The Vine: October 1, 2009
I have a cat question. I've read through most of the Vine archives and haven't found this one, so maybe it's new. Here's the deal: My husband and I have four cats. One of them is all aloof and princessy, doesn't like to interact with the others, which is fine.
The other three are: Pip, a bratty teenaged kitten (not quite a year); Lucky, a big pushy old customer; Simone: a fat, cross-eyed earth mother type. Pip and Lucky and Simone all get along really well (Simone actually nursed Pip when we got him, even though she'd been spayed and he wasn't her kitten — I know, crazy).
Anyway, the three musketeers generally groom each other and snuggle sleepily together and are all lovey-dovey, except when Pip the teenager decides he needs a playmate and tackles Lucky or Simone. (All three of them weigh about the same amount — Pip may still be the smallest.) Then there's lots of thumping and rolling around and yelling from Lucky or Simone, whoever his current victim is.
My husband gets upset and tries to break up these fights, since it's pretty obvious most of the time that Pip is the instigator and the other two just want to sleep and eat and groom. I say that since no one is getting bitten or scratched (the occasional scab, but keeping Pip's claws trimmed seems to do the job), that it's nothing to worry about and Pip is probably trying to claw his way to the top of the pecking order as he gets older. (Uh — sorry about the animal metaphor overload in that last part.)
I also think it's pointless to try to stop them fighting, since Pip can and will do whatever the hell he wants when we're not home. I'm also of the opinion that should Simone or Lucky actually get tired of playing with Pip, they would just sock him one or bite him for real and then he'd leave them alone. Can you weigh in?
The Dyson Animal is not as great as the Amazon reviews would have you believe
I don't think there's any harm in trying to stop the fighting — keeping a squirt gun handy and spritzing Pip with it if he's annoying the others, or whatever other technique works for you — but if neither of the other cats is overmatched, or sustaining any "real" injuries on a regular basis, I wouldn't worry about it.Keep an eye on them, sure, and break up scuffles when you can, but is it something you have to ride herd on every second?No.
In my experience, the issue of their fighting when you're not home often isn't an issue at all.Based on reports from various friends and cat-sitters, my cats don't fight if I'm not there to witness it — it's a pecking-order issue — and if you don't come home to battle scars, it's probably not something you need to invest much time in preventing.
If one of them turns up with anything more than a scratch, or starts using the carpet as an anxiety toilet, start separating them and call your vet for behavioral advice, but for now, you can let them work things out on their own.
Completely minor grammar question that has been nagging the hell out of me for years.I don't even know what to call it; I could try but it would sound stupid.
It's "hold on to something," not "hold onto something," yes?Because the verb phrase is "hold on," and because "onto" specifically means "on top of" (or so I've decided?).
Does that rule hold out for the similar verb phrases like "bump in to," "butt in to," "give in to," et cetera?Because sometimes that shit looks wrong, I dunno.Then there's the ones like, "I ran into the house," where it is "into" because you are going directionally in, and it's all very confusing for me.
What say ye, maven?
Pedantry for me!
The first definition of "onto" is "to a position on" (…sorry to state the obvious there), so, in the case of "hold on to" or "hold onto," I'd say it's a distinction without a difference.I wouldn't correct it in a document I proofread, anyway.
I can't say definitively whether that's correct, but it probably holds true for the other compound prepositions you mention.The words have evolved, the same way "baseball" no longer has a hyphen in it (or, more recently, Sports Illustrated's rendering of outfield positions as all one word, a la "leftfield," which I don't like the look of but which, based on the word "outfield," probably do make sense).
If the readers want to furnish citations to dispute this, they're welcome to, but I don't think there's one rule to rule them all.You have to look at the particular verb phrase and decide for yourself if the integrity of the verb "to hold (on)," and the sense of that discrete phrase, is what you want to stress, versus using the compound preposition "onto" and the very slight shading in meaning that that might imply.
It isn't the kind of thing people tend to take you out of the hiring queue for, though, so I wouldn't overthink it too much.
Hi, Sars –
I really appreciate the advice that you and your readers give people on The Vine. I've wanted to take advantage of one of your recurring themes — "Get thee to therapy" — but the problem is I don't know how to do so successfully.
