The relentless heat was taking its toll at the Kelley residence.
Siouxsie was constantly grumbling at Thomas and Kissy. She was playing fast and loose with the swats, too, and it wasn’t making her feline roommates very happy.
Thomas was growling at Kissy pretty much every time she got near him, and when it cooled down to a "comfortable" 80 degrees in my apartment, he chased after her with blood in his eyes, screaming the whole way until they came together in a rolling ball of flying fur and feline cursing.
As for Kissy, when Thomas wasn’t growling at her, she was picking fights with him, trying to steal his food and then acting surprised and hurt when a fight ensued. Naturally, the only way she felt she could relieve (ahem) her stress was to let loose with a puddle of pee right next to the litter box.
I wasn’t doing much better. I was pretty much at the end of my patience with all three of them. When they weren’t griping and arguing with each other, they were making sure I was just as miserable as they were. I couldn’t sit down without getting a full-frontal close-up of Siouxsie’s butt and a snootful of shed fur. Kissy was turning up her nose at the food she’d eaten with gusto just days before. Thomas’s aggression had me snapping at him more than once.
But then something happened that changed everything.
It came in a 50-pound box that I had to drag up two very long flights of stairs, on a 90-plus-degree day, to my third-floor apartment. After I unlocked my front door and pushed it inside, I stood, gasping in the ozone-polluted air and drenched with sweat, and contemplated how grateful I was that I hadn’t wrecked my back.
"You’d darn well better like this thing," I grumbled.
The cats investigated the box and, not smelling anything edible, got back to crying for their supper.
When they deigned to eat what I gave them, I suspected things were starting to turn around.
While they ate, I started building the biggest cat tree I’d ever owned. Twenty minutes later, I’d finished putting the thing together. The cats, who’d long since finished eating, were staring at the process in rapt attention. And once the thing was installed in its home by the window, they approached it with awestruck reverence.
All three cats sat at its base, looking up with saucer-sized eyes.
"My God," they all seemed to say in unison, "it’s ÔÇª it’s huge!"
They ascended the tree in order of rank: Siouxsie, the top cat, went first, then Thomas, and then Kissy. They looked at me with an expression that could almost be described as gratitude.
Since that day, there has been at least one cat on that tower, no matter the hour of day or night. Siouxsie and Thomas take turns occupying the various pieces of prime real estate, but after her first trip to the top of the new cat tree, Kissy won’t venture above the second level. And peace has (mostly) reigned at the Palace of the Pampered Pussycats.
Lesson learned: If you want your cats to stop being petulant and whiny ÔÇª just buy them something awesome!
And that is how I learned to stop worrying and love spoiling my cats.
What’s the most awesome thing you’ve ever bought for your cats? Did they appreciate it? Tell your stories in the comments. If you have photos, feel free to share those, too.
Photos by JaneA Kelley