Day 120. I’m Afeared

Yup.  I’m afeared, all right.  And all you cat lovers out there will know exactly what I’m talking about.  We know that, of all the animals, cats are the most misunderstood creatures.  They do angrycatlike people.  And they are affectionate.  Just on their terms, is all.  But there is one thing you never do to a cat.  Never.  Ever.  Come on, I know you know what it is.  Work with me, here.

That is correct.

You do not, I repeat, you do not mess with their litter.  This is not negotiable.  You hear me?  You do not mess with their litter.  Or their litter boxes, by the way.  They take all matters concerning their ‘toilette’ very seriously.  As I found out the hard way, not all that long ago.

My intentions were honourable.  I was walking through a very upscale shopping mall near where I live.  Amidst all the designer boutiques, there is a pet store.  Yes, a designer pet store.  You would not believe the stuff they have in there.  As you can imagine, they cater mostly to dogs.  But over the years they have added some items, for those of us who fancy felines as companions.

In the window, next to a pet-sized, ruby-hued, tufted, velvet chaise, were the most fabulous litter boxes.  They were covered (a must unless you’re crazy enough to love vacuuming).  They came in an array of fabulous colours.  And they were not in that shiny plastic that we’re used to.  Whatever they were made out of, the finish was matte and frosted.  The ‘pan’ was much deeper than usual.  And the cover swung back and forth, from front to back.  So you didn’t have to take it off, to clean the inside.  They were very futuristic looking.

My first impression was, “WOW!  Those are johns I’d love to have, if I was a cat.”  They were the TOTO of cat boxes.  As I stood there, gazing at them, I could just hear my little darlings:  “Buy them for us, Mommy.  Please, please, please.  Buy them.”   I still had three little darlings then, so I bought two.  To replace the two I already had, which were the plain, utilitarian versions available at every hardware store and every pet shop.

Absolutely nothing wrong with them.  They’d served me very well for many years, and several cats.  They’re just not in this league.

I couldn’t wait to get home.  Cats are curious, so you can imagine the flurry of activity when I opened the door and they saw my arms were full.  I took the covers off and turned them over, so they couldn’t climb in and use them before they were filled with litter.  I had decided I’d dispose of the old ones first.  Finally we were ready for a test drive, as it were.

At first they all just stood there.  They stared at each other with quizzical expressions on their little faces.  As if to say, “What the hell are these?”  Then they looked at me.  And not with the expressions of glee and gratitude I had imagined.  But I hadn’t fully twigged to the severity of the situation yet.  I know that cats don’t particularly care for change, but I was sure they’d be happy as clams shortly.  Who wouldn’t be, after all?

They just needed a bit of time.  Then they sniffed, pawed, walked around them, climbed in, climbed out, climbed on top.  And then left.  Without so much as a backward glance.

Not the most auspicious beginning.  But I went on, about my business.  Oblivious to the conspiring that was going on, in the other room.  Or the punishment they had in store for me.  Over the course of the next twenty-four hours, I was taught a lesson I will never forget:  I woke up to find a turd at the foot of my bed.  I was greeted by another one, strategically placed right in front of my toilet.  Another rested beside a food dish.  Theirs, thankfully, not mine.

A combination of allergies and bad sinuses have taken their toll on my sense of smell, but when I came back home after several hours away, there was no mistaking it.  Sniff.  Sniff.  Sniff, sniff.  You got it.  Urine.  With trepidation I walked around examining the floors, the sinks and the furniture.  Also my bed, which had been so pointedly targeted the night before.

Way too predictable.  Cats are clever, lest we forget.  They’d never be that obvious.  They wouldn’t repeat themselves.  About an hour later, while I was down on all fours in my bedroom closet, I found a pair of slippers and boots that were suspiciously wet.  And it was only when I backed out of there, still on my knees, that I saw the baskets.  Four in all.  One for their toys and three lined in sheepskin.  One for each of my ‘treasures’ to curl up in.

Well, they wouldn’t be doing that anymore.  Nor would they ever be playing with those toys again.

“Okay”, I said, holding back tears.  “I surrender.  Nothing fancy.  I get it”.  Obviously, the store wouldn’t take back the Neiman Marcus version of litter boxes.  I asked around, but my friends were all afraid to tempt fate.  My vet didn’t want them.  I put a notice up on the bulletin board in the building where I live, to no avail.  I would have given them away for free, just to avoid throwing them away.  But in the end, the dumpster was where they ended up.  Just before I ran back to the hardware store to pick up the plain, plastic litter boxes we’ve all been using for ages.

So what has me all a quiver?

We’ve been using the same litter since I adopted these kitties, many moons ago.  Everyone’s very happy with it.  Very happy.  I found out yesterday that it’s no longer available in Canada.  Nowhere.  I called every store that’s ever sold it.  Got the same answer.

I am thinking I need to wrap everything in plastic wrap, just in case.  Everything.  Take everything off the floor, that’s on the floor.  Stock up on rubber gloves and garbage bags.  Put my shoes in plastic boxes, on the balcony.  Maybe even move out there, myself.  Thinking ahead, and strategically for once, I am also trying to introduce them to the new litter gradually.  Thank God I still have some of the old litter left.  So I will mix the two together, for a couple of days, and gradually move to just the new one.  Yeah, right.

Who am I kidding?  Let’s face it, folks. I am screwed.  I am SO screwed!

245 thoughts on “Day 120. I’m Afeared

  1. When I get a cat someday, I will remind myself of your story! Haha, I loved it. They say good storytellers are ones who lie, but I think the best storytellers are the ones who are honest and who write from experience. ;) Thanks for sharing, and congrats on Freshly Pressed!

  2. You have a million and four comments here so forgive me if someone has already said it but if you mix some of the new litter in with the old litter and gradually increase the amount of new litter you may have less transition issues. May. No guarantees. I have four cats, two are sweet but if I ever die in the house and am not found for several days the other two will eat me.

    • You’re forgiven. No one’s said it before. But that’s what I’m doing. So far so good. Thank you. And thanks for taking the time to comment.

  3. There is a guy living in our neighborhood, his name is Aras Orhon (We call him “Aras der Kinderschänder” because he is really weird and all kids are scared of him.) wo just HATES cats. You’d wonder how people can hate cats and everthing and everyone who has something to do with cats. That guy is just disgusting.

  4. Such a great post! I have a cat also. She was a rescue and I love her pieces. When I introduced her to a new, bigger, better litterbox I kept the old one right next to it until she started using the new one. And I kept the old one there with less and less litter in it until I eventually removed it. I’m sad that you tossed your Designer ones away already ’cause I would have given you that advise to try.
    Best of luck with the new litter!!!

  5. Familiarity is the key word…What they know, like, enjoy; you don’t mess with; even urinating in one place by the side door in the kitchen. Yup–Clorax is my friend and urinating is the game. Long story; love the cat and have to deal with it.

      • You know it…I’m not a hoarder but we have eight cats and two dogs…That’s what one gets when one is not a breeder of the human species.

      • 7 littler boxes in their own suite; laundry room with pet door access. I adore all of them…Off to take the dogs on their morning adventure. Time, time is on my side.

      • Lucky kitties!! And doggies. They get to go for a nice walk with mommy. My vet rescues cats. There are always babies in there. I buy my food there and it is SO hard to leave without talking one or two. Impossible to resist. Do yours all fight over you? Sometimes mine do.

      • We have a variation of the theme…Needy, I love you, feed me and I be gone, I adore you. Everyone of them picks their time and lets us know what is needed. I am so amazed that they talk and I understand, I act upon their needs. Open the door, I want a treat, open the closet door–whatever is needed, we are under their spell and I like it. Dogs are controlled by the cats and that is fine by all. All animals in our home are rescue. I feel they have rescued me.

      • Mine are all rescue, too. And they sure do make life interesting. And fun. Wouldn’t want to be without them.

  6. As Bill Clinton once said, :”Ah Feel your pain.” We have 5 cats and three litter boxes. One is the size and is actually a child’s swimming pool. We have resigned ourselves to the fact that THEY rule the house and we are in fact the pets. But you’re right….no changes. So far….I don’t need to have a litter box in front of my computer….YET!

  7. Excellent, my cat was quite used to travelling, sitting in the car, visiting other houses etc, so of course it would be no problem for my parents to look after him for a few days when we went away. On his very first night, he’d been asleep on their bed all day, but when my mum went to bed she found a nice little present on it, even though the cat had been out most of the evening. She only found it as she was getting into bed.

    They’ve been fairly reluctant to look after him since.

