Monday, February 28, 2011

Kitty-proofing comes before baby-proofing.

I figure we have at least a few months before we need to worry about baby-proofing our rather baby-unfriendly home. Hey, we even have a head start thanks to the many outlet covers the previous owner left in the outlets when we bought this house nearly three years ago.

But in the meantime, we need to kitty-proof. Our cats are a heckuvalot more mobile than Butternut will be when we first bring him home. This seems like an impossible challenge when it comes to certain issues. Our cats? I love them. I really, truly, do love them. But they are kind of jerks.

Love Me (Cutie Version).

That's Cutie. I've had her since I was twelve, so she is very, very old in kitty years. I luff her, but girl is driving me crazy.

Cutie's vices: Her history of bladder issues and her recent kidney failure diagnosis mean that Cutie likes to pee on the carpet. I can't even talk about this vice, it upsets me so much. The kidney failure leaves her nauseated, so she now constantly wants to be fed, but just a teeny tiny bit. She sheds. Her virtues: She's a cutie patootie. She comforts me like no other. She's quiet, or she was until the kidney failure made her her start crying for a wee bit of food a dozen times a day.

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Here's Cole. He's about nine years old, and El Hub brought him into our relationship - or brought me into their relationship, which is how I think Cole views it sometimes. Those two have a love like no other, at least not like any I've seen between a person and a cat. Probably because Cole is way more like a dog than a cat - he lets El Hub hold him upside down, squish him, roughhouse with him, and Cole loves it. I luff Cole too, but he's making life with Cutie much more difficult, so he's driving me crazy too.

Cole's vices: Chews cords. Eats all food in sight, including human food, but more inconveniently, Cutie's special kidney failure food. This is why we have to keep her dish on top of the fridge instead of keeping it on the floor all the time, which is resulting in her habit of constantly yowling at us for food. Cole goes in ALL the litter boxes, which ticks Cutie off, which leads to her peeing on the carpet. He sheds. He yowls if a door has been closed until someone opens it (including bathroom doors, which can be kind of awkward). He yowls at night, wandering the house carrying toys in his mouth. His virtues: Super duper lovey. He goes IN the litter box, unlike Cutie. He brings us the toys he carries while yowling.


So yeah, it's going to be wildly fun adding Butternut to this mix! Can't wait! Except that I totally could! Especially if waiting meant I could have Butternut like right now, but the cats could just go away to some sort of lovely and free kitty spa for a little while so I could trade one kind of crying and mess for another kind of crying and mess! But that's not happening, sigh.

There are too many pet-proofing issues we are trying to tackle (including one I am still debating as overkill, an automatic door closer for the nursery to keep out the cat fur and related messes), but there's one in particular I want to share. Due to Cole's hatred of being separated from El Hub and closed doors and his very loud yowling to let us know his feelings, we have concluded we will have to continue letting him sleep in our bedroom once we bring Butternut home. However, we had also hoped to have the kiddo sleep in a bassinet in our bedroom for the first couple of months as well, and we have no idea how the cats will feel about this intruder.

Enter Mission: Keep Cats Out of the Bassinet.

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This totally adorable Mickey Mouse playard (the Graco Element Pack 'N Play Playard) goes great in our bedroom. Or at least, it fits, which frankly is the most important thing for a piece of furniture that will be temporary. It has a bassinet and a changing pad and all sorts of fanciness that better come in handy at 3 a.m. when our three week old baby is squawking at us.

So, cute playard, or...

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...diabolical kitty trap?

Yes, those are sheets of cardboard with double-sided packing tape on them. When the cats decide to jump into the playard - which, undoubtedly, they will, because cats are magnetically attracted to things that are new and cat fur-free - they will get an unpleasantly sticky surprise. Hopefully the immediate punishment of landing on sticky cardboard will discourage them from jumping in there once Butternut is chilling on his super soft sheets.

So far, it seems to have worked with Cole. I was not there to witness it, but last night I heard a shout from El Hub before the sound of Cole running. I asked if he thought he needed to yell or if the cat was unhappy enough over the tape itself, and he thinks that Cole was plenty displeased to find himself stuck. Luckily, he was able to free himself and has not tried to jump in the playard since. Now I am just waiting for Cutie to learn the same lesson, and then I will call this mission complete.

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