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A Living Cat-astrophe... - By Rebecca Wicks

Today, dear people I am using my column for a rather personal purpose. You see, my life has changed in dramatic and drastic measures recently. Everything I know is wrong. Black is white, up is down, short is long. I cannot concentrate. I can no longer sit on my sofa, peacefully sipping a cup of tea and marveling at Oprah’s wardrobe choices without something crashing down around me. I cannot sit on the edge of my bed and paint my toenails without my nostrils flaring at an unimaginable smell that goes beyond the abrasive stench of nail varnish remover. I can't go into the kitchen knowing that everything will still be just the way I left it. But worst of all, I wake up in the morning to the sounds of screaming and it's all I can do not to open my door and shriek 'For the love of all things Holy, would you just STOP IT!'

These voices aren’t in my head; they are coming from my kitten. She has two. One appears to come from her little mouth, but the other ' a low, harrowing whine that pierces the depths of my soul, grips my internal organs and squeezes them to within an inch of their life ' comes from her throat. And she makes these noises at exactly the same time.

She can't sit still. She has to be moving constantly. Her nose must be burrowed in an incense burner, her claws must be scratching at my satin duvet, her mouth must be gripped like an iron clamp around the wire lead to my laptop, or the blooming bamboo shoots that 'P' and I have lovingly nurtured in the hallway, since adopting them from IKEA.

I cannot leave my bathroom door open. The last time I was foolish enough to do so in her presence, she seized the opportunity to throw herself full force upon my Andrex 4 pack, tearing shards of toilet paper from the rolls as though her life depended on it. It took me 5 minutes to recognize my tragic faux-pas. I was drying my hair quite casually in front of the mirror, as she bundled into my bedroom, proudly dragging a trail of white tissue behind her. Upon further inspection I realized that in a matter of minutes, my own furry tornado had turned my bathroom and most of the hallway into a snow-scene.

When she arrived, she wouldn’t come near us. She cowered behind the fridge in fear of the gushing, giant creatures trying to entice her out with a piece of string. We wanted her to do friendly “kitten” things, like sit on our laps, eat from our hands, and curl around our legs when we got up in the morning as a way of saying hello. We took her in because a friend found her pregnant mother abandoned on the street, and then assisted the birth. She cared for the kittens, got them vaccinated and tried to find them homes. We took her in on a temporary basis, thinking we would take her off another pair of hands and help her find a proper place to live. Of course, cute furry things tend to grow on your in the end.

It wasn’t long before she was doing all the cute 'kitten' things. She plays with bits of string. She sits on our laps. She curls around our legs when we got up in the morning as a way of saying hello. We couldn’t ask for more from a loving pet who’s come to trust us. Perhaps the broken objects and occasional smells are par for the course, but the issue at hand, the one that's making us crazy, is that she’s Just. So. Loud.

So I ask you. I beg of you. Is there anybody out there who knows how to silence a kitten (aside from the obvious ' which we feel would be a tad extreme?) Does it happen over time, or is there some sort of ingredient we can put in her food? Perhaps it's her breed ' she’s a Desert Mau? She has a lot of space. She has a lot of toys, food, and love. But the intolerable moaning continues.

I’m afraid to say we may have to find her another home after all, if we can’t uncover a solution. A kitten might well look angelic, but when the neighbours knock on the door, thinking a double murder’s taking place inside your flat, it starts to become an issue that needs addressing.

Posted: 06 November 2008

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