February 4, 2011

Eeeyoo! Er! Thanks for the earwax .... I think

Our cat Larci is a bit of a menace, in particular because he likes to bite and chew people, specifically me, though on occasion he chooses to share his special affections with others.

I'm not quite sure what made him separate me from the many others that frequent our household, considering that from the start I discouraged him from seeing human beings as chew-toys by not allowing him to chew on me, and by nagging the other two household members to follow suit. But somewhere along the line, he has completely ignored all directions to the contrary and came to consider me his special chew toy.

Larci will be three years old in March and I despaired that he would ever outgrow his desire to chew on and scratch people until I discovered that he has an obsession with earwax. 

Now admittedly earwax is a subject that most of us tend NOT to discuss for obvious reasons, the main one being the "Eeyoo!" factor and additionally because it's, well, not something one really needs to talk about. One has earwax in one's ears - end of story.

Some time back Ana mentioned that she came back into her bedroom one day to discover a number of white sticks strewn across the floor. Puzzled she picked them up, wondering what they were when it dawned on her that they were the remains of cotton buds that she had used to clean her ears. Larci the cat, had chosen to eat all of the cotton off the sticks because, strange as it may seem, he loves the taste of earwax.

When Ana told me that story, I remembered a ginger cat I had many years ago that also had a penchant for cotton buds that I had used to clean my ears. Our other two cats don't appear at all interested in ear-wax, so I wondered whether there is a connection between ginger cats and the love of earwax.... but that's another story, possibly material suitable for an important PhD thesis.

But getting back to the whole business of Larci chewing on me and not being a particularly lovable cat, I decided to put my own personal supply of earwax to use. Over the last six weeks, when I have attempted to show Larci affection and he has reciprocated with his teeth and claws, I have been distracting him with a little bit of my own earwax. I know! Gross isn't it? But the weird thing is - it's working. Now whenever I approach Larci his first instinct is not "She's still got some shreds of skin left on that arm so I'll see how much of that I can rip off!" ... now it's more like "Has she got any of that delicious stuff?" and he almost always forgets to be naughty at all.

It's been quite an amazing little turnaround. In fact, he actively looks for attention from me now, though I'm under no illusion that it's because he loves me any better, it's simply because I am a source of something akin to catnip, but only better.

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