Friday, May 13, 2011

The Pets Are Running the Asylum

Over the past three or four days, I have spent a month in hell.  This has largely been caused by two hyper-intelligent pets, Marshall the cocker and Ren the cat.

It all started when my wife made an ill-timed decision to visit her mother for Mother's Day.  This made me a bachelor for the weekend, also courtesy of Eva Langoria not phoning or telling Adriana Lima I was temporarily available.

Don't get your panties in a knot... ever hear of a vice president?  He takes over should the president be unable to fulfill his duties.  I am investigating the possibilities of a vice wife, who would take over should the wife be unable to fulfill her wifely duties.  Although my wife understands all of this in principle, she has not signed on for the full program as yet.

I have not, however, investigated the legal ramifications of the aforementioned arrangement, so please avoid construing the above as advice.

So there we were, just the guys, all alone for the weekend.  The pets apparently took this as an opportunity to do a bit of sanity-testing on dear old dad.  Don't get me wrong - they're both incredibly sweet animals but there's an evil streak a mile wide hiding just beneath the surface.  So began my testing....

Marshall started, as usual.  He's definitely the less subtle of the two.  For the first time since we adopted him, Marshall decided he needed to go outside after we went to bed.  First at two in the morning, then again at five.  Totally unprecedented.  The third time he gave up the ruse and just went trash-picking.

Marshall prefers paper towels and tissues, for some reason nobody knows.  In fact, he prefers used ones, we shall assume for the sake of taste (yuck).  So when there's no cat food to steal, Marshall goes right for the trash can.  Being a modern household, we recycle, so there's a tall can full of cat food cans from which to pick.  He's fond of selecting one then taking it for a walk under the dining room table, after which he will microscopically hoover each and every speck of cat food that remains (which isn't much, as we rinse them out).  He will proceed to make so much noise that he always gets caught.

In case of lack of cat food cans, it's right for the main trash.  My wife outsmarted him (or so she thought) by placing a cookie sheet on top of the can.  This worked fairly well, except for when she forgot the cookie sheet.  It is said, on those jail shows, that prisoners are dangerous because they have all day every day to sit around and plot against you.  This is also the case with Marshall.  The moment we forget the cookie sheet, BOOM - he's in the trash.

Since Mommy was away, things needed to be done differently.   I tried my level best to outsmart the dog (and cat).  Much to my chagrin, I walked into the kitchen just in time to see that Marshall had figured out how to move the cookie sheet over enough to allow him access to the tasty trash.  At Marshall's last vet visit, they asked if he had a weird diet because they found paper towels in him (don't ask how).

The wife describes watching the cat leap onto the table and push treats off for the dog.  Ain't sibling love grand?

Of course we had the generic Pet Food Ballet, which is the foundation upon which both of the lovely little bastards build their entire horror show.  I fed Ren in the kitchen and boy was he excited.  I closed the doors and went to feed Marshall.  As soon as he heard the dog food hitting the bowl, Ren opened the kitchen doors and went sprinting for his brother's kibble.  Ever the co-conspirator, Marshall ran for the kitchen and the Cat Food of Life.  There is absolutely nothing Marshall likes more than cat food.

I did the first thing I always do: yell at both of the little buggers.  This had a predictable effect, in that it had absolutely no effect at all.  When I put the cat food bowl away and walked out of the kitchen, Marshall went right for the trash, once again pushing aside the cookie sheet.  If I installed a combination lock on the trash can, Ren would figure out the combination and show Marshall, who would never fail to use it.

So there we were, with just one bowl of dog food and one cat trying to eat it.  You can yell at the cat but that has roughly the same effect as yelling at your car.  You can throw things at the cat but that does precious little also.  No, the cat knows you're not serious unless you actually get up and leap at him, so he will not detach from the dog food bowl until he sees you in motion.  When he eventually does move, he's back in under a minute, as if you meant don't eat the dog food at that precise minute.  So I put the bowl on the coffee table, where neither of them could get it.  Well, neither of them except for the cat, who kept leaping at it without regard for the fact that I was five feet away.

After I got done yelling at Ren, I turned around to find Marshall in the trash.  Again.  MARSHALL - GET OUT OF THERE.  Just for fun I tried it in a more growly register, which seemed to have the desired effect.

And this was Saturday.

We hit the mattress at our usual hour, whatever that was.  Marshall was specifically instructed not to do a repeat performance of his dual wakeup alert technology so naturally he got me up at one thirty and six.  I was not amused.  And Marshall usually doesn't play semantics.

On Sunday we largely performed Saturday's activities over again, including dog food, cat food, used paper towels and plenty of frenzied yelling and threats to find new homes for the lot of them.

Marshall got to do his other favorite thing, which is ride in the car.   Another resident of the hood had the bad timing to walk his Husky by the car as we were getting in.  Marshall went batshit and started bouncing off the windows.  This gorgeous little hissy fit lasted five to ten minutes, long after we were out of site of the Husky.  My dog whines like a little girl.   Even after suggesting he get his vagina examined he continued to whine.

When Mommy came home it was time to pretend everything was normal.  Mommy plays right into this farce with aplomb during her many trips to the front steps to smoke.  Going out the front door is apparently some sort of Secret Canine and Feline Signal to begin misbehaving.  I just had to physically retrieve Marshall from the trash.

Yes, I understand that this is partially the fault of the owners.  I blame my wife: if she hadn't gone away, the pets would have performed their minimum daily requirement of chaos.  Instead they somehow felt they had to ramp things up and grow red horns.

Tonight's dinner included fish.  We all know what fish smells like, right?  Cat food.  In fact, Marshall's Indian name is Smells Like Cat Food.  As the wife went out to smoke, closing the door, the pets went into action.  The dog took a leap for the kitchen as the cat took a leap toward the fish.  It was perfectly choreographed.

As I type this, my wife is out front again.  The dog, for some reason, is not happy with this arrangement and started squeaking at the door.  The cat is still eating the dog food and the dog is walking toward the trash can, as if I didn't just physically pull him from it.

It could be worse: things could be sane.


  1. Sounds very similar to my household!
    Here's a thought - have you considered applying to appear on Gloria Stillwell's "It's Me or The Dog" program? How cool would that be?

  2. Where's all those wankers that used to comment at "L. N."??? Has our school system failed us so badly that no one can even read anymore?