Tag Archives: pets

Cat Yoga Poses

 

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Cat Yoga Poses is available in my store! You can get is as an art print or on things like mugs, cards and tote bags.

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How to Get a Cat: An Illustrated Guide

For the last couple of years, I have sat at home all day alone.

alone

Chronic illness can do that to you. It hasn’t been too bad, really. I don’t live alone, so I have company for non-working hours, and some wonderful friends and family members visit and take me out on my good days. A lot of people with my illness have it much worse.

But still.

Being alone wears you down.

(Even a super introvert with social anxiety disorder and occasional agoraphobic leanings, like me.)

So, easy solution, I got a cat.

We were renting and weren’t allowed pets, so it only required us to spend all our current and future money to find a house, sign over our souls and move, just before Christmas, the worst time of the year to do anything other than eat gingerbread. It was no trouble at all.

I like cats. I had a cat when I was growing up whom I loved to bits.

Although, actually, it was me who ended up in bits. That cat was a psychopath. When I was eight she invented a game where she would lurk outside the bathroom when she heard the shower. She would pick a natural bottleneck—a doorway, the hall—and wait for me to emerge, vulnerable, wrapped only in my towel.

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Sometimes that’s all she would do. Just watch me as I edged past her, staring with pouncing eyes, knowing I was nervous. Other times…

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Remembering this, I thought a great deal about the type of cat that would be best for us. And it turned out my partner and I had met a lot of other types of cat over the years that we didn’t think would suit.

the-floor-is-made-of-lava-cat

We didn’t want the kind of cat that hates people so much it lives on top of bookshelves whenever anyone is around.

no-touchies

We didn’t want the type of cat that pretends to like you, but acts as though it will catch fire if you actually touch it.

murdercat

We didn’t want the type of cat that murders animals larger than itself in the dead of night, then eats their entrails. I know people who live with this type of cat, and since the Possum Incident, they haven’t been the same.

seen-some-things

Armed with a clear picture of what we didn’t want (literally, see cat types 1-3 above), we walked out of the shelter with the complete opposite. The most clingy, affectionate cat to ever exist.

He needs to be close to people, either sitting tucked under your chin or participating in whatever you are doing, at all times. For the few days after we took him home, he only stopped cuddling and kneading on my throat for eating or pooping (his eating or pooping, not mine).

He’s getting better at separation, but he can’t handle being left out of things. He follows me from room to room. He watches as I brush my teeth. He pounces on books and my computer so he can play with them too. When we do the dishes, he claims the rinse water as his personal paddling pool. Tiny, prickling claws are involved in every activity, and if you try to stop him, he climbs you with them.

It’s kind of like living with an affectionate cactus. Or wearing a scarf made of hedgehogs.

It’s very different to my previous experiences with cats. Showering with my old cat in the house was like starring in a B-grade slasher movie. My new cat turns showering into one of those romances that are supposed to be swoonworthy but are just super, super creepy. He won’t let me shut him out of the bathroom. He sits in front of the shower glass, sometimes with his face pressed up close, sometimes playing with the water droplets he sees running down my side of the glass that he can never catch. Sometimes, if he can paw the door open a crack, he jumps in.

(I let him in the first time because I thought it would teach him a Valuable Lesson about consequences and personal space. It didn’t. Now he thinks darting in and out under the sprinkling water is part of the game.)

As a human, that kind of thing gets you restraining orders. As a cat, it gets him whatever he wants.

He’s a whole new type of irritating cat.

codependent-cat

But I love him.

And I’m not alone.

not-alone

 

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You can find four of the illustrations from this story in my store! The Floor is Made of Lava Cat, the No Touchies Cat, the Murder Cat, and the Extra Strength Co-dependent Cat.

If you love my stories and comics, check out my Patreon page. You can support my work and get unique rewards!

And don’t forget you can follow me for updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. (I recommend Instagram if you would like to see pictures of my cat playing the sink).

