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Very tough bargaining

The NHL CBA hubbub in New York got my attention this week.  They had pizza and a Tweeting podium and milkshakes… but I don’t get how anyone in the media can side with the owners.  The players gave them pizza, the NHL paraded milkshakes by and gave them none.  So the show had plot holes, but it was a very convincing performance from the whole cast, very suspenseful.  I almost believed that a 2013 NHL season would happen before October.  Watch it come undone here.

My own parallel negotiations are not going well.  There was a great deal of optimism that almost inexplicably disappeared a few days ago.  I wonder if I didn’t promise too much, saying I would take care of these young cats.  They are not cute little round kittens anymore, and they still won’t let me pick them up.  I am disappointed beyond belief.  I’m going to have to take a deep breath and try to regroup.

My dog, Darla, has noticed them.  She whines endlessly, trying to get in their room.  Once in, she stalks over to their covered bed and pokes her nose in there to sniff them.  I have to go in and drag her away.  Their reaction to my generous intervention has been shockingly silent.  I am beside myself.

I can understand cats not liking the dog– whether or not they know she wants to slobber all over them and roll them upside down.  She is a dog.  But me?  Why can’t they like me better?   I have done my best to figure out what they want, but they keep moving the goal posts.  The one will purr (after hissing and cowering) and even come out of his hiding place to have his chin rubbed.  But then he runs back out of reach and growls.  His brother won’t even purr, he just squints his eyes and holds very still while I pet him.  They won’t walk around and rub on my ankles, they don’t run out to greet me when I bring food.

They have taken over my mud room.  I can’t use it to come in out of the mud anymore.  I have to come in through the kitchen.

I keep giving and giving.  I bring them food, change their water daily, clean their litter boxes– a major concession since usually I keep barn cats, not litter box cats.  They aren’t even attractive cats.  One is really quite unsightly, with a skinny tail and scraggly half-long hair and ears too big.  I think the other has a small eye.  If only they would give me something, take a few steps in my direction, I wouldn’t mind that they are ugly.  But if all I can do is look at them, shouldn’t they be pretty?

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They won’t even let me take photos of them in good light. Do you know how hard it is to light black cats in a box?

I’ve made five separate proposals (tuna, a brother for company, mediation by the old cat, milk, protection from Darla) but clearly I’m negotiating against myself.  It is time for me to lock them out.

If only someone else would step in.  If a League Of Cat Owners would make a rule saying I didn’t have to, was in fact prohibited from making such a long commitment to particular cats.  That would fix it.  I could push for that rule, and toss the kitties out tomorrow morning.  I will still feed them but all the other extras will be off the table.  I’ll help get that rule in place and completely ignore the fact that by doing so I am breaching our agreement.  It wouldn’t be my fault, not if it was a LOCO rule.

They’re just dumb cats.  They can’t possibly understand the complexity of the situation.  Maybe I could get through to the friendlier one, if I could isolate him from that hard-liner brother, maybe then he would do what I say, show some affection and enthusiastic gratitude.

All I want is for them to go where I tell them, when I tell them, and not just go  where they want to go for as long as they want.  I’m willing to give them so much, they eat twice as much as adult cats.  How can they be so willful and greedy?

There are three things that I’ll say are important to me.  I need my mud room back.  I want to be able to pick a cat up when it’s looking especially cute.  I want them to all come running at dinner time so I can know they are okay.  I need these key elements because that is as far as I can go in light of everything else I have put on the table.

Maybe I should let the dog chase them around until they see the light.  See how they like not being able to play in my house.  It’s me or the dog, guys.  Can I pick you up now?  Yes or no.  No more discussion.

But it’s raining and cold.  I lured them into this situation with irresistible enticements.  How does a cat say no to tuna?  Clearly I didn’t think hard enough about whether I could afford to keep them in the manner I promised.  But I did promise.  If I lock them out now I would be a complete jerk.

I made these choices, I promised to give all this to these cats, it isn’t their fault they don’t like me.  It’s not their fault if they’re uglier than I thought they would be back during the free kitten frenzy.  I didn’t have to promise so much.  I couldn’t be sure anyone else would make them such an offer, and if someone did, would that have been such a disaster?  There are other cats, friendlier cats I could be doing less for and getting more from.

And then there’s the fact that they would do just fine locked out.  It is entirely possible that they could go on with their lives without me.  They could just go play somewhere else.

But litter boxes!  Fresh clean water!  Polar fleece blankies in their beds!  Shelter from the elements!  Milk!  How can they give up all that?

Oh god, Darla found one of them out in the open.  What was he doing out there?  The poor little thing was terrified.  His scrabbling around to escape got Darla all worked up, she wanted to know what was wrong, and lick his face.  This isn’t good.

Ownership is hard.  I guess I’ll put the kitten lockout on the back burner for now.  I clearly don’t have the resolve to make the tough judgment and the tough calls.

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