Jake and Julie and me

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By Calen McKinney

Marley’s got nothing on my cats. For those of you who have seen the movie “Marley & Me” or read the book of the same name by John Grogan, you know that Marley isn’t a good dog. He chews on just about everything, doesn’t mind his owners’ reasonable requests and generally destroys everything in his path.

Sounds a lot like my two cats, Jake and Julie.

I’m not complaining, but seriously, how many times am I going to have to replace my blinds?

It seems that Jake and Julie, who are honestly both good cats deep down, just have to chew on everything they see.

They chew on — and eat — my blinds, books, paper towels, just about anything stuck to my refrigerator (including magnets), jewelry, Q-tips, a clock, my students’ exams and handouts, and most recently, the headphones to my iPod.

I’m not kidding. And, yes, they are cats.

By the way, Q-tips are not digestible.

One night recently, I was watching a movie and heard the faint sound of one of them chewing on something. Pet owners know what I’m talking about. That soft sound of their tongue and teeth moving quietly so we won’t hear. Just enough noise to wake you up — and make you worried about just what they are doing.

I had to get up and investigate. This is pretty common around my house, so I wasn’t too worried. I’m often awakened by Jake or Julie pouncing on me in the middle of the night or the sound of them leaving me a nice hairball or something else gross on the floor. Again, pet owners, you know my pain.

What I found was something I have never seen before.

Jake had knocked over my purse, riffled through it and pulled out my iPod. He was having a grand time chewing on the earphones.

I didn’t really know how to react. I mean, really, do cats do this?

I took them away from him — after I found all of the pieces to the tooth-marked earphones — and put my iPod in the bottom of my purse.

The next night, I again put the iPod at the bottom of my purse and settled into bed to watch a movie before going to sleep.

About halfway into the movie, I once again heard the faint sound of chewing.

I went into my living room and saw that Jake had, again, dug through my purse and gotten to my iPod.

But this time Julie was in on it and had selected some chewing gum to sink her teeth into. I guess she likes the taste of mandarin.

This time, Jake really had his grip on those earphones. And they were the ones that cancel outside noise, are really comfortable and cost a little bit more than I really wanted to spend.

This time, I couldn’t find all the pieces. I still haven’t.

Jake had managed to use his teeth to chew the wires in two, making the headphones completely unusable.

This time, I was really mad. Mad at him for doing it and mad at myself for not hiding them better. I should have known better.

Since I got Jake and Julie a little more than a year ago, I have had to completely change the way I live. I am constantly on the edge of discovering another mess they have made that I thought they couldn’t possible make.

I can’t leave papers around the house. I can’t leave dishes in the sink unless I want cat prints all over them. I have to raise my blinds every morning or I will come home and find them completely down. They have unmade my bed — I have pictures to prove it — and chewed on electrical cords. By the way, the bitter spray that pet stores sell to discourage this really works.

The headphones had to be replaced. Thanks go to my dad, who got me a new pair after he received a very upset phone call from me.

From now on, I have to use a purse that zips or put it in behind a closed door at night. Like I said, Marley has nothing on my cats.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Jake and Julie. There is nothing better than one of them sleeping in my lap or purring at me for attention. So, is that worth changing my life around? Absolutely.

You pet owners know what I mean.