full circle

. . .from an upward battle of struggles and emotions to a journey of healing, growth, and laughter. . .


how my life has changed since adopting cats

1. I haven’t ironed a single piece of clothing for work. But I do show up with cat hair on everything.
1200329The first part is definitely true. I used to iron my clothes the night before work, or if I forgot, then in the morning, even if it would make me late. Maybe, when I gained weight during The Breakup/depression, the new clothes I bought were less wrinkle-prone, but coincidentally, that was also when I adopted Clea and Oreo. The truth is out there, but I’m not sure which came first—the chicken or the egg.

As for cat hair, well, I actually try NOT to show up at work with it on my clothes, but sometimes, no matter how hard and often you use a lint brush (and I have THE BEST one), there is always a stray or four to be seen.

2. When something is on the floor, instead of picking it up, I just walk around it.
This happened the other day, which is what prompted me to make this list. Why pick it up when it will just end up on the floor again? How many times have I had to pick up the garbage strewn on my kitchen floor only to have to pick it up again because Coal loves to get in the plastic temporary garbage bag and tear it apart? Just for fun. Because he can.

3. I keep the toilet paper under the sink.
IMG_0008_400It is a common practice among cat lovers to take photos or videos of their cats unrolling or chewing up the toilet paper instead of rushing to grab the roll to salvage what’s left. (And in fact, it is an acceptable/good practice to take photos of anything bad rather than stopping the behaviour, because we love our cat photos.) In my house, Coal is the only one who has ever targeted the toilet paper. He stopped doing it when he got older in my old apartment. But when we moved into our condo five years ago, he acquired a renewed sense of TP madness. I once got creative and bought a toilet paper guard (yes, there really is such a thing. It’s apparently a baby safety item!). That worked for a good few months. Of course, my visitors were annoyed (it’s not hard to open, people), but my cats take priority. And then Coal outsmarted me and figured out how to unlock the guard. And so, now, the toilet paper is in the cupboard under the bathroom sink. Thankfully, I can reach for it from the toilet seat.

4. My tolerance for dust and cat hair is beyond high.
I used to be such a neat freak. Not Monica-crazy-OCD clean, but enough that my apartment was never full of clutter, laundry was always folded, and dishes were done as I cooked (ok, maybe a little OCD). When we moved into our brand new condo, it was such a treat because it was so sparkly clean, I had a dishwasher and insuite laundry, and I didn’t have to go outside to get to the garbage/recycling bins. And then little by little, there was always a dust monster or two even after I vacuumed, tiny particles of litter under my feet, and dried cat food on the walls. Everywhere I go, there is cat hair. Even when I cook, I’ll find a stray cat hair on my plate. HOW DID IT GET THERE?!!!! When I have people over, I have to spend a week cleaning, just for one evening. That’s why I don’t have people over very often. It’s too much freaking work! I’d rather just sit on my FURniture alone and watch TV.

5. I don’t shower on weekends because I don’t need to impress my cats.
Ok, I admit that sometimes I don’t shower on weekdays either. I frequently sleep through my alarm, so I’m usually late for work. And my hair is sooo long now that I can curl it on days I don’t shower or put it up in a messy bun and not worry about it. But weekends are the best. My cats don’t care and wouldn’t even know the difference between smelly me and non-smelly me.

6. I yell a lot more.
944946Coal and his protégé Wilbur are the naughtiest kittens you’ll meet in my house. I yell at them a lot. And sometimes, I use the wrong name. That’s when you know you have too many cats. Maybe I can attach the spray bottle to my new selfie stick…

7. I talk about cats all the time.
I have always liked cats, preferred cats, wanted cats. Dogs, not so much. I had no affinity towards them and would stay clear of them on the street. I especially hated it when they would jump on me and lick me. Yeach! But since I got my mogwoppits, my feelings towards other animals (dogs, lol) have transitioned from tolerance to love. I now stop and pet dogs, let them lick my hand, let them jump on me. The key change is a love of all animals and my advocacy against abuse and cruelty, including the “food” industry. But, back to cats. Yes, I talk about them all the time, I watch cat videos every chance I get, and I post photos every day. And if you don’t like that, you can meow off.

