Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Great Cat Poop Crisis of 2013

Yeah, I'm writing about cats again. Bear with me; I've never in my life had a situation where I lived someplace with multiple cats, so this is new and fascinating territory for me. It's an ongoing learning experience; a fuzzy, interesting, watch-your-step, don't-leave-food-on-the-counter, learning experience.

Back when we had just one cat, Spooky, our 19 1/2 year old Dowager Empress, the part of our lives dedicated to cleaning up Her Highness' intestinally-processed cat food (aka poop) was actually rather small. Having slowed down a lot, she was a light eater (although she definitely loved her some deli sliced turkey breast and/or a little ramican of Half-and-Half, or, as she came to know the word, "cream"), and consequently a light pooper.

And yet, lacking perspective, we didn't think she was a light pooper. In fact, when her box got ripe, we started singing our own modified version of Nickelodeon's Catdog theme song. It went something like:

Catbox! Catbox!
Nothing in the world like a stinky catbox!

Well, I'll never understand

And I'll never quite git
How one little cat
Can make so much s**t!

That's about as far as we got, because I think around that time, we both passed out.

But that was Spooky for you. You know, as an aside, she had a litter mate, and we know where that sibling ended up. I wonder if that other cat is still alive. We could ask the owners, as they are former friends of ours, but we're not exactly on speaking terms this day, and it may be rather awkward to contact them and say "Hey, we don't give a screaming, flying, warthog's behind about how the two of you are doing, but can you tell us if your cat is still alive?"

Some mysteries, apparently, will never be solved.

Now, where was I? Oh yes. Cat poop.

So yes, we were accustomed to our elderly cat's slower metabolism, smaller appetite, and decreased activity level. Going from this situation to a clowder of three young, active, and voraciously hungry cats barely out of kittenhood was like going from a leisurely walk in the park while pushing a baby stroller to strapping on a pair of roller skates, getting a rocket engine shoved up you posterior, then having it activated as you stand at the top of a steep ski slope. Wile E. Coyote would be proud.

These three cats eat.  And consequently, these three cats poop.

 Oh, sure, the youngest of our four kids, the one who still lives at home, said she'd help us with the cat boxes, but tell me this: have you ever asked a teenager to do something? When they want you to do something, it always needs to be done now. They call because they need a ride home, so pick them up now. Or they need to be dropped off somewhere, now. Or they need to bring some money to school, now. Or their hair's on fire, and they want you to extinguish it now.

It's always something, I tell ya!

Oh, but when you ask them to do something, they keep putting it off, usually with the wuzgunna's. As in, "I wuzgunna do that after I got home from school!" So, you decide not to nag, and time goes by, and pretty soon they're marching down the aisle on their wedding day, and they still haven't done what you wanted! And of course, if you insist, they get all affronted, as if you're Cinderella's wicked stepmother who's having a particularly bad day as well as a jalapeno enema. Goebbels would be a more genteel parent, compared to your unreasonable demands that they do something you ask them to do without giving them a fortnight's deadline in which to do it.

So, where was I? Oh yeah. Cat poop.

So the rate of cat poop creation was increasing exponentially, with all three cats generating so much crap that all of them would be over-qualified to work as FoxNews commentators. In fact, it gets so bad that the cats barely have enough room to do further business, so the cats begin to express their displeasure in the universal language known as "taking a dump outside the box".

Can you imagine if we humans expressed our displeasure at others in this way? Dissatisfied with your job? Walk into a meeting where your boss is talking with other higher-ups, jump up on the meeting room table, drop your pants, and let your duodenum do the talking.

Or if your boyfriend or girlfriend cheats on you, you go over to their apartment and leave a little (or a big, if you've had a large meal) surprise on their living room carpet. It gives the phrase "carpet steamer" a whole new meaning, I tell you.

Are you angry at the psychos from Westboro Baptist "Church"? Take a dump on their lawn. See how they protest that!

So, yes. Cat poop. The cats began leaving what Carol and I call "protest poops" just outside the litter box, to indicate their displeasure. Humans think outside the box. Cats poop outside theirs.

But, thanks to the acquisition of another large litter box, we think the crisis is at an end. This is a covered box, incidentally, which 1) makes sure that the rest of the cellar isn't subjected to an ammonia-smelling, poop-laced sandstorm when the cats use the box and scratch at the litter, and 2) it offers the cats privacy. Apparently, cats don't like people watching them when they do their business, unlike dogs, who'll blast a ten pound turd right in front of you, then turn around and enjoy it as a hot hors d'oeurve, and then jump up and lick your face! FUN!

It looks like, at least for the moment, that the House of Terra has weathered the latest cat poop crisis, but knowing this clowder, they'll have another challenge waiting for us sooner rather than later.

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