timberland stratham Cleaning up after the cat
Daddy, I want you to clean the cat place. Do it slowly and calmly, wrote my daughter Leticia in perfect English. Her words cut like the jagged edge of a cat food can.
The cat food goes in the cat mouth and then comes out. It is natural. But my two cats hit their litter box target about half the time. Show me a Major League baseball player with that average.
Leticia was bringing home a new friend from school, the first such guest in our house. In preparation, we vacuumed, dusted, washed dishes and made beds, all with the intent of appearing normal. What could tarnish that image? My cats could through the simple process of digestion.
I love those cats just as parents love their infants. In the world of newborns and loving parents, diapers smell like daffodils. So it is with my cats always fluffy, furry and fragrant. If we were meant to bathe cats, why did God give them those delicate tongues and patience to go only where veterinarians go?
In my world, cats are guiltless of original sin. They have left their mark on my bed, clothing and once on my collection of Mad Magazines. None of it has shaken my confidence in their purity. Or their purrity.
Still, cleaning up after them is not easy. Their playful wrestling matches sprinkle my living room with white fur. You don have to drive to Kneeland to see a winter wonderland. Just come to my house and see the Currier and Ives winter diorama.
Their area is problematic, too. Amadeus,
my 14 year old cat, has never had a problem finding the right spot. Not once in all these years has he missed the litter box. That is because he is a perfectionist at his craft. It is as if he knows that not much is expected of him so he is giving it all he has.
Squeak, the kitten, is another story. His sense of entitlement is as big as his tail. And I am sure that social media is responsible.
He gallops through my world defying gravity. He chases shadows and shoestrings and I am sure he is convinced that his projects are profoundly significant. I agree. For want of a shoestring, a battle can be lost.
He likely believes that hitting the litter box is low on his priorities. How else can one explain the way he uses it. He sits on the edge, which would be fine if he were facing in the right direction. But he is not. And his indifference to such a simple task astounds me.
So that leaves it to me to clean up his messes. It is exhausting, especially if you play martyrdom as I do.
It a little trick I learned in childhood. Asked to wash the dishes, I would swipe them quickly with a sponge and then slip them under the faucet. The result was a strainer full of dishes that still bore the marks of the evening meal. Such practice would put a restaurant out of business. But my mother would simply chew me out and do them herself.
The tactic worked on yard work, garbage disposal and any manual labor around the house. On the other hand, it may well have led to the perfection of the electric dishwasher, garbage disposal and riding mower. Credit for those inventions declined.
Unfortunately, my method ran into the garbage disposal of supervised employment. Subsequent bosses have questioned my commitment.
These days, age and infirmity are worthless excuses for a free ride. My huffing and wheezing have done nothing to free me of cat box cleanup. Even the cats have suggested that my gasps may be caused by my own hairballs. That would make sense if I bathed with my own tongue.
So in the jargon of cat box cleanup, I take my lumps, cleaning up when things get out of hand. But and calmly change the litter? That is what my daughter wants of me.