Monday, August 15, 2005

Pick of the Litter.

When I bought this house, I imagined our Christmas tree in the living room picture window, its carefully selected ornaments and twinkling glow being appreciated not only by incredibly fun and cool neighbors who would always have fresh basil to lend me, but by our angelic child, dozing peacefully on the perfectly situated couch as a fire crackled in the fireplace and Nat King Cole wafted through the house. I imagined the smaller bedroom as a nursery, with Consort and I beaming down at our innocent, sleeping child (now that I think of it, all of my offspring-based fantasies involved her inactive). I even imagined where the backyard furniture would go, for maximum comfort and ease on Sunday mornings while doing crossword puzzles.

Oddly enough, I never looked at any part of my house and thought “You know what would really set off this room? A box of cedar shavings with a couple of cat shit logs for visual interest.”

The fact is, no room improves with the presence of a litter box, and most of them are seriously compromised.

When we first received Lulabelle, I walked around the house holding the litter box in front of me as if I was a cigarette girl in a nightclub, trying to find the least offensive place for it. The kitchen was out, as it was designed by someone who apparently was trying for the “Cramped and yet oddly empty” effect: there are no spaces on the floor not currently occupied by a door, a wall, or our feeble attempt at counter space, unless you count the Saharan expanse you must cross from the stove to the sink. I toyed with sticking the litter box in the middle of the room and declaring it sculpture, but continued in my travels.

A cat box in the living room seemed antisocial, somehow. A cat box in the dining room would have kept us all whippet-lean, but would have meant taking the funds currently earmarked for Daughter’s college and transferring them immediately into pre-paid analysis for her well into her thirties (Oh, who am I kidding, with us as her parents, the analysis is a given, and the litter box placement won’t take more than a year to resolve). Also, cat feces can have some pretty nasty bacteria. I made a decision: where there is food, there shall be no feces.

(It wasn’t “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit”, but I wasn’t working for hundreds of dollars an hour. Also, my arms were getting numb from holding the cat box.)

I soldiered on.

I glanced at our bedroom, but moved on quickly. Consort has been magnificent about my need to mother the four-legged, but he would be well within his rights to throw a complete opera-diva tantrum if the litter box was in with us. Something about the sound of cat intestinal distress just as you are struggling for your glasses sets an ugly tone for the day.

Daughter’s room was a non-starter. I feared coming in two days later to find she had created a game where the My Little Pony herd suddenly had food poisoning.

This left the bathroom. The advantages were the built-in fan, a reasonably discreet corner, and that few people want to hang out in the bathroom. If one believes in such things, it wouldn’t make the feng shui in there any worse. With a sigh, I placed in the corner and moved on with my life.

Three days later, Consort found me, a pained squint on his face.

“Why did you put the litter box in the bathroom?”

I sensed this was rhetorical and that he had no interest in feng shui.

“What’s wrong?”

“I was in there, brushing my teeth,” he said, raking his fingers through his hair, “and unbeknownst to me, Lu came in and used the litter box. And I’m guessing you gave her cabbage and overripe cheese for dinner last night?”

“Oh. I’m sorry.”

“I’m going to have bad associations with spearmint Crest for a very long time.”

I picked up the litter box and began the placement pursuit again. This time, I settled on the laundry room. Not much in the way of floor space, what with the Eastern European Laundry Experience and the Monument to Lost Free Time (Roller blades, golf clubs, boxes of unlabeled pictures), but with just a little organization and tying the bike to the ceiling, I made room for the litter box.

This lasted two days, until I determined the cat was scared of the broom, and wouldn’t get anywhere near the litter box. Since this was the only free space on the floor, something had to give. Consort grumbled about moving the broom holders across the room, but quieted right down when I pointed out that the cat wasn’t scared of anything in the bathroom and it wouldn’t take me but a minute to move the litter box back in there.

So, now everything’s good. Well, except for the fact that the cat has taken a virulent dislike to the litter box, and howls at the back door when Nature calls.

But other than that, we’re good.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Consort said...

Sure, we're good. But now I howl at the back door when I need to brush my teeth.

12:08 AM  
Blogger sjg:o)) said...

You should save up and get a Litter Maid. It rakes the litter for you, and deposits the clumps and poop in a closed container. Instant Odor control. I have modified mine so that even with three cats, I only have to "empty the container" about every two weeks, and if my mom, who has a nose like a Beagle, can't smell it, then there is no odor. Believe me, those Litter Maids pay for themselves in what you save on litter. With three cats, a 40 pound box of litter lasts over a month. -- that's about $12 a month. Mine love it -- it's always clean when they want to use it.

4:32 PM  

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