dot dot dot


Anyway, that’s what I want to name the kitten

. . .

dot dot dot is 점점점 (jeom jeom jeom) in Korean, though my co-teacher always says mo mo mo (whatever that means) whenever she’s translating.

So far, only had one submission for the kitten-naming contest at my school, and that was for Nabi, (butterfly) which is the name of practically EVERY CAT IN KOREA. I think I won’t choose it, but will buy the girl pat binsu anyway.  (during oral exams today, this girl was so nervous about her test she broke out in tears!  I told her I could call her later if she needed more time, but she fought through it and delivered a perfect movie recommendation, synopsis, and was able to engage in real dialogue when I asked for details)

Wednesday I stopped by the local animal hospital to see about boarding her for 3 days, since my work is forcing me to attend an orientation in a week.  The vet told me that because she is so young and hasn’t had her vaccinations, that it might put her at risk of catching something from the other animals there.  So, I’m probably going to have to drag her across Seoul to stay with friends.

I stopped by the vet today to purchase a cat toy on a stick, and said vet made me sit and have coffee with him.  He seemed nice, and looked a lot like the unemployed democracy movement dissident ajosshi I had dated not long after I started working with TRACK.

On the previous visit, I had started to fill out paperwork, but had to leave the kitten’s name blank, so this time I asked him what he thought about 점점점 and he wasn’t very impressed and failed to see how clever I thought it was.  He suggested (like everyone else does) “Why don’t you name her Nabi?”  I told him that EVERY CAT IN KOREA is named Nabi, did he have any other suggestions? “How about Angelina Jolie?”  How ’bout you shoot me?  “Kim YuNa?”  Please  “Ban Ki Moon?”  But she’s a girl! And then he rattled off a whole list of Korean actresses.  To which I am smacking myself in the head – so Korean…All the points he had in his favor for being able to speak English started disappearing about this time…Anyway, he managed to wheedle out my age and profession and tell me his age and gush about how good teachers have it while he has to work from 9am-9pm and is on call and doesn’t have a life.   “Well, I have to go make dinner and feed my kitten,” I said, as I beat a hasty retreat.  Poor guy.

It’s been a really vexing last few weeks, let me tell you.  First there’s the French guy who’s all about me and we have one of those movie-like encounters and as we get really close really fast it turns out he’s all about adoptees because he has adoptee friends in France and he’s fascinated with the contradiction of us here in Korea, and then he starts seeking counsel from me about his Korean girlfriend…shouldn’t he have mentioned her before he kissed me?  Note to myself – just stop.  The only thing that’s real is people already in your life, in your circle, that you can know.  All else is artifice, dysfunction and games.

And then there’s the unreliable adoptee I’ve been conversing with for months who calls an hour and a half later than he says he will and as a result I end up missing the last train home and have to stay up all night by myself in Seoul because I can’t pay for a hotel room and am told the following day that he’d got caught up hanging out with KAD’s, “you know how it is.”  Umm, no, I don’t.  I never FORGET about meetings I make with people.  And letting running around with KAD’s on spring break over-rule being considerate is not something I want to know.  Then he wants to take me out to dinner to make up for it, only instead of meeting me someplace to eat, I have to go to where he is, and surprise:  he’s with a gaggle of adoptees.  And when the group finally disperses we go to eat, only surprise!  This is no special dinner to make up for a lost evening of intimate conversation to resume our months of talking.  No.  We are going to eat with another adoptee.  And they’re both grooving on talking about adoption the whole time.  Suffice it to say, I was a real bitch that evening.  But can anyone blame me?

Then there is the passive co-teacher not only not supporting me with classroom management, but instead undermining my authority ON PURPOSE to secure some favor with this gang of girls who subvert every class through blatant insubordination, and then when I asked her for help, this teacher gives me a snotty refusal IN FRONT OF THE ENTIRE CLASS…besides that, I find out the good co-teacher will probably be leaving next year, so if I have to stay in Korea one more year, which I very well might have to ’cause it just makes financial sense, then there’s a good chance I’d end up with the passive co-teacher as my new handler/new HEAD of the English program.  Ugh. So maybe I have to look for another job again this winter.  Looking for work on two continents makes me tired just thinking about it.

Plus, little miss feral kitty has been a handful.  She’s got WAAY more energy than I ever imagined she could, and I can’t pet her without her turning my hands into toys to attack.  Granted, they are love bites, but it’s a drag I can’t reach out for her or pick her up or hold her or pet her without being held and gnawed on, and if she were to ever actually be grumpy, it could be really bad when she’s older.  It’s taken me a week to figure out how to diffuse this.  I just quit trying to pet her unless she was already tuckered out, and I dispensed with the store-bought toys and gave her lightweight small things she could bat around, and bought one of those feathers on a pole things.  If she tries to bite me I let out a loud scream and pull violently away.  I think she’s starting to get it.

I ride my bike home in the blistering sun every day after gulping down lunch to feed her, stay about fifteen minutes and then ride back to school.  You’d think the extra calorie burning would be slimming, but it only makes me sweaty and tan.   Two more months of this before I can leave her a full work day between meals.

