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Pet Ways to Ease Stress
with Jessica Loftus, Ph.D. & Jack Murray

Penelope’s Amusing Antics to Ease her Owner’s Stress

Although I reigned as queen of my owner’s manor, I served him by easing his stress. Here are a few of my tips for improving the quality of humans’ lives.

Establish a Regular Sleep Schedule

After a night of prowling around the house as the nocturnal creature I am, Boy am I hungry! My food dish sits empty long past my breakfast time. Yet, there lies my owner still sound asleep, snoozing under the covers in his bed. Time to wake him up so that he feeds me breakfast. To get his attention, I climb on top of him and pet his face with my tail to tickle him awake. He merely mutters under his breath, pushes my tail away and scratches his nose as he rolls over away from me.

Stronger measures are needed to get his lazy bones up to feed me. So, I leap with all my might onto the headboard with a loud bang! Slowly, he stirs from his slumber. Finally, he pets me and drags himself out of bed, heading to fill my empty food dish.  He isn’t even grateful for the fact that my early awakenings keep him on a regular sleep schedule – the best way to ease stress.

 

Eat a Healthy Diet

I relish my morning meal after my owner lovingly pours my favorite cat food into my dish. Or, I should say HIS favorite cat food. It’s one of the least expensive brands, costing much less than the better ones that he can surely afford. What a cheapskate! I give him hours of feline pleasure, yet he spends as little as possible on cat food.

So, I abandon that swill and wait while my owner fixes himself a nice breakfast of cheesy scrambled eggs, turkey bacon and buttered whole grain toast. Then, I jump on the counter to watch him eat.  My mouth waters with his every bite.  When he gets up to refill his coffee, I pounce onto the kitchen table to feast on his delicacies.  After nibbling on his eggs and licking the butter off his toast, I grab a bacon strip in my mouth and run off with it.  Come on!  I’m doing him a favor.  This way he doesn’t eat too much and maintains a healthy weight – also important for easing stress.

 

Reduce Litter

After breakfast, I head to my litter box. Ha! The litter! What a joke. A mangy flea market wouldn’t have the unmitigated gall to sell it. It feels like a pile of concrete gravel.  My delicate little paws get scratched as I try to bury my waste.  So, I poop and pee in the basement. That way I don’t have to offend my sensitive nose. Seeing my droppings scattered across the basement floor, my owner doesn’t get mad because he loves me so much. Yet it never occurs to him to buy a better brand of kitty litter. Instead, he makes up a little ditty to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell” that goes like this:

A-poopin’ on the rug, a-poopin’ on the rug,

High on the stinkeo, A-poopin’ on the rug.

When he tells his daughter about the poop situation, she offers a simple solution – buy a better, more expensive brand of kitty litter. Having grown up during the Depression, he stubbornly clings to his habit of buying the nasty, bargain brand kitty litter that was on sale at his local grocery store.

Luckily for me, my owner’s daughter bought him a bag of the kitty litter that she recommended he use. It felt like heaven on my tiny little paws compared to that cheap gravelly stuff. I finally do my business in the litter pan. But when the litter ran out, he went back to using the cheap, old stuff instead of replenishing my pan with the better brand. In response, I went back to my old ways of a-poopin’ on the rug. Serves him right for being so stubborn.

Exercise Daily

Meanwhile, my favorite hobby is knocking little objects off tables, counters or shelves onto the floor to bat them around with my paws. One of my favorite objects is the gray queen chess piece on the chessboard that my owner keeps on the living room coffee table. The queen attracts me because she is gray like me and she’s the most powerful piece on the board. My owner dubs me “Queen Penelope” became of my amusing antics with that queen chess piece. Forget about those lowly pawns and rooks.

My owner keeps a bowl of plastic apples on the kitchen table. How I love to pick them up by the stem in my mouth and carry them to the edge of the table, batting them to the floor. He tries to stop me from doing this because of the risk that he would slip and fall on one of the apples. So, he turns all the apples in the bowl with the stems facing down, thinking I wouldn’t be able to pick them up that way.  Is he kidding? This is easy. All I have to do is lean on one front paw and use the other one to manipulate the apples to get the stems facing up. That way I can easily clench them between my teeth and remove them from the bowl to drop back onto the floor.

Trust me, my owner gets plenty of exercise picking up poops and objects off the floor all day.

 

Find Time to Cuddle

I also give my owner joyful stress relief – sometimes.  Mostly I ignore his calls for me, playing hard to get. Why should I be nice to him when he buys me cheap litter and cat food?  But on my good days, I deign to let him pet me and lovingly pet him back with my tail. Truth be told, he really loves watching my playful antics. He often tells his daughter tales of my latest mischiefs, especially when I have to go to the vet!

At night, my owner relaxes and watches TV before bedtime. I sit on the couch near him and we watch TV together, owner and cat. Finally, tired after a long day of tending to my antics, he goes to bed where I always curl up with him by his feet.

Serve Others

After my owner died, his daughter wrote a story, “The Queen Who Served” which is included in Chicken Soup from the Soul: Life Lessons from the Cat. Read more about my antics and how I served him during his last days.

Images are under license from Shutterstock.com

 

Penelope’s Amusing Antics to Ease her Owner’s Stress


Jessica Loftus

Jessica Loftus has worked as a licensed clinical psychologist and national certified career counselor for more than 20 years. Jack Murray, an award-winning journalist, serves as her co-author, writing coach and editor. Jessica just published a story, "The Queen Who Served" which is included in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Life Lessons from the Cat. Royalties from this book will be donated to American Humane, an organization dedicated to animal welfare.


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APA Reference
Loftus, J. (2019). Penelope’s Amusing Antics to Ease her Owner’s Stress. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 20, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/ease-stress/2019/05/penelopes-amusing-antics-to-ease-her-owners-stress/

 

Last updated: 18 May 2019
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network (blogs.psychcentral.com) prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.