Creature Discomforts


I can’t believe I’ve not yet tripped over my cat contraption and broken my neck. Or at least dropped and broken my iPad (again). I should have built a proper gate – something with hinges that allows for easy one-handed operation – to keep my cats separated. But I didn’t think the feline war would continue for more than a couple days. I was wrong. Two months later, and…


JJ and Viola in 2010 – best friends…and JJ makes a decent pillow.

My little tortie, Viola, was at death’s threshold just before my trip to Lie-Nielsen in mid-July. I took her to the hospital, then to her regular vet where she spent a few days getting fluids and recovering while I was traveling. But Viola was ready to come home before I was, so my neighbor kindly retrieved her, and at my direction set her free in the house. The house where she’s lived in harmony with JJ since February 2009, after I brought her in off the street during a particularly rough snowstorm. Despite her small size (6 pounds), she quickly became the dominant kitty.

No more. JJ is now the guy in charge; he has Viola scared…and peeing in inappropriate places in her panic to escape the 17-pounds of feline fury he’s unleashed. (Possum is just bewildered by the both of them, and basically ignoring things.)

All I can figure is that she smelled funny when she got home, and JJ pounced. By the time I got back four days later, the damage was done.

So I set up a feeding station and  litter box on the second floor, and cobbled together  a gate of sorts with duct tape, pet screening, a piece of 1×4, a dowel rod, staples and a bungie cord. (I’d be happy to share the SketchUp drawing….) I should have built a proper gate.

The duct tape doesn’t stick well to the wall (so I have to replace it often), it is leaving a lot of residue and it has pulled the paint off the wall in places. I should have attached the 1×4 to the wall with hinges; repairing the plaster (assuming the cat differences get settled) would have been far easier than the damage caused by the (fairly ineffective) tape. And the bungie cord lost its protective hook tip and marred the finish on my bannister. I should have built a proper gate.

I thought the screen would allow them to get reacquainted, but no. It does, however, exhibit a nice trampoline effect when JJ leaps into it trying to get at Viola on the other side. That’s funny, but I’m done laughing.

JJ is about to get a few days’ vacation at the vet, while I get a few days’ vacation from tripping over that damn screen. Then he’ll come home smelling funny. I sincerely hope Viola runs right over and wallops him upside the head. Then, things will be back to normal.

And if that doesn’t work, well, I guess I’ll build a proper gate.

About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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7 Responses to Creature Discomforts

  1. Mike Zilis says:

    Too funny, Megan! Yes, by all means let’s get that Sketch-Up into the library!

  2. Alex Leslie says:

    We had a similar problem and now have several cat boxes around the house. You can make temporary ones with the lids from copy paper boxes to see which ones will get used. Try doing group play with a long frayed cord using both ends. Treat the cats that behave well.

  3. Megan,
    I cannot suggest a solution for the cats’ territory-itus but your Duct Tape problem is the tape itself. Get a roll of Gaffer’s tape (,110,43466) that will leave no residue and stays where you put it.


  4. toolnut says:

    Get a dog, that will keep JJ busy.

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