So, Hastur, our middle cat, has her struggles -- overweight, painfully shy around strangers, overgrooms to the point where her belly is completely bare of fur. And from time to time we try things that might help: changing to non-hyper-allergenic catfood, plugging in relax-a-cat air pheromones, and most recently buying her a thundershirt.
While this sounds like a superhero costume, it's actually a snug sort of cat-straightjacket you velcro in place, the idea being that it acts like swaddling a papoose: the tight wrapping relaxes the cat. The name actually comes from being something a pet wd wear during thunder. I suppose going-to-the-vet-shirt and oh-god-strangers-are-in-my-house-shirt didn't make it through the market research testing.
In any case, a week or so ago we got one for Hastur, and have tried it out once a day or so since. Yesterday I returned it to the pet store, admitting failure. I suppose it was a bad sign when, in the instructions, it said not to be alarmed if you cat falls over a lot after you put the thundershirt on. But more to the point is the fact that Hastur hates it: she clearly gets far more worked up about the shirt than the general anxiety that it's supposed to redress. In the end she was running and hiding when she heard the sound of velcro, and Janice was feeling too guilty to put it on her anymore.
And so endeth another experiment. We may just have to accept the fact that Hastur's got obsessive/compulsive problems, but so long as she's functional we shdn't intervene too much (the losing weight part, of course, in another matter, so we still need to work on that).
In any case, preserved for posterity are three pictures of her in costume. Enjoy! --John R.
reading Le Guin
3 days ago