Sunday, October 10, 2010

Theodore vs Godzilla's tiny cousin

A few weeks ago this little fellow took up residence in our atrium:

I first saw him poised on a vertical glass door all anti-gravity like. (How does he stay up there?) I have seen him (or her, my excuses small lizard for I cannot tell your gender) nearly everyday since. The first time I saw him I was struck by his diminutive rib cage. I gazed at him for a few moments observing his breathing movements. It made me think of how incredible all of God's creation is. That all of this little creature's vital organs can fit into such a tiny structure.

God created the mighty wale in whose rib cages I could dance a jig and he created this tiny reptile whose ribcage is smaller than my smallest finger. And so many creatures in between! It's all so imaginative!

God also created less marvelous creatures. Behold:

The marvel with Theodore is that he can repeatedly be outsmarted by a creature whose brain is smaller than a kernel of his cat food.

Theodore has diligently stalked this lizard for days, weeks even. Round and round the atrium he walks hissing and meowing threats. While his little prey is very bold on the other side of the glass.

Mr. Lizard is all "do your worst!"

Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your point of view, at the end of this month Theodore is going to be a full-time outdoor cat who will be able to wreak havoc on the small, scurrying folks of the neighborhood to his heart's content.

We are giving our cats away. To my mother. They will live outside where they can prowl the outdoors like their forbears and hone all of their innate feline skills that are useless (or worse, destructive) in their urban lives. They'll be able to go inside every once in a while when my sister lets them in while my mother isn't home.

I never ever thought that I would be in this position. I have always had cats. When we got married and moved into an apartment where we couldn't have pets I pined for cats for years.

Then we moved to Salt Lake City into a duplex that did allow pets and we began the process of adopting cats. And what a process it was. We went to the humane society every night for weeks. The 1.5 hours that we had between the end of work and the closing of the shelter left little time for the intense deliberation that I required to make a decision. We would leave empty-handed to ponder over the felines. It was so hard to choose because so many of them were so sweet. I remember telling Peter that one of them was "tugging at my heart." To which he replied "what does that mean?" (Peter did not go into this with nearly the gravitas that I did.)

Despite all that deliberation, when we found Theodore and Penelope the decision was quite easy. They are fabulous cats. But. For some reason when we moved to Houston, maybe it has something to do with competing for attention with the baby, they started peeing on our furniture. I can put up with a lot from them. I can (and do) deal with their shedding, clawing the furniture, vomiting up hairballs, even peeing in the laundry (because at least I can wash the laundry thoroughly) but I cannot deal with cat urine on the furniture.

We like to have people over. It really throws a damper over the comfort factor in your home when you have to say "No! Don't sit there! There's fresh cat pee." This happened recently when we discovered cat urine on the love seat before we had our small group from church over (which was the second time in weeks that they have used the love seat as their litter box). Of course we couldn't subject our guests to the noisome aroma of cat urine for the duration of the evening. So Peter and I sat on the love seat. It was awesome.

So, there you have it. I hate to see them go because when they're not peeing everywhere they are delightful cats. But it turns out that even I have my limits. I think they will be happy at my mother's house. Outside cats are, I think, generally happier than their indoor counterparts because they get to do more cat things (clawing at trees, marking their territories, terrorizing small rodents etc...). But they can have more health issues because they are exposed to more germs and other animals. It's a trade off.

If you were reading this blog in the summer of 2009 you might remember when we got our first cat in SLC, Bluebonnet. We were obliged to return her to her foster mom after she peed everywhere in our duplex unbeknownst to us. And now we are giving these cats away for the same reasons. Given this record, I believe I am done in the cat business.

What will become of me? If I'm not a cat person what am I? I'll definitely have the time to do some soul searching on that topic since I will no longer be waging a constant war against the marauding bands of cat hair.


Robin and Don said...

Oh, I felt at home with the lizard story...lots of those here too. As for the cats, what's up with that! I think I would do the same thing and let them explore the great outdoors. As for pets, what about a dog? My sister's twins learned how to walk using their dog as their personal walkers. Endless entertainment for the whole family.

Peter and Leslie said...

I have thought about a small dog because at least you can train a dog to pee outside. And, I agree, young kids love animals so that would be fun! But for now I think I will take a break from animals. But maybe later on we'll get another pet... good to hear from you!

Vanessa Rogers said...

Leslie, I don't think you should give up on cats. I am not a cat whisperer, but I think probably it has to do with your first cat peeing which caused the chain of events. I think once you get rid of every last thing with cat pee smell, the next cat you have wont have that inclination. There has to be some explanation. You should call Caesar, he might be the dog whisperer, but he might have some skills with the felines too :)

Peter and Leslie said...

If there were a cat whisperer I would enlist him/her (provided that he/she were reasonably priced and local :o). But we already got rid of all of the furniture that bluebonnet peed on. So, it's not that. I think it has more to do with them being jealous of the baby...