain rods (we still have no idea how she managed that one).

She got BEHIND and under the stove, to the point that we had to build a spice rack to cover the top of it and prevent her from doing so (it looks great, but now the replacement stove will have to fit under it).

She decided the back of the washing machine made a great clubhouse for a while, and she corrupted Squeak to join her.

She has ripped most of the faux fur off my dragon puppet and built herself a nest under the bookcase with it (and became highly offended when we discovered it and cleaned it out). She’s also torn off more of his tail. Ironically, my unicorn puppet which sits on the other side is still intact.

She chases and pounces on both of the other cats despite the fact that they are bigger than she is and outweigh her. Seniority means absolutely nothing to her; she’s convinced she runs the house.

She takes over the dog’s bed, leaving Juniper to sleep on the floor next to the bed. Now, to be fair, Juniper isn’t smart enough to realize she weighs 60 pounds more than the little fuzzball and could take the bed back, the hilarity is the kitten lolling around on the poofy dog bed like a princess.

She hates the sound of my alarm and is smart enough to know when it’s going to go off and will wake me up 5 minutes BEFORE. Her purr is not soothing – it sounds like a cement mixer – and she licks your lips with her sandpaper tongue to “kiss” you awake. Also, for only weighing 8 pounds, each foot somehow manages to feel like it weighs 80 pounds when she walks across you.

She is a demon in cat’s clothes, and we end up yelling her name at least 5 times a day – when she’s REALLY in trouble, she does get called “Nymphadora” (and she knows that means she’s in BIG trouble).

Tonks sitting in my work chair

But, when all is said done, she jumps straight onto my chair as soon as I walk into the office and switch on the computer in the morning (and then refuses to move over for me), and she comes over to check on the progress of my work throughout the day. She insures there’s never a dull moment in our lives, and she’s been part of both of our lives from the very beginning. Trouble through and through, but we’ll keep her.