Old Cat/New Tricks

We have a geriatric cat. Brandi is 16 in people years, which equates to about 80 in cat years. She’s our oldest, but several others aren’t too far behind. Brandi can be a little strange. She lives on our bathtub. Not in, but on the tub. If she has a dream about mouse catching and rolls over only to fall in the tub, she can’t get out. The tub is deep.

The deck around it is about three feet tall and has a step on one side. Brandi never had a problem getting up there. Several months ago, I noticed it took her multiple tries to get onto the step. She could do it, but for some reason, she hesitated. I toyed around with the idea of that being a good thing, because I’d be able to take a bath in peace since she likes to drink the bath water. That concept totally escapes me, because a bath isn’t any good unless you’re sitting in boiling water. Since she was in danger of falling into the tub with me, I solved that problem by putting a little dish on the deck. Now she gets her hot water and I don’t have to worry about taking a bath with a cat.

I finally decided she needed help. We have several cat-shaped stools around the house. Why several? Because they’re adorable. I took the one from the library and put it beside the tub. Short hop: floor, stool, step, deck. Easy peasy, right? Nope. Not so much.

Cats can be very expressive. There are lots of books on cat behavior and how to interpret what they’re doing. Like a tail straight up in the air, kneading dough on your chest, forgetting where the litter box is and what’s it for, or trying to cover up their food. I didn’t need a book to interpret Brandi’s opinion of the stool. She’d try to jump on the step, I’d pick her up and put her front feet on the stool. Her reaction? Complete and utter distain.

This may surprise you, but Brandi can’t talk. Meow, yes. Talk, no. Not that she has to. Her expression is enough to know what she’s thinking. “Seriously? You expect me to use this stupid stool?” This would happen for a few tries, until I got the “Stop it, mom!” look and let her go back to jumping onto the step. That seemed to make her happier, and I’d get the “See, I can get up here” look.

This game went on for several weeks. Brandi absolutely refused to use the stool. The more I tried, the more irritated she became. I was especially thankful she couldn’t flip me off, because if she could…she would. I’d put her front feet on the stool and lift her posterior up and she’d go from there to the step. But let’s face it. I’m not spending the rest of my life lifting her up on that stool, so I threw in the towel and moved the stool back to the library.

That lasted a few weeks. Then it seemed like she was getting worse, so I drug it back out and the process started all over again. Same distain, same refusal. One day Ed said, “She’s never going to use that stool.” I agreed, and I’m pretty sure I heard Brandi snickering.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I went into the bathroom and Brandi was sitting on the stool, cleaning herself. What? All that cat training was actually working? Yep, and it wasn’t a fluke. Brandi now regularly uses the stool. She hasn’t tried to jump onto the step one time since she discovered how much easier it was doing it my way. And, in case you’re wondering…no. Not once has she said, “Thank you.” I am so under appreciated.

So, what’s the lesson from all this? That you really can teach an old dog, er…cat new tricks? Yes. That moms always know best? Yes. That sometimes other people might actually know more than we do and we should listen to them? Yes.

It’s not necessarily surprising that I would know more than a cat, but as a wife, sometimes I have a hard time convincing the husband I might know more than him. Case in point. When we first got together, Ed wasn’t too good at taking care of himself. I solved one of his problems by throwing out or donating most of his clothes, some of which were the color of baby’s first effort. After we got married, he got tired of hearing me complain about his diet and got his cholesterol checked. In case you’re wondering, if you drink nothing but Dr. Pepper, think a hamburger isn’t complete unless it has three pounds of cow on it, and dislike any green-colored food unless it’s a bean, you probably should get yours checked, too.

Sure enough, I was (as usual) right, and he went on cholesterol-lowering drugs. Which is a good thing since his favorite dessert is a gallon of homemade vanilla ice cream. (Really? Who eats vanilla if you’re not at a Dairy Queen?) At any rate, since he was on the drugs, he had to have a yearly blood check. And that’s how they discovered his prostate cancer. Which is now long cured and he’s very healthy. Thanks to me. (Moral: Husbands, listen to your wives!!!!)

Sometimes, we all tend to blow off other people’s opinions because we think we know better. And sometimes, we do. But, not always. There’s one popular opinion floating around right now that I know I’m right and they’re wrong. So very wrong. Quite a few people have started espousing the opinion that the Bible is outdated, and we need new rules. Normally, their rules. Nope. Ain’t buying it, anymore than I buy the opinion the constitution is outdated.

Just because you don’t want to abide by His rules doesn’t make them wrong. If more people would follow the Bible, we wouldn’t be in half the mess we are right now. I put the people who want to make up their own rules in the same category as I do Brandi, who now uses the stool like she’s done it all her life. Stupid. They just don’t know what’s best for them. In this case, it’s Father, not mother, knows best, so why don’t we all go back to the basics and start living our lives like He wants us to? Let the Bible be our stool to make life so much easier.

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