Friday, April 14, 2017

Rolling in Cat Litter

"The kitten is rolling in the litter box," Mike said this morning. "Look at him."

"Ew, gross," I said. The little guy was born under a mobile home in a trailer park. Did it feel like home for him to roll around in the dirt?

"Shouldn't we squirt him?" he said.

"And make him feel like he's not allowed in the litter box at all? I don't want to go back to him peeing in everything."

See, I should have told you the story about 'the little fucker.' Remember the mouse in the duffel bag?  I was wrong. That was cat piss, not mouse piss. I should have known it was too much volume to represent a mouse. I should have, but I didn't. A few days after the duffel bag debacle, I picked up my big work bag that had turned into a purse. What the hell? Stuff inside was wet, and sour. Everything, my phone charger, my favorite scarf, and even the Ziploc of food I keep in there. The Ziploc had been unzipped. I threw away unopened containers of tuna salad, applesauce, and peanut butter. Oh man. I had seen the kitten in there, but I thought it was funny.

Not funny.

Then two days later, he peed in the hamper, on my new favorite shirt from LL Bean, a soft pink T-shirt. I had never even worn it. Oh, I was pissed at Blitz, totally pissed. Can you give a kitten back after keeping him four months?

I thought about it.

Blitz could tell I was mad at him. Without any provocation besides me fuming and calling him 'little fucker' as I stood at the washing machine with the pre-wash stuff and my new pissy shirt. I wasn't sure this smell was going to come out. He started running away any time anyone walked toward him. He seemed more feral than he'd been a month after we brought him home. A gentle friend of mine said I needed to make sure Seth wasn't keeping him out of the litter box. We have more than one litter box, but did the little guy think to go to his own box downstairs when Seth was crabby about his litter box upstairs? My friend is brilliant. I went out, bought a hamper with a lid, and implemented my new plan.

I decided to keep the litter boxes seriously clean. I would clean them every day instead of every second or third day. If they were clean, I thought, would anybody care who was peeing where? I set an alarm on my phone to go off at the same time every day to get into the habit.

And it worked like a charm. Seth was so happy. I could tell by the way he hovered whenever I sat down on the footstool to do my dirty work and went in to mess it up after I was done. After I had washed the hell out of my new favorite shirt two more times, we were in a groove. No more  accidents. Feral cat settling down. I had been able to see how Seth hounded Blitz over food and lap time and I managed to let Blitz know he wasn't supposed to hide in the house like a feral kitty. I promised him we'd get through all of the bumps together. He wasn't going back.

And he was so happy. He went back to playing on his back on the kitchen floor despite the potential for inattentive feet bumping him. He rolled around under the rug and played more in the open. He even rubbed his face on Teddy's face whenever we came home from a walk. Jackson Galaxy from My Cat from Hell would have been proud of us.

Life was good.

Until the little cretin started rolling in the cat litter.

Maybe the litter box is a bit too clean. I could leave a couple of nuggets in there to persuade him. Maybe I need to bring in a big pot of grass and soil for the little dirtbag to roll in when he's happy. I could picture him, rolling in his little square foot of grass in the corner of the kitchen. It would look ratty and pathetic after a month of chewing and rolling but it might make him happy.

You can take the kitten out of the trailer park, but you can't take the trailer park out of the kitten.

Thank you for listening, jb

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