8. I do a lot more laundry.
When I have to. Because Coal has taken to peeing on my bed if the litter box isn’t clean enough by his standards. Recently, in one week, I had to put my bedding in the laundry three times! But while I do a lot more laundry, I don’t always fold it right away. Sometimes, I’m just too tired.

9. My camera happy trigger finger is ready at all times.
It used to be my real camera; now, it’s my smartphone. It’s always ready, I’m always ready, but sometimes, the kitties are too quick, and they move or change positions in the moment right before I take the photo. I used to print photos for albums, but now thank goodness for social media. {All photos in this post are courtesy of social media albums.}

10. I am content to be alone, as long as I have my cats next to me.
As I’ve alluded to many times before, The Breakup was the death of me. I wish I had adopted a cat right after that. But it was a year and a half before I did. I adopted Clea and Oreo, and then two months later, I sought out Coal. My life changed. I was finally healing. And in fact, I wrote about them when I first started this blog. And a year later, Wilbur came into my world (Wilbur was my foster fail).

I spent two years alone—I didn’t date, I didn’t talk to any of my old flames, I didn’t care. I realized that I was content to be alone. For the rest of my life. I didn’t need a man, and I didn’t even want one. If I was never in a relationship again, I was fine with that. I only needed myself to feel whole.

But I would die if I didn’t have my cats. ❤



#vegan for the animals, vegan for myself

One year ago today, I made one of the most important decisions I’ll ever make, to begin a lifetime journey of enlightenment.

After The Break Up, I found a new passion for animals that first started with cats. Being a cat guardian led me to volunteer with the cat rescue, which led me to tolerate dogs {lol}, which led me to love all animals. After burning out with the rescue group, I looked for different ways to be involved with my passion and love for animals. I went back to school and earned my animal welfare certificate. And then an animal welfare mini-conference opportunity presented itself, so I went.

In truth, the Animal Advocacy Camp turned out to be a big gathering of vegans and vegetarians. I felt so uncomfortable and guilty. I was afraid to tell anyone that I was a meat-eater. After the first day, after all I had heard, I knew I had to be vegetarian from that day forward. On the second day, Jo-Anne McArthur spoke. I cried. And cried. At 38, I felt so ignorant that I had no idea that dairy cows had their babies taken away from them the minute they were born. No idea. That was the moment I knew I had to be vegan.

The last 12 months has been a wonderful journey into a world I wish I had been part of my whole life. I am happier, healthier, discovering amazing new ingredients to explore with in my cooking, and relieved of the guilt of knowing the role I had previously played in the suffering of animals. Many colleagues and friends have told me it must be so hard and that they couldn’t do it. I told them if they believed in something as strongly as I believed in not killing animals, it would be easy for them to do. Their problem is that they are close-minded and ignorant, just like I was before. I had started reading Living Among Meat Eaters in which the author introduces an interesting concept. I don’t know whether it’s her own theory or if it has been tested {because I never ended up finishing the book}, but she asserts that everyone is a blocked vegetarian—for many reasons, they’re just not open to it yet.

So, the hard part wasn’t giving up meat or milk or cheese, etc. The hard part was dealing with the ignorance of others, especially friends. While it would be amazing if they all converted with me, I didn’t want to preach. I wanted to educate them, as I had been at the conference. {If you want a punch in the face, just say “Oh, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.”} If you’re going to eat meat and dairy, at least be informed about where your food comes from and what’s happening to the animals. It’s encouraged to be informed about GMO and labelling and advertising, but it’s not ok to tell people about the horrors of mama cows who are artificially forced to produce milk for 10 months out of the year, even after their baby calves no longer need to be fed {and who, as mentioned, were taken away at birth anyways}.

vegan2People—our culture, our society, our world—don’t value animals, not truly. Superficially, we care. There are animal abuse cases every day in the media {another part of my advocacy efforts}, and society cares and is appalled when the horrific acts are against companion animals. But when it comes to “food,” the horrible acts against animals are acceptable. Why? Because society places a lower value on those animals. But guess what? WE ARE ALL ANIMALS. There is NO reason why humans should be above animals. NONE. Watch Speciesism, and you’ll understand.

So many thoughts and emotions running around in my mind during this anniversary. But it all fits—for once—neatly into one little package: my love for cats, my desire to help animals, my passion to make a difference. I’m vegan for the animals. I’m vegan for myself.