Tuesday, April 5, 2011

We live in a Zoo

I got one whole question, thanks to Miss Amber Lane. She asked:

"So I see that you have 3 cats and 2 dogs - we have 5 cats so also 5 animals under one roof - how do you keep the peace and keep from losing your mind with so many four-legged creatures in your home? Some nights (tonight for example) I am ready to pull my hair out with the messes they make and the space they consume but my husband insists we must keep them all - how do you do it?"

As much as I love my animals and consider them to be valid members of our family, I can fully and totally acknowledge that having five animals at once is just slightly overboard. Our house is much too small for all of us but I wasn't thinking clearly for several years...blame it on my biological clock, if you want..and all I wanted was a baby...of any kind. And Jeremy could never tell me no...so....here we are with five animals in our tiny lovers cottage. So, how do we deal with the chaos that is our daily life with five furry creatures living with us?

I sometimes go into fits of mad woman vacuuming. I know that we will never, ever be a totally fur free household but we do our best to keep it at bay. This sometimes requires a down and dirty date with my Tyson. Other times it might be as simple as breaking out the dry swiffer. Or I hunt down dust bunnies (which are abundant in a household with five animals and hardwood floors) and pick them up as I see them.

We clean the litter box every. single. day. It is a must. Required. Period. The end.

Our dogs love routine. They know when we get up for morning potty break. They know when breakfast and dinner is. They know we go for walks after work. Lola knows the blanket I have folded for her on the floor is where she is to lay. They both know that when Jeremy comes to bed its time for both of them to get into their beds.

The cats are no such slaves to routine. They get a continuous feeder so they eat when they want. They lay where they want. Do what they want. We've avoided a lot of the usual kitty damage because all three cats have been declawed since they were kittens (hey, maybe I'll even get some hate mail over that!). I know declawing is not an option for everyone, but its what we opted for and our cats have never been any worse for it. They are strictly indoor kitties so haven't really missed their front claws...well, unless you count the times they longingly stare at our in-tact curtains.

Even though we don't hold them to any routine they are much more self-sufficient then the dogs. They don't need much from us. But sometimes, especially at night when all three cats want to be in our queen-sized bed with us I will do the crazy person yell and pop up from the bed...sending them all scattering out of the room. They can sometimes have personal space issues. They don't understand it..at all. But if I can't handle them being all up in my business I just push...er..I mean, place them on the floor away from me. It might take a few repeats but they usually get bored and wonder off.

I think overall living in harmony with our pets comes down to three things:

1. Do a little clean every day. Living with animals can be messy. Do a quick vacuum. Use the sticky roller on the couch. Gather their toys..which brings me to #2.

2. Give them their space. Collect all their toys and keep them in a certain area..a box or whatever. Give them a few beds, or blankets, or both throughout the house. And that brings me to #3.

3. They live in YOUR house, you don't live in theirs. So claim your own space. If you don't want them in your room at night, kick them out. They might not like it at first..lol..but who is the boss here? If you don't want to share the couch with them..move them to their bed/blanket. Again, it might take you doing it over and over but it's YOUR house and YOUR space so they will just have to learn.

Otto does not know the meaning of personal space.

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