Thursday, April 4, 2013

Looking for Help

The next morning Clem waited for the yarn lady to leave and turned on the television.  She was pretty sure the show Intervention was part of the On Demand feature with the cable company and she knew she had to do something about her catnip problem.  Again last night she’d gone overboard with the ‘nip and this time it was the sunroom that looked like a hurricane had hit.  She’d scattered bits of catnip everywhere and one of her favorite boxes was covered with claw and teeth marks.  She’d obviously gone bonkers and tried to tear it to pieces.  What to do, what to do?  She wished she could ask someone, but it was just too embarrassing.  Rudy would laugh at her for sure, and Clem didn’t think she could handle being laughed at right now.   She didn’t think Tatum would understand and Emma seemed too prissy to ever have such a thing as an addiction.  That was the extent of her cat friends, so there really was no one to ask.

Ah, yes, Intervention was available on demand.  She turned on the latest episode and watched it and then two more with horror.  These people destroyed their own and their families’ lives through their addictions.  Admittedly, none of them were to catnip, but as one of the intervention folks said, “A drug is a drug is a drug.”  And catnip was certainly a drug.  Well, at least it was probably a drug for cats. 

So what could she do?   She didn’t see herself checking into a fancy rehab.  One, they probably didn’t admit cats and two, she didn’t have the money or insurance to pay for it.  There were other options, though.  The intervention folks also talked about 12-step programs, and said there were programs for just about any type of addiction.  One of the people who was having an intervention said that he’d done online meetings and that sounded good to Clem.  She could do online meetings, no problem.  She had the iPad, and had become quite good at typing.  As long as she could do them at night while the yarn lady was sleeping or during the day while she went out for a few hours it would be workable. 

Paw poised above the keyboard Clem thought about her search terms.  Recovery… catnip… cats… 12 step… online… meeting… addiction.  Those should do.  She snickered at the first result.  “My science fair project by Calista Headrick” and it was a diagram of how some girl tested when cats were most hyperactive by teasing them with catnip.  Nope, that surely wasn’t going to help her break a catnip addiction.  There were others that were much more promising.  Lists of recovery groups and meetings, recovery communities; she’d check into all of these.  First though she wanted to try a more advanced search.  She tweaked her search to make some terms required and a set a few terms for exclusions, so that she wouldn’t get sites that helped her learn to socialize with other cats or buy catnip, heaven forbid.  This resulted in only one result.  “Cats Anonymous – for cats by cats”

If Clem had fingers she would have crossed them, but she didn’t so she held her breath and touched the link on the iPad.  Please don’t let it be a joke, she thought.  Well, this was promising.  There were no fancy graphics that looked like they belonged on the I Can Haz Cheezburger site, just information on how to register for the site.  Create a username.  That was easy.  Clementine.  Password.  That was easy too; she used the same one for everything.  FancyFeast317, her favorite food and her birthday.  Email address, check.  Hit submit, and wait for the email. 

Clem stretched and helped herself to some crunchy food.  It might take a little while for her to get a response to her request and it wouldn’t do for her to agonize over her email, clicking it over and over to see if she had a new message.  Then again, she hadn’t checked her email in probably a week, maybe she should clean out her inbox so she could even notice when it did arrive.  There was the usual selection of junk email.  Catnip from Canada, well Clem certainly did not want any of that.  Earn a degree in mousing online.  How silly was that?  Who needed a degree in mousing?  Either you had it or you didn’t when it came to catching mice.  cHarmony – a dating site for cats.  She had to check that out.  “It is Probably Possible to Find your Soul Mate... But we don't care. Isn't it time you experienced the joy of falling in love with someone you just met and will never see again? This is the kind of joy that comes from superficial compatibility. And superficial compatibility is what forms the basis for every relationship at cHarmony.”  She snickered, even though she did believe in true love, if not soul mates.  She emptied the inbox and powered off the iPad.  It wouldn’t do to wear out the battery now when it might not be charged tonight.  Since it was for Clem’s use only, the yarn lady didn’t always remember to charge it.  It was time for a nap.  She’d exhausted herself with all this emotional turmoil.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Clementine woke with a tremendous headache.  It had taken her hours to finally get to sleep, and when she did finally snooze she had the most bizarre dreams.  She felt as though the night had been spent in search of a closet.  The dreams had her moving from room to room in the house, except instead of the yarn lady’s little 2-bedroom condo there was room after room, all with closets on every wall.  She was looking for a particular closet because something important was in that closet, but none of them were the right one.  There were huge walk-in closets like in the fancy house shows, tiny little closets with doors she couldn’t fit in, closets that held giraffes (and why, pray tell, were giraffes in the closets?) and closets so full of junk that she couldn’t even fit inside.  Clem lay on the corner of the couch and slowly returned to reality.  She was home with the yarn lady and from her vantage point, there were the usual number of rooms and the only closet in sight was the coat closet next to the front door. 

It was mid-morning and Clem discovered the yarn lady wasn’t even home.  She recalled from last night that there was some emergency at the noisy girl’s house she needed to attend to, and Clem had obviously slept through the yarn lady getting up, dressed and leaving.  That was good, as Clem didn’t feel like being social right now.  She stretched slowly and made her way carefully to the crunchy food bowl.  Each bite was like a hammer to her skull.  Was she coming down with a kitty cold or flu?  She didn’t think so, as she had no stuffy nose or anything other than the headache and a rather stiff neck. 

