My husband lives in a constant paranoid state of fear that he will get home one day to find that our property has magically transformed into a one giant petting zoo. You see I love animals, the furrier and smaller the better. And as some of you know (the 7 of you who read my blog regularly and those of you who are friends with me of Facebook), hubby and I currently have 5 cats and our most recent addition to our gay family is a tortoise called Irina. Sure some people say pets are substitutes for the queers’ lack of being able to have children and maybe that’s true. But, animals bring so much joy to your life, they are cheaper than children, don’t go through puberty and tells you that they hate you and don’t come home at 4am in the morning drunk and possibly knocked up or disappoints you by not living up to your expectations. Pets enrich your life in so many ways and this is why I love them.
In my 30 something years on this rock I have had 4 dogs, 2 hamster, 5 chickens, a duck, a parrot, 3 love birds, 10 white doves, 2 turtles, 3 bunnies, 16 gold fish and 10 cats. And I love(d) them all. Last week our family got a little bigger with a tortoise that we decided to name Irina. Irina means peace in Russian and I believe that the name suits her perfectly due to her temperament.
Now, tortoises are not the most affectionate pets. They are shy, a little aloof and it takes quite a while to win their trust. Hubby and I understand this but our 5 pussies do not. The first day I brought Irina home all our cats were completely bemused. They visibly could not wrap their head around this thing that I brought home in a box filled with hay.
The cats hovered around Irina for days as if she was a spaceship that just landed waiting for the alien to show itself. They were not quite sure whether Irina was friendly and mostly they could not understand why something that looks like a rock had a head, feet and a tail and could walk. It took them a full week to get use to the idea that there was a mobile rock in the garden and that she wanted nothing to do with them. As for Irina she also was just as intrigued by her new surroundings and one thing I have learned is that tortoises are very smart animals and curious as all hell.
Most tortoises tend to hibernate during winter and Irina’s species is one of them. So when I brought her home I expected her to do just that but clearly she had other plans. You see, Irina took it upon herself to explore our whole garden. Not a single inch of it have not been inspected by her. Anyone who says tortoises are slow clearly has never seen one move and Irina is a sprinter of note. Another talent she has is that of camouflage and hiding. Every afternoon I have to go into the foliage of our garden, Indiana Jones style, to look for her to make sure she’s still there and that she is ok. On two occasions I failed to find her and being the fatalist that I am I was convinced a bird of prey snatched her from our garden and that she ended up being either breakfast, lunch or dinner in a tree somewhere. Luckily I was wrong.
Boris (meaning warrior in Russian) is the youngest of our five pussies and noticeably the only male in the house apart from hubby and I that is. He has been with us for six months and he is a handful. From the first day we brought him home he took over the house, as little as he was, and claimed the house as his kingdom. He has attitude, a will of his own and a strong and possibly unhealthy relationship with food. That cat will eat anything! He is also completely orally fixated and have a tendency to bite and nimble on everything ranging from hands and toes to television remotes to electrical cords.
He also lacks the grace of his feline sisters and has the ability to walk and then just drop on the floor most times in not so flattering or gracious positions or postures. Many a morning you can literally see how he is walking around the house looking for something naughty to do. Most mornings he is destructively successful. Another thing about Boris is his inability to do anything quietly and you can hear him approaching from a mile away through things crashing to the floor, his stomping and meowing. Recently he discovered that there is a cat game app on iPad that’s fun and that it doesn’t take too much physical effort, seeing as he is the laziest cat I have ever had.
Yes, you read correctly. There are apps for cats on iPad. I also didn’t believe it when I first heard about it, but they do exist and cats love playing with them. The one game our 5 pussies enjoy the most is a mouse that runs around on the screen which they can catch by stepping on it. When stepped on, the mouse makes a squeaking sound and every “catch” is recorded in the individual cat’s score. Currently Boris is 35 points ahead of Katija (meaning Pure in Russian aka Killer Pussy and FYI, she has a Facebook Fan Page), who clearly prefers catching live prey but finds the artificial mouse good mental practice. She approaches the game like an Olympian who’s trying the get psyched up for a race. She’s totally focused, determined and scarily accurate, whereas Boris will rather lie next to the iPad and randomly catch the mouse every time it passes by him which makes his score all the more amazing.
When Boris first arrived home the other four pussies wanted nothing to do with him. It took some time and a lot of cat psychology to successfully assimilate him into the family. You’d be amazed by how just changing the way you feed them (creating a fluid hierarchy) and the way in which you greet them changes their attitudes towards each other. It took 3 months to get the other pussies to accept him and now he and Killer Pussy are best mates and occasionally, when Boris feels up to it, killing partners. I have also noticed how Killer Pussy encourages Boris to be naughty to her great amusement especially when he gets into trouble. Not that much unlike how human siblings behave.
Yes, I love animals and I especially love my pussies. I cannot lie. There is not a day that goes by without them blessing us with a cuddle or a giggle or two. Sure our pussies can be destructive and have been the cause of a great many pot plant fatalities and many mornings waking up with a house full of feathers and a few bird corpses. But I would not want it any other way. Irina is still new to the family but if my experience and memory of my previous tortoise serves me right, she will be just as amusing and a joy in our garden. I am slowly but surely building up my petting zoo and as such hubby’s fear is completely justified (but don’t tell him). Now, apart from our 5 pussies and 1 tortoise we only need a giant bunny, a donkey and a pony.
Till next time.