The Petuitary Gland

It started with the cat in the blanket-fort story. I just slotted cats in the pro column of not-getting-out-of-bed on a whim. And then, somehow, it was in other illustrations in that story.

cats

And then I was thinking about cats and had more ideas about cats.

more-cats

And then all my ideas were about cats.

all-the-cats

I don’t have a cat.

I don’t have any pets right now.

What I do have is a petuitary gland.

The petuitary gland is an organ located below the better-known dessert stomach.

petuitary-gland

Its job is to release hormones when a person sees cute domesticated (or not domesticated—otters, AMIRIGHT?) animals and to manipulate them into a frenzy of pet-neediness. The petuitary gland overwhelms our common sense and makes us forget the cost of vet bills and the hassle of training a creature of another species to please not poo everywhere.

poop-everywhere

The petuitary gland is an evolutionary feature that ensures the continuing relationship between humans and domesticated animals, a relationship which is in everyone’s best interest.

Except, you know, all the small, vulnerable native creatures in your area that taste better than the fanciest tin of Fancy Feast.

manipulation

But who cares about small, vulnerable native creatures?

It’s not like they, say, ride robot vacuums for our entertainment. There aren’t any adorable Halloween costumes for blue-tongue lizards. I’ve never seen a bandicoot humorously stuck in venetian blinds.

My petuitary gland is running rampant.

I’ve always liked animals. My family had a neurotic Jack Russell and an incontinent demon-cat when I was little, and I loved them both. I always thought I would have pets of my own, one day. Maybe in five or ten years, I told myself. Once I’d done some travelling and practiced keeping things alive on cactuses.

But my petuitary gland’s powers are growing. It has not spent my pet-free years idle. It has been laying plans and building its strength. Now it will not be ignored.

Infecting my creative output with cats was only the beginning. The urge to obtain a pet is becoming overwhelming.

cat-prescription

It’s not even limited to reasonable pets. There is a dangerous sign that we drive past every time we visit my partner’s hometown. It works in unholy concert with our petuitary glands to lure us down the path of bad decisions.

its-a-sign

It’s very important that we don’t give in.

alpacas

We don’t have a rental contract that allows pets. We decided years ago that we would not get pets while renting because most places don’t allow pets and having them would make renting more difficult.

It was a sensible decision.

sensible

Very, very sensible.

sensible2

SENSIBLE.sensible3

So I’ll be moving soon.

Look forward to moving related comics and stories.

And probably a cat.

(Which will be an indoor cat and not allowed to eat small, vulnerable native creatures. Because responsible pet ownership.)

The Girl Who Built the Tree-House

It’s easy to let silence take over part of your life and to forget the good things about yourself. It’s easy to twist your mind and see yourself from a bad angle, to believe that acts of anger or rebellion are always bad things, to submit and tell yourself it’s only this one time. And if that’s easy, then it’s easy for it to spread, like metastasising cancer, from one part of your life to others, until it’s everything.

It’s hard to be sure exactly where it started. It’s hard to recover.

This, just like all my stories, is about who I am. It is for me, although it is available to anyone. It is a rebellion. It is a reminder, because I forgot.

When I was twelve I built myself a tree-house.

I had pestered my parents for one for years before finally accepting that an adult was not going to build it for me. Fair play to the adults; my dad had already built me and my two younger siblings a cubby-house fort.

It was a very good fort. We could climb up its walls, through its windows, onto its roof. We weren’t supposed to do any of these things, of course. The only parentally sanctioned fort-climbing was up the entrance ladder. The roof was firmly and repeatedly deemed out of bounds and we were reminded often that the railing around the balcony was for fall-prevention, rather than a climbing aid. We climbed it anyway. We used it to fight pretend wars, and it was very difficult to invade the fort by climbing politely up the ladder.

treehouse1

Other than that it was obvious we would find a way for it to kill us, there were two problems with the fort. One problem was that there was only one fort. What was the use of one fort? You need two forts, at least, for a proper war. If you had three you could even forge alliances and have betrayals.

The other problem was that I had watched it being built, and I had enjoyed this more than playing on it. I wanted to build more things. Lots of things. Dangerous things. Our yard had stacks of bricks, piles of corrugated iron, heaps of unused wooden planks, mounds of excess pavers. And we knew Dad kept his tools in the shed.

