Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Breaking and entering

Pixel's saga continues....

We thought we had it all wrapped up: the eliminating outside of the cat box. Pixel was going in and out of his door, albeit loudly in the middle of the night, and enjoying having his own space in which to eliminate, eat, drink or sleep, if he chose. There were no "accidents" and it appeared that he wasn't even going down to the basement anymore, either. We've even started leaving the basement door open at night since we're not worried about him sneaking in and peeing on the floor in here.

This past week, however, things have changed. First there was some poop outside of the box. Then a few days later, a puddle. We couldn't figure out why this was happening until we caught Domino in Pixel's room, eating Pixel's food.

The hollering started immediately.

Domino is not wearing the magnetic collar that triggers the door, but Pixel is. Pixel, however, can't seem to get the hang of just walking up to the door and pushing it with his head. Instead, he stands there and pushes on the door with his foot.







Over again.

Bang! Bang! Clank! Bang! Clank! Bang! Bang! Bang!

Until, finally, he gets the door the way he likes it and then walks through it. He does this at all hours of the day and night. The worst part is at night, at 2am, when you're trying to sleep, of course. He won't just walk up and go. Even when he's exiting the room, and all he need to do is walk through it, he still pushes on it repeatedly (even though it doesn't lock that way) several times before he's ready to walk out.

So I blame Pixel for the current situation: he taught Domino that if you push hard enough on the door, it will open. And so it does.

So Domino walks up to the door, pushes it once, hard, with his foot and ambles inside. Quickly and almost quietly. He's better at it than Pixel is! He hangs out in there, eats all of Pixel's food and ambushes Pixel when he walks in the door. When he's tired of exerting his dominance over all things Pixel, he then calmly walks out and goes about his day. To think that we were wondering how Domino seemed to be gaining so much weight!

When I catch him, I chase him around while hollering. I use a penny bottle and a water sprayer when I can. Otherwise, he's getting away with it on a daily basis. I can't stop him, either. If I'm in the kitchen and I hear someone messing with the door for only a short time, it's usually him. If I hear the door banging repeatedly, I know it's Pixel. This begs the question: so now what?!

Eric mentioned getting a dog fence, surrounding the door with the wire and putting the receiver on Domino's collar. Zap! Do not pass go, do not collect cat food. I suggested the remote training collar for dogs. Zap! Leave that door alone! Neither one seems to be feasible, even if they are emotionally satisfying techniques.

Today, though, Pixel has his annual vet appointment where they will tell us how much closer to death's door he is. That poor cat! He's almost 17 years old, has benign tumors on his right rear leg (at least 3 that I count, one is the size of an egg), bad kidneys, missing teeth and is grumpy.

If you're wondering why we don't do anything about the egg-sized tumors, never fear. They showed up 2 years ago as a pea sized lump around New Years day. I immediately took him in, had it removed and biopsied. It was benign, but of the type that would come back larger every year. Right on schedule, the following New Years, he had another lump in the same place and about the same size. I took him in to our new vet and had them remove it. They told us that it would come back again and that they saw 4 possibilities for us:
  1. Chemotherapy. Too expensive. Besides, he's 16!
  2. Cut off his leg. Are you kidding? He's grumpy already! Can you imagine how it would be if we cut off his leg?
  3. Leave it alone. It's not causing him pain or stopping him from walking. All it does is get bigger over time.
  4. Surgically remove it when it gets too big. Expensive, but more reasonable than options 1 or 2.
It came back within 4 months. More than one, this time, too. So we've left it, with the plan to cut it off when it got to an unreasonable size. We might be closing in on that timeframe, but again we're still...um...financially challenged. He will have to wait a little longer. It truly doesn't seem to bother him as he sits basking in the sun, whiling away his remaining days, sleeping in the sunlight on the back of the couch. He doesn't do a whole lot but he still purrs all the time. He purrs when you talk to him, when he notices you looking at him and when you pet him, of course. He seems content enough, except for the Domino thing. I've suggested having him put to sleep but Eric won't hear it. For a cat in crappy shape, Pixel is still in there and still happy.

He's been a good cat ever since I got him at 6 months old. Really, the only problem was with the elimination and his teeth. He has poor dental genetics. All of these years he's been a bundle of purr.

How do you know when it's time to say goodbye to that?


Yvonneakablahblah said...

I like you guys so much. You are good people. It would be so easy to drop the bomb on Pixel out of sheer aggravation, but he's still purring. Can't argue with that. I wish I had a solution for your b&e problems, but no.
And thanks for the photo of Misty & Marlena & the 30th BD cake. I'm missing them today, on M's 31st.

Scylla said...

There is no way to be ready to say goodbye to the love of a purr box. Despite his messes, he is still your lovey dovey.


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