Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Love-Hate Affair with Petco

I love Petco. I hate Petco.

More accurately, Staff loves and hates Petco, but being the end user of its products, I bear the brunt of the consequences. Also, I have a blog and Staff doesn't. Neener neener.

I (the Godlike "I") love Petco because it's only a mile away from our apartment and open seven days a week, 10 am-9 pm, and the staff there is always super-friendly (if not as knowledgeable as Staff would like) and never give Staff a hassle.

I (the Satanic "I") hate Petco because it's located in a cul-de-sac of sorts at the strip mall, next to a bridal shop, with limited adjacent parking. And that bridal shop gets busy. And brides and their entourages spend hours, not minutes, there. So sometimes Staff has to park at the main mall and walk over or (gasp!) park illegally on the side of the building and hope not to get ticketed or (ack!) towed.

I love Petco because it has so many different brands of cat food at reasonable prices. Staff can and does get some of those foods shipped via Amazon Prime, but not everything we like is available there. There are some high-end brands Petco doesn't carry, but that's OK because I won't eat any of those. No organic grain-free hormone-free cage-free $25-per-pound artisanal cat food for me.

I hate Petco because they're often out of stock of the handful of cat foods I actually will eat, especially when they're on sale.

I love Petco because they never give Staff a hassle about returning cat food when my housemate, Scully, or I have decided, on the spur of the moment and usually after Staff buys a 24-can crate, that we'd rather not eat that particular item anymore, kthanxbye. Can't do that with Amazon without paying crazy return shipping charges. At one point this summer, we hit the "like" and "unlike" buttons practically simultaneously on four different varieties of cat food.

I hate Petco because it takes them forever to ring up returns, and other customers always show up immediately to pay for their purchases, and Staff has to apologize 3-4 times for the delays and still gets the stink-eye from them. It's bad enough when we give him the stink-eye but when other humans do it...

I love Petco because they invented Soulistic Luna Tuna, which is shredded tuna in grain-free pumpkin soup, and I actually lap up all the soup and eat all of the tuna, and it's priced at a very reasonable 89 cents per pouch. Right now, it's the one food that gets me to clean my bowl. I also will eat 80-85% of Soulistic's Sweet Salutations chicken and tuna in grain-free gravy, which makes it my #2 favorite.

I hate Petco because Soulistic Luna Tuna is impossible to get. It's an exclusive Petco brand, so you can't get it anywhere else. You can get Soulistic foods on Amazon, but only through Petco, which adds shipping charges (no Amazon Prime there). And you can get almost all of the Soulistic foods at -- but NOT Luna Tuna. The Petco store can't special order it because "the regional distributor won't do it." And whenever the store gets some, it gets no more than two boxes of eight pouches each. For me, that's a mere two-week supply. The Sweet Salutations is in stock more often, but I don't like it nearly as much. We've tried the other flavors, and I don't like them. I like my tuna straight up, not mixed with mackerel or shrimp or salmon or crab or snapper or sardine or barracuda or piranha or fishzilla or Nessie.

So thank you, Petco, for getting me hooked on one of YOUR foods and then not making enough of it. One pouch a day. That's all I want. Is that so hard?

Love Petco. Hate Petco.

Next time, I want a pre-nup.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Books I Would Read If I Could, Part 3

Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper is an inspiring memoir of Homer, a little blind black cat who came to live with the author and her two other cats in Miami Beach and ended up in New York City. Homer may have what most humans would consider to be a crippling disability for a cat, but he never got that memo. He's utterly fearless and eternally curious and quite remarkable, and Ms. Cooper has a way with words. Now in paperback and e-book format.

Homer is on Twitter as @HomerBlindCat, and we exchange tweets every so often. Well, he tweets and I make a snarky comeback and he tilts his head just so and thinks, "What the heck is that Mulder smoking, anyway?" but remains unfailingly polite. He may be blind, but he can see right through us wiseacres. He and Gwen are good people. Read the book.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Eh, It's Been A While

A long while since my last blog. Sorry about that. Things happened.

The Big Thing that happened was that I was diagnosed with a lymphosarcoma and ulcers in my stomach. So I co-opted Staff's 401(k) savings contributions and have been getting chemotherapy for nearly a year. A recent endoscopy showed that the original tumor has disappeared and the ulcers have cleared up -- but biopsies found similar cancer cells in my intestines. So the chemotherapy will continue until either (1) Staff runs out of money or (2) my weight drops to the point that I become the Cheshire Cat -- naught but a pair of gleaming golden eyes and a devilish grin.

Staff says the chemo, despite the expense ($250 per session every second Monday, $1500 for endoscopy and biopsies), has been worth it because I would've died before last Christmas without treatment. Before chemo, I was throwing up after every meal. After chemo began, the barfisodes almost stopped completely (maybe once a month). Chemo doesn't seem to cause any serious side effects in cats like it can for humans, although all my lovely whiskers fell out and have been replaced by stunted little hairs that make Scully chortle madly whenever she looks at me. The worst part of a chemo day is having to be dropped off at 7 a.m. and sit in a cage for 13 hours -- for a 15-minute session -- until Staff can pick me up after work at 8 p.m. But I get my own back -- I bitch nonstop for the 20-minute car ride home. And baby, I can wail like a banshee.

Another Thing that happened was Staff replaced the bedroom carpet -- my favorite place for barfisodes -- with some wood laminate flooring. So when I do barf there on occasion, a little Windex cleans it right up. Staff wants to do the entire apartment with this stuff. I hate it. When I hide under the bed, Staff just has to grab me by the scruff and slide me out like a furry curling stone.

Another Thing is that we've been visiting my regular vet every day. Yes, EVERY DAY. I don't like taking pills. I REALLY don't like taking pills. So Staff slides me out from under the bed every morning, sticks me in the carrier, drives me 2 miles to his vet at 7 a.m., and holds me while Dr. Cameron pries open my jaws with one hand and shoves two 5-mg pills down my gullet with the other. 7 a.m. EVERY DAY. Except Sunday, when it's 8:30 a.m. Or Chemo Days, when the animal hospital gets that pleasant chore. And even though I've become somewhat resigned to Dr. Cameron's masterful touch, I still won't let Staff do it on his own. A cat's got to keep the help in their proper place, you know.

I also acquired an opportunistic viral infection in my eyes over the summer, but antiviral eyedrops cleared that up in about six weeks and for about $600. So Dr. Cameron also puts prophylactic drops in my eyes three days a week now.

Anyway, that's how things stand now. Life is pretty much the same as long as it's not Chemo Monday or the 30-minutes from 6:45 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. I still rule Staff's lap with an iron paw, eat only a very select menu -- Fancy Feast Appetizers tuna and chicken, Fancy Feast shredded tuna fare, and Soulistic Sweet Salutations chicken and tuna -- and sleep on my fleece blankets or in two Petco shipping boxes lined with crackly kraft paper that drives me bananas because I know there are mice under there making those crackly sounds!

Catch you on the flip side, 'mkay?