Tag Archives: cats

A world of contrasts

It took me years to talk myself into paying someone to come into my home to clean upholstered chairs; it seemed like such a first-world problem. But after donating to a charity to help buy a water pump for a school for girls in Tanzania, I decided I could forgive myself for finally succumbing to the urge.

You see, once upon a time, we bought a dark brown sofa from Crate and Barrel. Then we let the salesperson talk us into getting light-colored side chairs for contrast. She was right, they looked great together, but there’s a reason she had to sell us on them; they don’t age well.

One day, when I couldn’t stand it anymore, I sprayed some fabric cleaner on a spot on one of the chairs. It worked. The spot disappeared and there was a clean patch in its place screaming, “What were you thinking buying light-colored furniture?”

Why not spray the whole chair, you ask? Don’t be ridiculous.

Then the rug in the family room acquired a stain. I have no idea what caused it and no one ever confessed. I suppose I could blame the cats, we have two, but honestly, it doesn’t look like their work. Besides, cats are meticulous groomers, if they’re not sleeping they’re cleaning themselves. Of course, whatever loose fur isn’t ingested, to be thrown up as a hairball at a later date, is going to end up flying around the house. And you know where it’s going to be easy to spot? On those light-colored chairs.

cats on sofa

The constant shedding isn’t their fault, they’re actually relatively well-behaved. They use the scratching posts instead of the furniture for the most part, which is important, because the boy cat is skittish and we can’t cut his nails. Nonetheless, they are cats and when they sit down their you-know-whats are planted flat on the ground. Gross, right? It’s not something you want to dwell on, but once you get it into your head it’s hard to shake. It also makes a good argument for having your rugs cleaned once in a while. And if you’re going to have the rugs cleaned, why not the chairs?

So now the rugs look new again and the chairs have no spots. If you want to spruce up your home, and you live near Arlington, MA, give Marcello at Capone Carpets a call. But first make a donation to your favorite charity. You’ll enjoy your clean space that much more. And if someone suggests that contrasting colors would look nice in your family room, pick up some pillows from Target.

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Cat people will understand

Cats are limited in their ability to express affection for us. Mainly, they rub their bodies against ours, particularly their cheeks where their ‘happy’ pheromones are produced (or exuded; I don’t claim to know much about cat physiology). They knead their paws on us, with claws extended, and sometimes, in their excitement, they nip. In none of those instances do they mean to hurt us, but if you aren’t trimming their nails regularly, and they still have their teeth, both of those signs of affection can be a tad painful. Leaving aside the obvious sophomoric human parallels to the above, that’s pretty much it for a cat’s ability to express affection for a human.

Some of you are lucky enough to have cats who will let you pick them up and snuggle them. I’m terribly jealous of you. Of our two cats, one will tolerate being picked up if it’s necessary to be moved from point A to point B, but the other will run if he even suspects that’s what we have in mind. Since he’s usually wrong about our intent, it’s also difficult to pet him, unless he initiates contact.

That cat, the male, is at his most loving when we’re in the bathroom. He loudly demands attention when we are either sitting on the pot, or have just stepped out of the shower and are dripping wet. Personally, I’d rather pet him while sitting down than immediately post-shower when his fur will get stuck all over me. Despite my aversion to cat fur on my wet skin, however, whenever my cats ask for attention, I am prone to drop everything and respond. (Cat people will understand.) Imagine then, how painful it must be to have to give up your cats, for whatever reason, to the uncertain future of a shelter.

A woman I know was recently forced, by medical circumstances, to take her two cats to a shelter, after she had tried, unsuccessfully, to find a home for them. After a week or so, she contacted the shelter to find out how they were, and if they had been placed with a new family. They told her that one of the cats had had a horrible time adjusting, stopped eating and drinking, and cried constantly. After several days, she’d apparently made herself so sick that they’d had no choice but to put her to sleep. I know the shelter in question, and they’re wonderful people, so I’m sure they did what they felt they had to do. The woman, however, was horrified, and promptly returned to the shelter to retrieve the remaining cat.

My heart breaks thinking about that poor woman. She is never going to forgive herself for what she will always think of as being responsible for killing her cat. Instead she’ll spend her days coughing and trying to catch her breath, while her remaining cat rubs against her asking for attention, which she will be unable to resist providing, thereby exacerbating her inability to breathe. Cat people will understand.