How our kittens civilized us

Our previous cats were barn cats and alley cats. I would have thought that being somewhat wild, they would have required us to change our lifestyle a lot to accommodate them. Surpringly, it has been our hand-raised kittens that have required the most changes.

I think our kittens are so comfortable with people and houses that they think nothing of getting into whatever they want. The other cats were always still a bit uncertain about indoor life, so kept to a few known places and behaviors.

For instance, after years of asking my husband to keep our bedroom closet doors closed, once one of the kittens peed on his backpack laying on the closet floor, the closet doors suddenly are always closed. (I guess my clothes being covered in cat hair by one of our previous cats who used to like to hide in the closet wasn’t motivating enough to him…)

Our bed, while not perfectly madeup every morning, gets a brief putting together – no more comforters or blankets hanging off at precarious angles and traling onto the floor. If the bed is relatively smooth, and the floor is clear, all is well. Otherwise, someone thinks, “I could pee on that.” New blankets and comforters are expensive!

Toilet lids must be put down. I don’t need a drowned cat or a sick cat. Their water dish is finally getting better use! I guess the previous cats had a fish tank to drink out of, and then a cat fountain when the fish died. Both of those are a lot of work to keep up, but our barn cat refused to drink still water, so I had no choice. Our kittens were fine with drinking from their water dish when we first got them. They are fine with it again.

All dirty dishes must be put in the kitchen, and put in the dishwasher or cleaned ASAP. I think our other cats, for sure our barn cat, also got into dirty dishes, but they were much quieter about it, so got by with it easily. These kittens have not yet learned to be so stealthy.

All savory foods, including potato chips, bread, etc. must be properly stored in something sturdier than a plastic bag. Our other cats would go after unattended meat or dairy products, but didn’t care about anything else. One of our kittens, in particular, loves bread, chips, crackers. We have lost many a hamburger bun to her little claws and teeth ripping through the bread bag.

All dirty clothes must be safely stored in clothes hampers. The kids don’t always follow this rule, but they keep their bedroom doors closed, so at least the dirt is out of public view. But I added a lidded dirty clothes hamper to the top of the dryer, as I was concerned that the cats would think, “oooh, a smelly pile of damp stuff – I could pee on that.”

All shoes, coats, backpacks, really, any cloth-like substance must be properly stored in a closet or on a hook. Anything on the ground that can soak up pee, will be peed on. It is so nice walking through the house and not seeing coats, music bags, dance bags, swim bags, backpacks, lunch bags and numerous pairs of shoes, mittens, socks, hats, etc, strewn about.

Because, as you may have noticed, one of our cats did not like going all the way down to the basement to use the litter box, the guest bathroom on the main floor is cleaner than usual. I have to regularly vacuum the floor to contain the litter that gets tracked out of the box that is now also in that upstairs bathroom.

So, thank you, kittens, for helping me civilize my family!

Weirdest Conversation

This morning I brought my two female kittens into the veterinarian’s office to be spayed and have their front claws removed (I know removing claws is controversial, and we truly considered not doing it, but our family is called to host families from around the world, who often include very young children and older adults, so for the safety of those people, we really needed them to not have their front claws).

I received a call from the vet earlier today saying that our kitten, Pippin’s, surgeries went well. I just received a call that Nemo’s surgeries also went well. But as he was talking to me, this is what he said: “Nemo is just waking up from anesthesia. His declaw went well, and those puppy teeth have been removed. Her spay also went well.”

So, were you working on a cat or a dog? And was it a male or female?

I have been very pleased with the service my animals have received at this vet, and it is confusing that we have a female cat named, Nemo.

But, I think the vet had a long day today!

I am for the rights of all women

When did you start to be a woman? When were you worthy of having your rights defended? What makes you a woman? What makes anyone who they are?

I’m pretty sure that I came to be me at the point of conception. That is when my DNA came together to form who I am today. I look different than I did back then, but I am essentially the same person. In forty years, I will look different than I do now, but my DNA will still be the same.

When was I worthy of having my rights defended? Was it when I was able to take care of myself? Was it when I was able to live without the help of someone else? If that is the case, then my rights still aren’t worth defending. I did not build my own house – I bought it from someone who did. I do not grow my own food – I buy it from someone who did. And craziliy enough, I don’t make any money right now to buy those things. I am totally dependent on others for survival. And even if I did make my own money, I would be depending upon someone who was willing to emply me or buy what I was selling. So if the bar is being able to survive on one’s own, then I have no rights worthy of defending.

