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Rough Day for House Pets

September 18, 2009



I am a lady, therefore at my house, the toilet seat is always down. Well, except when someone’s bum is sitting upon it. But, when not in use, lid = closed. My kitten, who isn’t so much a kitten anymore as a nearly grown cat, uses the seat as a springboard to reach the bathroom sink. While unhygenic and slightly gross, this is a behaviour I have failed to break, and rather than making myself crazy by expending endless effort “training” her against hanging out with her filthy paws in spots where the people go to get clean, I have accepted that for the duration of Birdie’s life, my sink will remain less than spotless.

This morning or perhaps last night, apparently I left the toilet seat up. I have no memory of this, and blame the rare steak, frites, Napoleon cocktail, malbec, gateau au chocolat and nightcap of warm armagnac, which I enjoyed with R. last night before a long bicycle ride home. I was exhausted, drunk on food and tipsy on liquor and plastered from two days of birthday celebration. And so, a likely sequence is: I disrobed, brushed teeth, struggled into something like pyjamas, peed, passed out in bed.

And so, my kitten learned that the toilet bowl is a place filled with water, not quite deep enough for swimming but good enough for a full dunk. She air-dried by bolting through the apartment, knocking over as many things as possible, then returning to swat each object around the floor. Her wet paws gave no traction on the kitchen tiles, and she slid sideways into the oven before rounding the bend and shooting deep under the blankets to sop up the last of the water with my nightshirt while I lay stunned and barely awake in bed.


Walking up Sorauren Avenue this afternoon, I noticed a rather fancy barbecue on the patio out front of a townhouse. No one was in sight, though smoke poured from beneath the chrome lid. Next to the grill sat a large animal carrier, the sort for transporting large cats or small dogs to the vet. I’m sure there was no connection. And yet…


There’s a vicious hill a few blocks west of my house. If you want to reach the rest of the city, you have to cross it–either on this street or that, no getting around it. No shortcut will lessen the incline; there is no work-around to this obstacle. It starts off gentle, a mild grade climbing westward and crossing a busy bridge. Your reward for biking up and over it, however, is a wonderful downhill glide. The road curves south-west and if you time things right, you can scoot across three lanes of traffic, avoiding the streetcar tracks and coasting for several blocks. Lovely.

This afternoon, I left my bicycle at home and ran errands on foot, feeling like lately, the last thing I need is more movement and speed. It was a pretty, windy, good-smelling day, and though things took ages without a bike, this felt ok. I was nearly at the top of the hill when a man shot past me heading for the bend. He was shod in rollerblades and spandex shorts, a crappy looking hoodie and baseball cap. He had a terrible, terrified grin on his face like he’d set something in motion then changed his mind a split second too late and had no choice but to see things through. In his arms, he clutched a shaggy brown dog. The thing was bigger than me, its back spooned against the man’s belly and legs curled in front like the  dog was shimmying up a pole. Needless to say, I did not stick around to see how their descent turned out.

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