Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Tribute to Mr. Kittenman

It's been five years since I wrote about adopting Jinxy, my boy cat.  My life was way different then-- I even had a different blog! You can read the story of how I found Jinxy on that old blog:

Jinxy's pubicity shot from the shelter. 

The official name I gave him was Roger Jinxy Methodius d'Claude Onioncat.  Since then he's gone by Jinxy, Jinxboodle, Jinxman, Kittenman, Boodleman, Jinxy von Boodle, Captain Swishytail, Jinxtopher (Jinxtofur), Mr. Boo, and Jinxtopher Boodle.
When I first got him, I took a lot of pictures.  He's got a beautiful big bushy tail and thick black fur that he leaves everywhere.  It's hard to get a picture of his tail, which he swishes around as he walks, because it's always moving.

My first picture of the Jinxman.

He and Hermione, my other cat, got to know each other pretty quickly.  They played together:

ate together, 

laid around together,

and fought together.  (For the first time in her life, Hermione had another cat who would chase her around the house. Ah, the hunter becomes the hunted.)  

Jinxy had a weird way of laying his front paws out in front of him when he lounged.  I'd never seen a cat do that before.   

When I bought my first house, my sister decorated the (pink-tiled) bathroom in a black and white pattern.  I didn't realize til afterward how well Jinxy matched it.

One day I caught Jinxy and Hermione sharing a chair:

To this day I still don't know which one of them was there first, and which was one joined the other.

Jinxy is a cat, so of course he loves to perch on all kinds of things:

On top of laundry

On a secretary desk

On the dresser

"Helping" me pack

On my printer
When he grooms, he leaves huge clumps of his thick black fur all over the place: 

I could knit myself a new cat out of that

Last year, when Katherine and I moved in together, there was a third feline in the house:

Dicey did not get along with my two cats.  We always felt like three cats were too many, but we could never conceive of getting rid of any of them.


About that same time, we had some issues with pee.  Someone, and we didn't know who, was peeing where they weren't supposed to.  I don't know if you've ever smelled cat pee outside of a litter box, but it is rank.  It's like having a skunk in your house.  Even after the smell is gone, the sensory memory of it stays with you for hours, sometimes days.

Most of the pee incidents happened in the back bedroom, on top of Katherine's old bed.  We removed the thick comforter, which helped for a little while.  Then someone peed on the thin blanket.  We removed that.  They peed on the sheets.

We took Jinxy to the vet for his annual check up.  We mentioned the peeing.  We had no proof it was him, but he was the only boy, and they are usually the spayers.  The vet suggested a few things which we tried.  We put a litter box in the back bedroom.  We bought a cat pheromone dispenser.  We kept changing around the bedding.  The peeing would stop for about a month, but just when we thought it was safe, it would happen again.  I started a spreadsheet to see if I could spot a pattern. 

Over the course of a year, there were only about a dozen peeing incidents.  It wasn't horrible, and we could live with it.  But it was annoying not being able to use our back bedroom.  We thought about using it for a nursery, but you can't put a baby in a room where cats pee all over.

The situation took a dramatic turn a few weeks ago.  As we set up the front bedroom to be the nursery, we filled it up with baby accessories.  Katherine told me that she smelled cat pee in the room.  I went in there and inspected everything: the rug, the crib, the pile of baby clothes.  What I found was that the brand-new, never-been-used infant car seat was wet.  When I took it apart, there was a puddle of yellow piss that had soaked through the fabric to the plastic bottom.

This was no longer something we could patiently tolerate.  This was in a different room, on the baby's turf.  For the first time I considered that it was time to 1.) figure out who the phantom pee-er was, and 2.) consider finding a new home for him/her. 


You know how this ends, right?  Using a simple experiment where we separated the cats, we discovered that Jinxy was the pee-er.  We caught him red-bladdered on top of the bed, a pee stain beneath him.  It was time to make some hard decisions.

But it gets worse than that.  After contacting two shelters and talking to the vet, it turns out that the chances of finding a new home for a 9-year-old cat with peeing issues are very, very low.  (One shelter wouldn't even take him.  They had a two-year waiting list!)  So then I was faced with a difficult decision:  put him up for adoption, with the chance that he could spend the last few months (or years) of his life in a cage, or just have him put down myself.         

I'm going with the latter decision, along with all the guilt and shame that goes along with it.  We have an appointment this afternoon. 

On the baby front, our doctors recommended that we induce labor next week.  So that means that within one week we have an appointment to kill our cat and birth our baby.  Talk about emotional roller coasters. 


Jinxy's been in my life for over five years now, and considering I got him when he was four, he's spent over half his life with me. 

I just realized this week that although I've taken dozens of pictures of my little kittenman, I have none of the two of us together.  So Katherine got out her expensive fancy camera and took our portrait: