Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Bad Kitty

(My nine-year-old daughter drew this in Paint.)

We have two 10-year-old cats. Actually, they might be 11 by now. Snickers, the Bombay is soft and black and used to look like a miniature panther in her younger years. She has a condition where her hips dislocate which makes her limp along and not want to get as much exercise as she used to. As I type this, she trying to soften up my Nook case so she can use it as a pillow. She is the good kitty --unless she decides the the cat box is optional when it comes time for her to remove the solid waste from her bowels. Recently, we purchased a "self-cleaning" cat box so this has been much less of an issue. Now one might think that finding cat poop in places other than the cat box would be worse than finding cat pee in places other than the cat box. One would be so very, very wrong.

This brings me to Max. Max is a gray and brown tabby. In recent years he gradually decided that the cat box was only for bowel movements, but the rest of the house, especially clothing was the best place to urinate. Now Max had long since been neutered so it wasn't an issue of him needing to spray every where. At first, we tried to make sure the litter box was pristine, and even then it wasn't so bad because he was mainly going on dirty laundry that hadn't made it to the hamper, so we could simply wash the clothes, throwing in a splash of Pine-sol for odor control.

We gave him some leeway since he was getting older and he didn't have that same spring in his step that he used to have when he was younger. I could go into more detail about how our house always seemed to smell slightly of cat pee due to our wall to wall carpeting (except in the kitchen and a small section of the bathrooms). The cat box was kept in the office, but sometimes they would slightly miss and, well, you know.

In June of last year I inherited some money from my grandma. We decided ("we," meaning, "me.") That we would use the money to re-paint and re-floor our almost eleven year old house that had not seen a new coat of paint or new flooring since it was built in 1999. Now, not only do we no longer have a single white wall in the house, but every last bit of floor with the exception of the office has vinyl plank flooring which looks like dark stained wood flooring. The office now has commercial carpeting and is a cat-free zone. We hoped the lack of carpet would dissuade Max from peeing outside the box, but it did not. At least now when he missed it was on the much easier to clean vinyl floor.

Then we got new furniture for the family room. An over sized rocker-recliner, a love seat that reclines in both seats and a sofa that doesn't recline, but it can used for reclining ;-) All in matching dark brown micro fiber that has a suede look to it. We were fools. Because Max had not peed on the sectional sofa we used to have in the family room, we thought we were safe. Sadly, Max felt the need to christen the sofa the very
first night we got it. We bought special odor control cleaner from the pet store and that seemed to help. We were still giving Max some leeway because we figured he probably peed there because he had already been up there sleeping and was too stiff to jump down and walk to the cat box.

Then one day, my husband was out in family room as he watched Max jump up on the sofa and the jump to the top of the back rest of the sofa. He didn't think much about it at first because Max often liked to drape himself across the backs of couches and large stuffed chairs. Then he realized Max wasn't lying down. Max was peeing on the top of the couch! He actually made a special deliberate attempt to get to the top of the couch so he could relieve himself right there! That was the day when Max went from being a parttime outdoor cat to being a full time outdoor cat. He now has his own catbox and food and water set up in our garage, along with two different "hidey-hole" places for him to sleep. During the day we keep the garage door open a crack so he can come and go as he pleases.

He isn't allowed in the house unless he is under very close supervision. Today, I came home from helping out in my younger daughter's 4th grade class, went to my room and turned around to find that Snickers had snuck up behind me and was standing by her water bowl that we keep in our bathroom giving me "that look." So I refilled her water bowl and continued to go about my business when I suddenly realized there was another "cat presence" nearby. I peeked through the crack of my almost closed bedroom door, and
there was Max, just sitting there, looking up at me. I opened the door wider and said, "Max, what are you doing in here?"

"Nevermind that," Max replied, "I need to show you something! Come on! Follow me!"

So I followed him down the hall toward the kitchen.

"Are you coming? Come on!"

"I'm coming! Yeesh!"

Max stopped in front of the food and water dish that was now supposed to be solely for Snickers and said, "Look at this! There is hardly any food in this bowl and NONE of it is canned food! Also, the water bowl could use a bit of refreshing as I noticed there is a microscopic speck of dust in it." He then proceeded to make his eyes become rounder and larger than normal so that my abilty to pick him up and put him back outside would be hampered. Because of this tactic, I was forced to refill the food bowl with dry cat food and then found another bowl and poured some of his wet food into it, which he greatly appreciated.

I refilled the water bowl and while he was busy eating I did some detective work to try and figure out how Max managed to get inside. After a little bit of texting, I found out that my 19 year old daughter had forgotten to let the cat out (I didn't even know she had let him in) before she left for her environmental science class.

Since Max was still busy eating, I decided I'd better keep an eye on him, so I grabbed my water bottle, my Nook, and my phone and sat down on the family room couch. I ended up using my phone to post this because I didn't want to bring my computer out here. As I am typing this, Max is currently curled up
on the recliner looking very content.

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