Thursday, August 08, 2013

First world problems, catlife edition: sleeping all day is so stressful

My cat has decided to lick all the fur off his stomach. This is pretty gross because basically cats are only good for their cuteness, and cats with no stomach fur are substantially less cute than their more fully-furred comrades. So I took him to the vet to investigate the cause of this problem, and the verdict was: he is probably stressed, or he has fleas and is also stressed.

According to the opinions of various vets, my cat has been traumatized and anxious since approximately his birth, and the vet in Hyde Park who saw him when has was all of six months was ready to prescribe him Prozac. Since then, suggestions about anti-anxiety meds have been frequent. And it is true that he's been moved around a lot and been placed in a series of temporary foster homes when I was between cat-friendly apartments. However, his domestic situation has been relatively stable for about five years now, barring a couple of moves with which he demonstrated his displeasure by peeing on our stuff for a few weeks after we'd arrived. Isn't that plus a year of placidity enough to de-stress a cat? Apparently not. But what can he possibly be stressed about now?

Gradlife gives one a good view of catlife, and this is what catlife looks like to me:

I am Nigel, short-haired domestic house cat, aged seven, resident of San Diego. It is 6 am and I have awakened from my 12-hour slumber on this plush white chair which I regularly coat with a tapestry of my black fur. I am hungry! I will now scratch and yowl at the humans' bedroom door until one of them comes out to serve me. Urgent! Urgent! Attention humans! Alert! I am hungry! Ah, yes, there's the stuff. Why do you seem so annoyed, human? I was hungry. It could not wait, not even an hour. I am offended that you made me wait. Now I will return to my slumbers for the next 10 hours. The balcony door is open and soft harbor breezes waft over me as I lie under the shade of this large plant.

Or on this couch. Or in this bookshelf, where I have a designated shelf. Or in the closet. I fit everywhere. But nothing is satisfying. Worse, the humans have the gall to leave me alone here, for even four hours at one time.

In the afternoon, a human returns to my abode and pets me and calls me stupid names in a stupid voice and rubs my belly. Mmm, belly rubs. I tolerate these. I am offered catnip and treats for all my hard work during the human's absence, but still I feel underappreciated. Then I return to sleep on whichever couch the human is reading on. Sometimes, I am let out onto the balcony, where I am able to partake of the irresistible leaves of the potted palm until I am forcible torn away from my vegetable love which I am slowly shredding with my affections and forced back indoors. Then the living ping pong ball emerges to taunt me. I do not understand why the humans are not more concerned about eradicating this intruder when they used to confiscate my mice and bats and birds promptly. But the ping pong balls they leave for me to hunt. At 8 pm, I discover again that I am hungry! Hungry! Hungry! Feed me now!!! Fortunately, the humans are more responsive at this hour than at the earlier one, and I don't even have to wait 20 minutes before they oblige. On occasion, I am offered salmon pate wet food. This is acceptable to me.

It is now time for additional sleep, and I once again mount my plush throne, survey my dominions, curl into a croissant, and sigh. I am le stressed. It is such a hard life I lead. Maybe I will lick all my stomach fur off? Yes, I will do that. That will teach them to stress me out.


Anonymous said...

I loved this blog post and the pic of your cat on his shelf made me laugh out loud. Hilarious. I too am a cat lady and I look at my cat with envy sometimes. My cat also licked all her hair off her one side. Though she did this after she had a bad case of fleas. I think a combination of fleas and prob stress from the treatment made her lick her hair off. The vet gave her some kind of steroid that we had to force down her throat or hide in her food once a day for maybe two months. I don't think it was prozac but at the end of the treatment she was fine and her hair grew back. These dramas of cat life seem to intervene in their tranquil ways of being and cause quite a bit of stress for the cat and the human. Good luck with your cat's treatment.

Miss Self-Important said...

Yes, I've done the steroid down throat thing b/c Prince Cat has also managed to develop asthma in the past. Now we are on super flea medication and anti-histamines down throat. If it's fleas, ok. Allergies to fleas, fine. But stress? Please.

alex said...


Can't the vet tell if he has fleas or not? Why the conjecture?

Miss Self-Important said...

He doesn't have fleas at the moment. We treated him for fleas a couple weeks ago, but the vet claims that the flea stuff we use doesn't work very well and they will come back soon, not that they are currently present. So we have to wait a couple weeks and try the vet's flea stuff. We can't do it immediately b/c the current flea stuff is supposed to last a month and we don't want to overdose POOR THE NIGEL with toxic pesticides.

alex said...

why is he contracting fleas so frequently?

Miss Self-Important said...

He's not. Or we're not sure if he is. But there are a lot of fleas in SD, and the vet told us immediately when we moved here to treat him for them regularly even if he's an indoor cat. Maybe SD itself is just a bad environment for cats? First the asthma, then the fleas. Prince The Nigel never had these problems on the East Coast.