My Dad has become a Cat Lady. Just retreat now if you don't want to hear about that in some detail. I understand. BELIEVE ME.
I mean Cat Lady, how else do you describe it? There are 12 indoor and at least 5 outdoor cats. One of the indoor cats is mine, a lovely tempered little manx. I keep him in our room as much as possible. His proper food is in here as well as his private litter box. I also keep a supply of toys and treats in here and dole them out regularly.
Dad turned the bathtub in the loo that used to be my brothers into a giant litter box. Gross. Necessary I suppose - but gross. As someone who lived on a boat for years, I dreamed of bubble baths as compensation for retreating to the parental units.
Not so much.
One of the reasons I came home was to ease the gap of 23 or so years where I dared to go off and have a life of my own without their control - which was necessary given their level of hyper control I was escaping at the time.
The other was I needed better access to medical care and psychological care than I could get - small town Oregon is very historic and good for many things - but there were not many options for the care I need at the moment. So it took a lot of effort and help and work - but I got here.
And discovered my dad is a Cat Lady. He gets up at 4 am to feed them all, and has an absolute panic if someone is late to the feed. My Mum and I - we're entirely secondary to his herd of cats. We cook, we clean - he cats.
BUT. Now Nigel has had all his shots and the like being a single kitty until now - but I'm not very keen on him mixing with Dads.
One of his older cats uses the hallway to my room (which is just off the kitchen) as his personal litter box - and he's worm INFESTED. I know - I'm cleaning it up every morning because I don't want to walk through worms - or have Nigel walk through them either.
There is hair everywhere. I'm constantly wiping and dusting and sneezing and dripping and who knows how much I will ingest before it's over. I get that cats think their hair is a seasoning - but 12 is a bit heavy for my palate.
One of the outdoor cats died of Feline HIV before we got here. We suspect another one of the 5 remaining is infected - if not all of them. He won't get them tested. While they stay outside - he's constantly going back and forth between them and I know he's not disinfecting his hands or shoes.
I don't want him touching Nigel. At all.
He won't worm them - my cobra gunship pilot Dad that didn't hesitate a second to snatch me up as a kid and beat the shit out of me won't corral them - he gets all anxious and weird trying to sweet talk them and they clear the hell out. If it gets done my Mum has to do it - and since she's busy it doesn't happen.
So now I have to make sure Nigel is regularly getting dewormed - the others are all contaminated. Another worry I didn't have on the boat.
Every time I turn around my Dad is in here trying to mess with Nigel - he thinks he "speaks cat", he does not speak Nigel - Nigel wants nothing to do with him. Yowling at him hiding under the bed. Offering him treats he doesn't like. Trying to take him out of here to "play" with the others. Over my objections of course, because he knows cats better than anyone who ever lived.
I don't know who this Cat Lady dude is - it does not compute with the man of my childhood. And I like the other cats - well, most of them, not the floor shitter - and some of them like me WAY more than I would really prefer. What can I say, animals like me.
But this is getting into weird shit territory - and not all of it can just be scooped up. Humans no longer matter - it's the cats. None of their friends have come over in years because of it. Their social life together is nonexistent - they used to be on Mardi Gras Crewes. They used to entertain regularly. Now my Mum does her things with her friends in other places - and he stays home to fret over his cats.
And fret he does. Constantly. To all of us and Sean Hannity too I suspect, though I just avoid the living room all together as the FOX zone. Upsets my stomach that noise on 24/7 as 50 volume.
I wonder some times - how will this affect my ability to get better? My chances to leave and go home to my boat and the plans I have for my life once I'm better? How will Nigel come out of all this health wise with the lack of concern for contamination, lack of regular vet care, worms, feline HIV - will he survive? Or will I simply end up trapped here forever in the Swamps, covered in cat hair never to see my little floating home again.
SO...yeah. I live with a Cat Lady Colonel and a food hoarder, but that's a whole other diary.