For many years, we balanced out the animal kingdom in the house with three: two cats and one dog, then two dogs and one cat. But since we got Sidney Iowa Goldberg, the fur-covered four-leggeds now outnumber the three permanent two-leggeds of the house, and everything has changed.
For one thing, the vet bill has skyrocketed. Nothing like a very old dog on pain meds and a spanking new kitten who still had his pompoms intact. Picking up Sidney at the vet today, after he was fixed, I tried to ignore the new bill on my credit card. I told the vet how we got Sidney as an Iowa lesbian wedding kitten. “Yeah, we’ve been seeing a lot of those lately,” my vet said. Guess the DOMA overturn doesn’t just boost the wedding industry.
Then there’s the associated extra cost of food, which tends to be squared by the number of animals, plus the outrageous cost of flea-kill-and-torture-before-they-get-us treatment.
But the biggest difference how the cohesion of the herd multiplies when a new member is added. If I’m sitting in my bedroom chair working, there will likely be four animals sprawled on floor, bed and dresser. If I get up to go to the kitchen, all four will rouse themselves with surprising speed, and get as underfoot as possible down the ever-increasing hallway.
The opening and closing of doors becomes much more of a precise art. If the dogs are in the bedroom, ready for sleep, then the door must be closed, but the door to the laundry room, which has a window leading to the bedroom, must be open for the cats to pass through. If the laundry room door is open in the daytime, the dogs will ravage leftover cat food, and I hate to say it, other things related to cats too.
At night, all animals must be just the right place at just the right proximity (close to us, some touching each other, some avoiding each other, kind of like a plate of food held by someone who likes the turkey touching the potatoes but never the cranberry touching the corn). If the arranging of reclining mammals isn’t perfect, hissing, pacing, barking and very loud re-arranging of said mammals will interrupt my sleep cycle even more than those ever-frequent trips to the bathroom.
On the plus side, as the alpha primate, my social needs are filled as never before.