So my brother built his own crossbow which shot chopsticks-turned-arrows with goose-feather flights. It was very effective. We never had chopsticks in the kitchen drawers after that, but they were all over the garden. We built a small table to go in our fort as well as a heavy door to defend it. Our family home got an extension, and a few weeks later so did our fort. We sunk new foundations and built ourselves a dungeon.

We built so much that after a few years of this we started to run out of supplies, particularly nails. The First Great Nail Shortage ended the Christmas after Dad discovered all his nails were disappearing from his shed at rate suspiciously similar to our garden construction boom. We realised that, judging from his irritation and how much he complained, he must really like having nails. We understood. We liked having nails too. We’d found lots of things we could make with them, and when we’d run out of them we’d learned that screws made terrible replacements; they’re so difficult to hammer in.

So the Christmas present we got him that year was perhaps not entirely altruistic, but then, we really did think he would like it too.

treehouse2

I was confused. He only seemed to pretend enthusiasm for the nails, when he had told us time and time again how badly he wanted them. Also, Mum seemed very amused, even though she was the one who approved the present idea and drove us to the hardware store—although when I came to think about it I remembered she had laughed then too.

The new box of nails did not last long, and we were soon plunged into the Second Great Nail Shortage. The Second Great Nail Shortage lasted years and years. In fact, as far as I know, it’s still going.

Nevertheless, other minor forts began springing up all over the garden so that we might have proper wars. One made clever use of existing materials and junk, another was made of corrugated iron and held together with twisty ties.

But I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted a tree-house fort. As a child I loved climbing trees and was good at it. I hardly ever hurt myself, especially if you don’t count the three times I broke my arm before the age of seven. But those incidents involved a car, an arm chair and a fitness trampoline respectively, never trees.

treehouse3

So I think I had every right to consider myself an excellent tree-climber in need of a tree-house.

In the end I decided to build the tree-house myself. And I had to do it without nails. Or screws. Or rope. Or heavy-duty tuna fishing line. Or any of the other things Dad used to have that we had completely used up.

But I still built it.

I used the wooden planks, which were round logs cut down the middle. I wedged two of them in the branches of a tree, roughly parallel, and then laid out more planks across them to create a platform. I dreamed of nails and rope, of bolts and drills, but I didn’t have those things so none of the planks were secured with anything. I had planned well though. The planks were quite heavy and there was a good deal of overhang on each side of the support beams which made it difficult for the planks to work themselves free. As long as I didn’t step on the overhang it was a relatively safe tree-house. And it was all mine and only mine, as I had built it by myself. Without even nails.

The ‘without even nails’ factor quickly became a big deal for my parents. It was dangerous. It would fall to pieces. They didn’t want me to play in it.

I ignored them. I was twelve and was used to parents and other responsible adults disallowing anything remotely fun, like spinning on office chairs, sliding in socks on wooden floors, climbing on the roof or setting the trampoline on its side and trying to climb up it as it falls over.

And my tree-house didn’t fall down. So I built a smaller, higher platform as a second story and installed a dog ramp.

I cannot claim the genius of the dog ramp as my own. Dad had come up with the idea for our first fort. He made a ramp out of a suitable plank of wood and he trained out little dog to run up it. Our dog learned quickly and soon understood how to do it without any pointing or instruction. If he wanted to play with us in the fort, he only had to run up the ramp.

I fixed up a similar ramp to my tree-house and trained our dog to climb it.

The result was, I believe, a masterpiece.

treehouse4

I was fiercely proud of my tree-house, my space, and then I grew up and forgot to be. It’s easy to think that tree-houses aren’t real achievements. They don’t help you with school, for example. Only, really, it did. It may not have directly helped with my grades, but having my own space helped me get through at all. And even when I got older and stopped visiting it so often, being the girl who built it did help. Always.

Always, at least, until I forgot.

My tree-house was removed, plank by plank, and then the tree was cut down. And I forgot that I was the girl who built it, without nails or permission, who painted a flag for it, who loved it and defended it and who shared it with her dog.