Teenager Sassy Talk Is Taking Over Our Family

Teenager Sassy Talk Is Taking Over Our Family

We have a sass problem in our family.

Teenaged sass.

sass 2

Talk back, argue, and try to negotiate every boundary kind of sass.

“Take away their iPads!” you suggest.

“Send them to their rooms!” you insist.

Thank you very much for your parenting input.

Thing is…

The sass, well, it’s not coming from either of the two human teenagers who make their home under our roof.

It’s coming from—

The cat.

Pisa, the oh-so-talkative sassing cat gives her opinion as I try to write my column.
Pisa, the oh-so-talkative sassing cat gives her opinion as I try to write my column.

The 3-legged cat.

Pisa is her name. As in “Leaning Tower of—“

The cat, who if I’m honest, I will admit is result of a rebound relationship.

Tripod was my first three-legged cat.

Tripod, The 3-Legged Wonder Cat! With me for 19 years!
Tripod, The 3-Legged Wonder Cat! With me for 19 years!

My great love for 19 years!

You, fellow animal lover, can imagine the hole in my heart when ‘Pod died.

Four months after ‘Pod passed, I got an email.

It from a local cat rescue group and went something like, “I heard you are the crazy cat lady who takes in 3-legged cats. We have this cat we’ve tried to place for more than 2 years, perhaps you could see it in your crazy cat lady heart to take her in.”

“I’m not ready for another cat,” I warned but I can come meet her.”

I know. I know. You’re laughing already.

Truth is, this was not love at first sight.

“I guess I could ‘foster’ her for a bit,” I said hesitantly as they shoved me out the door, cat carrier in hand.

“She sure talks a lot,” I confessed to my even more animal loving sister.

“That’s just her settling in,” she assured me. “She’ll be better in six months.”

Wrong.

Once the cat was let out of the proverbial bag, there's been no quieting her down.
Once the cat was let out of the proverbial bag, there’s been no quieting her down.

Five years later, I can tell you this is like having the late Joan Rivers in a cat, “Can we talk?”

“Can we talk about food at 5:30?”

5:30, as in a.m.

“Can we talk about how I want to be held?”

“Can we talk about how I want to go outside?”

"I love getting my way and having my say. Not necessarily in that order."
“I love getting my way and having my say. Not necessarily in that order.”

To not engage or even worse, not meet Pisa’s request, is to hear the sass, the negotiating, or if she’s feeling extra emotional, to be treated to a recounting of her two plus years in the cat shelter.

Imagine a 10-minute out-of-tune meow in C-sharp.

The question becomes, Dear Reader, what to do with a sassy cat who has a lot to say?

My husband has some ideas, few of which are legal or involve keeping the cat.

The kids have learned how to cradle Pisa like a newborn baby, which does quiet the cat, but tends to put a crimp in things like homework, their social lives, and taking a bath.

The dog is happiest because at 14 1/2, she’s deaf. Lucky dog.

Darla with our 3-legged cat, Pisa.
Darla with our 3-legged cat, Pisa.

And so I put it to you?

Dear Reader, do you have a conversationalist cat?

Husband thinks I’m part of the problem.

That I’ve spoiled the cat.

Pisa takes residence in my desk drawer. And the problem is?
Pisa takes residence in my desk drawer. And the problem is?

Can you imagine?!

Any ideas?

Set Pisa and me straight at Daryn@DarynKagan.com

Just make sure you speak up, so that I can hear you over all the meowing.

Find more uplifting stories on my website, DarynKagan.com

Please catch my newspaper column each week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Dayton Daily News and other newspapers across Ohio.

When A Cat With Less Is More Than A Cat

When A Cat With Less Is More Than A Cat

 Please catch my newspaper column each week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Dayton Daily News and other newspapers across Ohio.  Here’s this week’s column:

 

I told a friend this week to cut off her cat’s leg.

Hold on, before you get PETA or mental health officials on your speed dial, let me explain.

My friend’s kitty, Eloise, was injured by a dog or some critter who had chomped down on the sweet girl’s back right leg. I certainly wasn’t suggesting my friend handle this medical crisis on her own. No, I was holding her hand when Eloise’s leg wasn’t healing properly and her veterinarian gave her what seemed like shocking advice.

“He says he needs to amputate Eloise’s back right leg!” she said, horrified.

“Go for it,” I instantly assured her.

Perhaps, I should share why I’m in a unique position to offer counsel on this matter.

I have a three-legged cat named Pisa. (Yes, as in Leaning Tower of.)

And get this — Pisa, is my third three-legged cat.

What can I say? Some people collect stamps, coins or baseball cards.

For me, it’s been three-legged cats.

In the interest of complete accuracy, it’s more like they collect me. The first found me back in 1992 when I was a local news reporter in Phoenix doing a story at the Humane Society.

“Let me show you this special cat that just came in,” the shelter’s PR director said.

From the moment that three-legged ball of gray fur landed in my arms and hugged me with his one right leg I was a goner. I named him “Tripod.”

“You’re not going to believe this,” the same shelter director emailed me a couple years later. “We have another gray three-legged cat, just missing a different leg.”

Three-legged love, Chapter 2.

The kitty I named “I-lean” was older and was with me only a few years before he passed.

Tripod, on the other hand, er, paw, had an incredibly long life. He lived until he was 20 years old. Not too long after he passed, when I was so sure I wasn’t ready for another pet, a local shelter emailed wondering if I would be willing to take in a three-legger they were having trouble finding a home for.

“You can just foster her,” they said.

I can hear you fellow animal lovers howling right now. You know how these stories go. Foster-schmoster. I officially adopted Pisa three years ago.

To live with a three-legged cat is to get a daily reminder that what I have is enough.

Three legs are enough to run, jump and be happy.

Pisa even caught a mouse for me the other day. There they both were lying at the base of the stairs when I came downstairs early one morning. She was so proud, as if to say, “Look what I got for you!” That’s a normal cat behavior I could do without, thank you very much.

Of course, three legs aren’t the package of cat most of us ever counted on, but isn’t that true with life as well?

When I let go my pre-conceived notions of how something in my life is supposed to look, some wonderful treasures tend to show up. It’s true with cats, love, jobs and more. To learn that is life-changing. To share that is a gift.

So, it was with great confidence, I told my friend Claire, “Cut it off.” Rather go through with the amputation. Eloise is young, smart. She will be fine. She will figure it out. And watch out for dead mouse presents.”

There was one final tip I couldn’t resist.

“Might I suggest a name tweak?” I offered. “Elo-threese” has a nice ring to it.”