Friday, October 20, 2017


For over a decade, Grey and I have struggled with early morning wake-up calls from Jaxson. He's always been glorified food whore, requiring constant supervision when any meal or snack is out, but the wake-up yowling has been a different level of torture. We've tried ignoring him, locking him up, have positioned squirt bottles, constructed shake cans and even in moments of pure desperation have resorted to launching pillows in his general direction. We've also had him evaluated by vets (all of whom have assured me he is in good health after spending a small fortune on blood work), books and the web.

Nothing has resolved the situation.

Thursday I hit the end of my rope. I haven't been sleeping well to begin with, but a 4 am wake-up call where he decided to wake-up the Beats in order to get breakfast put both me and Grey over the edge. After taking the morning to calm, I decided to do a last-ditch internet search, using a different combinations of words ("yowling" being the key). Which is when this article appeared. And after reading it, with it making sense given the behavior pattern, I formulated a last effort plan of instituting second dinner for Jaxson and Daisy just before Grey and I went to bed.

This morning, I woke with a start realizing that despite it being 6 am, the house was quiet. 10 minutes later, with two Beats wide awake and ready to begin their morning routine, I found two drowsy cats who were stretching themselves awake and slowly making their way to the kitchen for breakfast.

I've been thinking about this sudden change in cat behavior all morning as I've been confirming appointments for follow-ups for She-Beat. Specifically there's been a request to bring in a speech and language specialist to observe her as it's now suspected that the root of her difficulties is due to her ears. That what we're seeing from her is actual a struggle to communicate, initiated due to her limited ability to hear. Something so simple and yet the effects are insanely profound and it's this idea of a cascade, like ripples in a pond following a single event, that's been giving me a lot to think about.

This isn't the first time I've encountered dramatic shift in directions and paths solely due to identifying a minor detail most wouldn't consider. With infertility, though the root cause was never formally identified, I found myself on a different road following the addition of a blood thinner. When I was younger, it was the decision to brave being alone in the world and failing at my chosen career path that allowed me to pack a van and relocate West. More recently it's been this active decision to sit back and wait for the pieces in motion to move around, hoping they will fall into place. All of these seemingly minor, trivial events or actions that to outsiders should not have any impact.

The ripple effect isn't a new concept. Within biology, we talk about buffering for such effects through redundancy and robustness, but the reality is that sometimes a seemingly stable system can collapse upon instead simply by eliminating a certain component. Any though this collapse can seem destructive, this change can also identify something that is crucial. A keystone required both to heal and rebuild.

Grey is a bit more pragmatic than me, usually the more data is required before he'll declare anything is resolved. Even this morning, when he too was surprised to find the house unusually quiet, he's skeptical that we've found the core issue of the hell from the past decade (though he is quick to let both cats know that he's always been for second dinner, putting the blame squarely on me). So the experiment will continue, just as we'll continue with assessments and working to lay down foundations for the future.

Still, the thought of ripples and finding the stones that create them is one I'm focusing on. That maybe bringing about meaning change requires looking for the minor events and digging down to what rings true.


  1. Very interesting. I’m glad you seem to have found a solution to your cat issue and hopeful for She-Beat too. It does make sense that one medical issue could cause other developmental issues as they grow and learn so fast at this age. Hoping with you that it’s something fairly solvable.

  2. I believe in ripple effects, too. And, incidentally, we have a second dinner situation for our one cat, as well. One cat has horrid food allergies and so can only eat this freeze dried raw pork nugget food that you reconstitute with water after shaving with a butter knife and then we sprinkle a probiotic on it, and so he's pretty well satisfied. But the other cat has been eating a wet food that we found out is mostly fillers, but we'd ordered it from Chewy so we have gads of it...and if we don't feed him before bed he is interminable. We also figured out that a smaller first dinner (1/2 small can) followed by a full second dinner (whole small can) works better than two full dinners. I'm glad you found a solution (I have faith that you found the solution.)

    I think about ripples all the time, what led to what. It reminds me of my marble theory. I love the interconnectedness of things without being all "everything happens for a reason." It's like thinking on how one of the worst days of my life (finding out my husband at the time had been cheating voraciously for most of our marriage) brought me to the best days of my life (sharing my life with Bryce). Ripple ripple ripple. :)

    PS - I hope they figure out a solution for She-Beat. That can be so incredibly frustrating, not being able to communicate effectively.

  3. One reason why I encouraged dh to start down the path of infertility testing & treatment was that I was so very hopeful that there was some simple reason (and an equally simple fix) re: why we weren't getting pregnant. I guess it's not always that simple, but sometimes, yes, it's a ripple/domino effect. I guess one second dinner/morning without yowling does not necessarily mean the problem is solved, but this sure sounds promising -- here's wishing you many more quiet mornings to come! And as Jess said above, continued progress for She-Beat. <3

  4. That's great that you seemed to have found a solution with your kitty problem. Waking up your kids because of the yowling to eat=no bueno. I hope it continues to help and you start sleeping better! And hope the speech-language patho appointments will help!

  5. Your last sentence can be so helpful in so many situations.

    I hope this means the SilverLining household is all in for some better sleep overall.


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