I moved last summer after seeing Dr. A for over a year. I really liked Dr A — if she hadn't been my doctor, I think we could have been good friends. But, to be honest, it was pretty easy to get her off topic, or avoid the things I didn't really want to address. It was nice to talk to someone, but didn't really help me get to the root of my problems.
When I moved, I wanted to find someone who would I could like, but more importantly, who wouldn't let me avoid issues, who would make me address the complicated web of bad stuff that is my life, and hopefully find a way to not be the unhappy, overwhelmed person I am.
I've been to see four different people, and talked to three others on the phone. The ones I saw I stuck with for varying lengths of time — from four weeks to five months — but none of them were helpful. I didn't want to just give up — I know it takes time to establish a rapport, explain the background of what I'm going through, establish trust — but when I consistently walked out feeling less hopeful, less wanting to go on, and wanting to engage in some of the troubling behaviors that led me to seek help in the first place — I wonder if this is really what I need.
Or am I just not finding the right person to talk with? Was the counselor who told me that there really isn't anything that can help me right? Or the one who said I should get a hobby? (I love to knit, but it really isn't enough to base a life on. Maybe I should try online poker?) Most of the time I feel like the hour would have been better spent with the cat — at least she makes feel loved and like there is some hope in my world when she sits in my arms purring.
I have a list of people I can see from my insurance company, but how do I know if they're any good, or if they'll just send me to the hobby shop again? I don't really want to talk about this with the people I work with, and they're pretty much the only people I know around here.
I guess what I'm hoping you and the Tomatolings can help me with — along with all the other people out there who might not know how to find help — is how do you find the right person to work with? How do you know when it is the right time give up on a counselor and move on to someone else? How do you know if you're beyond help and might as well just give up? How do you hang on to hope when it seems like there is none? I know I need to get counseling, but for now I'm just…
Looking for help in all the wrong places
If you do have insurance, your HMO should have a number you can call to get a more individualized recommendation.One size doesn't fit all with therapy; not everyone benefits from a strict Freudian approach, or from a formal relationship with the therapist versus a casual one.
You can also browse around on WebMD or Healthline or a similar site to see what symptoms you have, and what people tend to think is the best type of therapy for those symptoms, whether you should think about pairing therapy with medication for a while, and so on.
It's also possible that you've quit each of these therapists right when your resistance grew strongest.Resistance is a part of therapy, and your counselor should address it explicitly with you — and you with him, when you begin to feel like the therapeutic relationship isn't working — and if that's what's going on, the problem isn't the therapist.The problem is that the therapy is getting you close to something that you have historically repressed or avoided dealing with.That's just part of it, staying the course when therapy feels boring or painful or you leave the sessions all puffy from crying — and some people have very strong resistance that takes longer than a few months to push past.
You didn't say whether you brought this up in so many words to your therapists of the recent past, and I don't want you to think I'm blaming you for the therapy not working; like I said, this is just part of it.Something in your subconscious doesn't want it to work; that's totally normal.But if you've tried a bunch of different doctors, a bunch of different types of therapy, and you find yourself wanting to quit after a certain period, and the only common element is…you, wanting to quit?You may just have to resolve to stick with the next one, and speak more forthrightly about the issues you have with the therapy itself as they come up.Not if you really don't click with the therapist, obviously, but therapy is work and it does take time.
So, do some research; ask some questions about what kind of therapy would work best for your situation.Once you think you've got a good fit, remember that good counselors are supposed to recognize resistance and work with you to get past it — they can't make you go to your sessions, but if you mention that you don't want to come in, you feel it's a waste of time, you just want to go get drunk afterwards (or whatever your triggered behavior is), they're trained to refocus you on what's going on underneath.
It's frustrating to have to start all over with a new counselor, draw your family tree, blah blah; it's frustrating to feel like you don't connect with your mental-wellness professional, and some of it is like dating, where you have to go on a bunch of dates and thin the herd.But some of it is realizing that a part of your mind does not want this problem cleared up, and forging ahead anyway.
Tags: cats grammar health and beauty