We need to focus on creating laws that support and protect women who find themselves in unwanted pregnancies. Let’s hold men accountable. Let’s teach our boys to be true men, not predatory beasts. Let’s teach our women to be true women, not doormats who will do whatever it takes to feel loved. Let’s support our pregnant moms so that they aren’t economically disadvantaged. Let’s adopt babies.

The child inside may be a woman who is worthy of being defended.

Life’s a Rollercoaster


I don’t really like rollercoasters. I much prefer the merry-go-round, though I was terrified of that as a child, too. I have always liked the Scrambler – it is very predictable, even as it squishes you and makes you a bit nauseated. So I guess I prefer known pain, even if it is more debilitating than surprise pain.

God has been working with me on that – trying to teach me that the ups and downs He has designed for me will give me exhilaration and joy, even if they look heart-stoppingly scary at first. It’s nice to be comfortable every now and then, but it does start feeling claustrophobic and sickening.

So, while my knee-jerk reaction is that I detest rollercoasters, once I am strapped in and heading back up after that first big drop, I have to admit that the rollercoaster is one of the best rides in the park.

When strapped into life by God’s love, there is no reason to fear; life truly is a rollercoaster.

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.


There are many hurting people

I was talking with a friend about the politics and real world challenges of people who don’t feel comfortable with the gender they were born with. I lean toward helping them learn to feel comfortable in their original skin. My friend believes, deep down, that is the best thing, but his comment was to me was, “But remember, these are real people who are really hurting.” He means that we can’t legislate people into feeling ok about themselves. I agree, but right now, we are legislating to make it illegal to help people feel good about their original selves.

Here’s where I am coming from. I have a scientifically proven,  genetically-based disorder called autism. For years I struggled with depression, suicidal thoughts, perfectionism. I tried to become a better Christian, I tried counseling (this would have worked if we had known I had autism at the time, but since that was unknown, the counseling was ineffective), I tried everything I could think of. It wasn’t until my son was educationally evaluated and found to have autism that I realized: that was my problem, too. Now that I know that I have autism and have learned what challenges it causes in my life, I have learned strategies to deal with those challenges. I am no longer brought down by depression and the perfectionism is getting much better, too. Knowing the problem, and treating it have made me whole.

Pretending that I don’t have a disorder would not help me, and not learning strategies to help myself would also not lead to the generally happy life I now have.

And that is why I believe that we should stop lying to people who feel that they were not born the correct gender. According to some studies, people who struggle with these feelings often have similar genetics, possibly making this condition a genetically-based disorder, just as autism is. Rather than tell people that this is normal thinking and then encourage them to destroy their physical bodies in hopes that it will bring psychological peace, as we are currently prone to do, I think we need to be honest with these dear ones. My understanding, from the research I have done, is that the euphoria of finally becoming the new gender that they believed they should be lasts about one month, and then the person goes back to feeling just as depressed and confused about themselves as they were at the beginning of the journey. And on top of that, they have caused great harm to their bodies.

It makes me angry to think that we are actually encouraging people to mutilate themselves and in the end, they are no better off than before they started. These are hurting people, and instead of truly helping them, we are just encouraging them to hurt themselves more.

Should there be laws stopping people from changing genders. I don’t know if that would be helpful. But we do need to stop making laws that keep people from learning truths about themselves.

We need to help people understand that they are beautiful beings with special gifts to share with the world, just as they are created. They need to know that any thoughts to the otherwise are enemies of their true self. Loving, gentle counseling and therapy to help people realize their potential as they were created is what will bring true peace, just as it does for people with autism, who feel like they are aliens in this place that most everyone else calls home.

Our brains are powerful, but we can coach them into behaving – into telling us the real truth about ourselves. With God’s help, all things are possible!

To all of you out there struggling, I love you, understand a bit of your struggle, am praying for you and believe that you will find peace in who God created you to be!

PS I realize that some people are born with true biological sex identity issues such as having both sets of organs, not having organs appear until much later in life, etc. They do have a whole different path to navigate.