    • My first cat was like that. He loved being in the car. As long as he was with me, he was happy. My parents used to take care of him all the time. He was as at home at their house as he was at mine. Much more dog-like than most cats. Not these, though. Maybe your folks will give yours another chance :)

  8. Enjoyed your post. My kitty is sleeping right next to me in his warm cuddly bed as I write this. I feel your pain. Haha! Except my kitty witty is a very old man. He’s 19. I’m having other issues with him dropping “gifts” and I’m soooo tired of it. But, he’s old and I keep thinking I won’t have him for much longer. If you’re kitties are young, I would teach them to use the toilet!

  9. This post is so true that it isn’t funny. I have three cats and they are all really good about using the litter box when it is nice and clean. One day last week, I was in a rush and in my efforts to get out the door asap, I did a half-hearted job cleaning the box….came home to a nice present on my shower mat and in a towel that had fallen off the hook. They certainly know how to let you know they are not happy with your housekeeping. Good luck with the litter!

    • Don’t they though? I am just amazed at how many folks have been commenting about similar experiences. I’m beginning to wonder if they all text each other ideas on how to drive their humans insane :). Wouldn’t surprise ne. I guess if I see kittylitter@kmail.com I’ll know.

  10. On days like this, whilst reading entries of this variety, I’m reminded that despite my pet monstrosity’s many, many, MANY behavioral flaws (eating human hair, love mauling at 4 in the morning, attacking all body parts, tearing up all of my furniture), I am exceptionally lucky in that he’s not a vengeful bastard. I’ve switched litter boxes and litter types numerous times, and he just rolls with it every time. Even when he marked (prior to getting neutered), he only marked the bathtub! I am the luckiest cat slave alive. Good luck with the litter switch!

    • Thanks. For now I’m mixing old and new. That’s going fine. I’ll be lighting candles when I run out of old. Soon, I’m afraid. Yikes!!

      • Is it a particular type of litter – clay, crystal, pine, that sort of thing? If so, you could try switching between different brands of the same type. My mom switched two hugely annoying and high maintenance cats from pine pellets to shredded pine and they did just fine – same smell, I guess. Hang in there!

      • They are both clumping. The first one was very light and airy. This one looks and feels more like clay. It’s heavier. Time will tell. Say a little prayer for me from time to time.

    • I was very lucky. It wasn’t there very long, so it didn’t get a chance to really soak through. Also, they didn’t pee on the floor, or on carpet. It was in their baskets, and in a pair of my slippers and a pair of boots. So I threw all that stuff out as soon as I found out where the smells were coming from. And even though the floor under that stuff wasn’t wet, I scoured it. While the 3 cretins sat there, in a row, watching me like they were watching Saturday Night Live on TV. I know they were cracking up. I’ve got to admit when I saw them like that, I laughed myself. They are just so flipping human!!

  11. oh yes my cat Newman hated when I put in this litter made of pine in his box. He crapped next to the box!!! And meeeooowed all night long! Plus he hates any left over poop he needs it scooped daily!

  12. I have a short legged caramel colored tyrant. I call her my dachshund cat anyway whenever I clean her box she gives me exactly 2 minutes! If it takes longer than that I can count on finding a well placed “present” usually on the carpet. She’s very definite about it. It’s always right in the middle of the room, nothing hidden or subtle about her. Pyewacket likes her box clean, but wants it done immediately.

  13. Oh gosh, this brought me a huge smile! As you can imagine, my cats are exactly the same way. When we only had one, she was our first kitten to own as a newly engaged couple, I quickly came to regret getting her started on the normal cat litter. My dad told me to start her on the big chunky litter, because it isn’t such a nightmare to clean up….I didn’t listen. So, I got tired of sweeping up her litter all the time, so I bought her new litter. I didn’t think anything of it. We put it in there, went to the lake, and came back around midnight…to a nice surprise. She had filled our bath tub with urine and poop….I went to wal-mart right at that moment and bought her her old litter…I’m still trying to change her…and I would love to have one of the litter boxes with a lid, but I’m not sure she would go for that either.

  14. Soooo funny! Good luck – I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes. Especially if the cats decide to take revenge on the footwear again! In all seriousness though, cats are smart – they’ll understand that this change is out of necessity.

    • Thanks. I have been explaining to them that we have no choice in the matter. The litter situation is completely beyond my control; and theirs. And I am counting on them to suck it up with grace. We talk about it everyday. With luck they will find it in their little fiendish, feline hearts to work with me.

  15. Pingback: Thank You!! « My Teen Writing

  16. Lol. I know it’s no laughing matter, but I laugh out of shared experiences. I’ve been through the same thing trying to upgrade boxes and/or litter. Cats may not be able to speak human but they d*mn well know how to get their point across. :P

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