The kitchen was still littered with the remains of last night’s mousie massacre, and Clem looked at the mess with shame.  Had she really gotten so out of control that she’d torn the mousie to pieces?  It appeared she had, because there were bits of fabric and tail all around the kitchen.  It had a pouch the yarn lady had put the catnip in, and Clem remembered really wanting to get at the rest of the catnip, and deciding to figure out how she opened it.  Well, this wasn’t it, because this mousie was never going to hold catnip again. 

Was this what a hangover was like?  Sometimes Clem watched television shows where humans who had too much to drink ended up with a hangover the next morning.  She supposed catnip was like alcohol, so maybe this was a hangover.  Maybe her behavior last night was an indication that she was addicted to catnip.  Clem climbed carefully onto her favorite blanket and considered this.  She wanted to ask one of the other cats about whether this was possible but she was too ashamed.  She was weak, a stupid weak cat who couldn’t handle her catnip.  She put her head on her paws and tried to reason the situation through, but sleep caught up with her long before she figured anything out.

It was evening before the yarn lady reappeared.  She was in a good mood, playing with a plastic doll that came with a bunch of cats.  She posed the doll and the cats and took pictures.  Clem climbed up on the counter, but the yarn lady pushed her aside.  Usually the pictures were of her, but tonight it was the stupid doll.  Humph.  Clem stalked into the living room and began clawing at the slipcovered chair.   That should get her attention, though Clem. 

“Clementine, why are you doing that?  You have a perfectly nice scratching box, and you know I’ll give you treats if you use it.”  The yarn lady stood, hands on her hips, staring at Clem.  She removed her claws from the chair, ashamed of herself yet again.  Why did she keep doing these things?  The yarn lady reached down and picked Clem up, burying her face in the soft fur.  “I love you dearly, but sometimes you drive me to distraction.  But you know, I wouldn’t have you be any other way, dearheart.”

Clem squirmed and was put gently on the floor.  The yarn lady put a few things away she’d brought home with her and reached for something on the top of the fridge.  She called Clem’s name, shaking the tube filled with catnip.  In an instant Clem was at her feet, reaching upwards for the tube.  The yarn lady sprinkled some onto the small white rug and Clem pawed at, rolled in it and time went away….

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Committee in Clem's Head

It was 3 am, and Clementine was perched on the counter, attempting to open a plastic tube filled with catnip.  She was at a distinct disadvantage since she didn’t have thumbs and both the tube and its cap were completely smooth, but she needed that catnip.  She clawed at the point where the cap fit onto the tube and tried to pry it off, but it was too tight a fit.  Next Clem swatted the tube with all her strength, hoping that it would pop open when it hit the wall on the other side of the kitchen.  Unfortunately, the tube only skittered off the counter and dropped to the floor, completely intact.  Finally she resorted to whacking it around the house with her paws, knocking it into every available wall and even jumping up and down on it a few times.  She needed that catnip. 

The overhead kitchen light blinked on and Clem was caught red-pawed.  She stared up at the yarn lady, eyes pinned by the sudden bright light.  The tube of catnip was between her front paws since she was making another attempt to pry off the cap, hoping that the repeated impact against the walls had loosened it.  The yarn lady shook her head, trying to wake up enough to make sense of the scene on the kitchen floor.  Clementine was crouched over the tube of catnip that had come with the new mousie, and pieces of said mousie littered the kitchen.  Its tail was in front of the stove, the head was under the round maple table and bits of body were scattered throughout the room.  The yarn lady sighed and grabbed the catnip tube from between Clem’s paws and tossed it on top of the refrigerator.  Clem’s bowl of crunchy food was a little low, so she filled it up, deciding that the destruction of the mousie and the game of tube hockey were Clem’s way of saying, ‘feed me’  She turned off the light and headed back to bed, muttering, “If you wake me up again, I’m locking the bedroom door. “ 

Absolutely mortified with embarrassment, Clem crouched on the floor.  It was bad enough to want the catnip so much that she’d barely been able to sleep tonight, but to be so noisy she woke the yarn lady, well that was terrible.  She took a deep breath and resolved to put the catnip out of her mind.  It was time to snuggle with the yarn lady and try to make up for waking her.  Her human loved it when Clem fit herself in behind her bent knees or slept stretched out against her back.  Clem jumped up on the bed, tucked her paws in and put her head down on the blanket.  She closed her eyes, but found her mind going sixty miles an hour.  It was as though there was an entire committee of cats inside her head, all telling her what she should be doing or thinking.  She shook her head, trying to make them go away, but they all yammered at her.  She closed her eyes tightly, but cat faces swam inside her eyelids.

A tiny kitten voice in her head whined, “I want my catnip, I want my catnip!”  A curmudgeonly old cat with lots of hair in his ears grizzled, “Bah, catnip.  It’s no good for you.  Go to sleep!”  An angelic white Persian looked at her with such compassion and purred, “Poor Clementine, I feel so sorry for you.  Poor, poor kitty.”  A cat that looked like her cat mother looked down on her and said, “Pull yourself together, Clem.  You’re better than this.”  The voice of what she knew to be a handsome tomcat said, “Oh baby, I’ll open that tube for you…just come over here with me.”  The voices and faces overwhelmed her and she jumped straight up in the air, landing sprawled over the yarn lady, who had just fallen back asleep.  Clem found herself scooped up and dumped outside the door, which closed with a definite click.  She was banished from the bedroom.  That hadn’t happened in months, probably even a year.  Oh, what in the world was going on?