I noticed she stopped rooting around and thought she was over her nursing needs, but now when I go to sleep she finds my EARLOBE and sucks it raw.  It’s like she’s a vampire or something.  There’s no way to dissuade her once she’s fixated on my earlobe.  I really enjoy having her sleeping next to me, so I guess I have to decide whether to shut her out of my room or wear myself out knocking her away or wear a hat to bed or just put up with it for the rest of her life…

She’s had perfect litter box skills from the second I brought her home, but today she peed on my comforter, and it’s in the wash right now.  So not cool.  I think this is the first time I’ve ever had a cat do this, piss in their own bed. Maybe she’s mad because I won’t let her attack my hands anymore, I don’t know…My last feral kitten was such a mellow purring appreciative dainty ball of joy, but this one is like the bad co-teacher’s remedial students – a little animal, totally self-absorbed and undisciplined.  I have my work cut out for me, that’s for sure.  Note to myself/note to you – adopting a cat that’s been around its mom or other cats is soooo much easier.

But then there are those times when she is sprawled out and my finger is giving her a between the shoulder blade massage, (she’s so small, the only way to gently pet her is with one finger) and she’s purring and in total bliss that it’s all worth it.  Good thing, because we’re stuck with each other now!  To be continued . . .

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6 thoughts on “dot dot dot

  1. Sorry she is so high maintenance. I meant to write to you about this the other day. My experience is that kittens growing up by themselves don’t learn what they should bite and what not, whereas if they’re in a litter, their brothers and sisters bite back and they figure it out. As a result, just as you say, hands are the greatest toy in the world to a single kitten unless he/she is taught otherwise. Remember our evil biting cat Chidi from Seattle? Jack and I have learned a lot since then. We do what you are proposing–absolutely don’t pet if they are in play mode. Difficult if you are in cuddle mode and she’s not, but those are the rules, unfortunately. Jack also patented the actual HISS every time a kitten tries to bite, which works really well. But it is definitely work.

    Stinks to be stuck with her. I know how it is.

  2. Ahh, you and Jack are like cat whisperers!

    Well, she was in a litter – but it didn’t have any adult supervision. That first photo I posed from the pound – it must have been the one that died, because it’s markings and ears are different from the one I have. Her male siblings are gold and white tabbies.

    I used to hiss too if a cat had done something BAD. Never did like yelling the word “NO” at beast or child. But she had such joy and love on her face as she’s chomping down on me, that I started out by just showing that she was hurting me. At first it was only when it was painful, but then I changed to every time. And then I think when I went on strike and refused to be the human toy is about the time she started peeing. And also, her going at my earlobes also began about the same time, so I can’t figure out if or which of these things could possibly be the upset. This morning, she did it again on my mattress. UGH. I’m not sure if my washing machine can handle my mattress. So I just realized I need to find some way to do something positive with her that does not involve sacrificing my fingers…

    The weird thing about this peeing is that it happens while I am IN the bed sleeping WITH HER. I go to sleep with her and it’s fine and wake up to that unpleasant odor, and she is lying right next to me.

    What do you think?

    But for now I’m going to neglect her for half a day while I run off to Seoul to buy enzymes and repellent…and Borax. Where/how the hell do I find Borax in Korea ???

  3. mo mo mo is like “bla bla bla” — 뭐뭐뭐. although it’s not used so much in the negative context that sometimes “bla bla bla” can be used.

    뭐?! = what?!
    뭐라고? = what?
    뭐라고요? = what? (formal)
    뭐라고하셨어요? = what did you say? (more formal)

    점 has different meanings, but all of the different meanings basically mean “dot.”

    dot
    period
    mole
    spec

    i’m sorry 점점점 uses you as a chew toy… but you know how much i cracked up while reading this one, right?

  4. It cracked me up writing, it too!

    Hmm…I wonder what’s better, 점점점 or 뭐뭐뭐?

    After a couple days doing research and at my wit’s end, I finally found a couple solutions that might work:

    I am going to make her a “catsifier.” There is a manufacturer of a furry pillow with teets, specifically designed for kittens with this problem. They are currently sold out and taking orders, but I can’t wait that long. The nipples on the baby-feeding bottle I got are too hard, so I’m going to look for another brand and modify a stuffed animal from somewhere. The other good suggestion I found was to put antiseptic on my ear-lobes, because the kitten won’t like the scent. Anyway, that will take a couple days to pull all that together, so I’ll just have to suffer until I can introduce her to that mommy substitute pillow.

    I also read somewhere that some cats prefer to do solids in one pan and liquids in another pan, and that I should have two litter pans. So i’ll try that as well, which really sucks as I don’t want to live with a litter box in my living room, but I guess it’s better than her peeing in my bed. In the meantime, I am going to retire the comforter and mattress and just sleep with one mattress pad on the hard floor. Another theory is that cats like the absorbency of comforters and prefer it to the litter box. (she used the box fine for a week!)

    Stress is a factor, but aside from playing with her more with cat toys and pulling my hand away from love bites, I can’t think of anything unduly stressful. If anything, the ear nursing should have a calming effect…But definitely want that to end – one cat owner had a 15 year old cat that still did that. It’s not so bad once she is settled, but it’s really loud prior to getting settled, and any movement on my part or her part means they she has to re-settle all over again. We’re talking a half a dozen times during the 5 hours I tried to sleep last night. Why she would leave that and immediately pee by my leg is beyond me.

    All this is crazy! Ten times harder than any other cat I’ve had to deal with!

  5. Agreed. Sounds like you have quite a character on your hands.

    Re: peeing in bed. We had a foster kitten who would wait all day until we came home from work, then immediately drop a load under the couch or somewhere miles from the litter box. It was obvious that it was her response to seeing us. Not necessarily that she was angry that we’d been gone all day; I don’t think it was that logical, I think she just had something miswired. In that case I finally learned to come home from work, immediately scoop her up and lock her in the bathroom until she went in the litter box. But anyway, I think you would be fine to keep your kitty in the kitchen for months if you want. Oftentimes kittens don’t do well in a big space.

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