I’ve been meaning to write about the new [temporary] addition to our household, but I always seem to be scooping poop or filling water or food bowls or breaking up cat fights and don’t have time to blog about it.
So, you may know that we have two “mature” cats (I hate to say elderly), Joe and Halloween. Joe and Halloween were littermates and we brought them home from Dean’s brother’s farm in 1996. I keep saying that these are the last cats we’ll have because even though cats are not hard to take care of — they do take some effort. Plus I can never have flowers in the house because the cats think flowers are a yummy treat.
Sometime, late last spring, Clare called Dean to ask if we could cat-sit her roommate’s cat, Annabelle. Dean referred her to me. I wanted to say yes, but Dean cautioned me to word it more like, “we’ll be the last resort”, which I did. Clare and her roommate interpreted it as “yes” and they went on with their last few weeks at college, confident that the problem of Annabelle’s summer residence was solved. (Clare’s roommate is spending the summer in New Orleans and her mother is renting her room to a woman who, apparently, is allergic to cats).
Secretly I was excited that we’d be cat-sitting. Annabell is a calico and I’m partial to calicoes. I was worried about how we’d deal with the food and litter box issues, but figured if they didn’t get along at all Annabelle would be the “attic cat”.
Well, Joe, Halloween and Annabelle don’t love each other. Joe and Halloween are curious and might actually like Annabelle, but Annabelle doesn’t like Joe and Halloween at all. Annabelle can be in the same room as Joe and Halloween are without hissing, but if they come within 2 feet of her she hisses and swipes at them. I think this has made them a little sad.
We’ve nicknamed her “the little bitch”. She’s very cute. And very cuddly if it is on her terms. And she’s very tidy. In fact, since she started using the communal litter boxes (we now have 3 in the basement and 1 in the attic) she covers up the other cats’ messes (they never did learn to cover their poop).
I’ve tried to not become attached to her because she’ll most likely be gone come September — but that is really hard to do. I think that our own cats are getting a good deal — we’re overcompensating on the cuddles they get because of the guilt we feel for giving Annabelle cuddles. (Ok, I’ll stop now — I’b beginning to scare myself)
I think I’d make a terrible foster mother. I’d want to keep all the kids.
When, at age 13, I first got an indoor cat it was my responsibility to change the litter. We actually didn’t use litter, but Oil-Dri that my dad got in huge bags from the auto-mechanics’ store. I’d fill the cat litter tray and a week later pour it out behind the garage. I doubt that was environmentally safe, but no one complained.
When I moved to an apartment I did pretty much the same, but probably threw the used litter in a trash bag. I don’t even recall where the litter box was in my apartment, but it was somewhere. Probably my bedroom.
When Dean and I moved to Pittsburgh, then Alexandria, with the cats we used litter made for cats instead of Oil-Dri, but the rest of the routine was the same. Fill a box, wait a week (or more sometimes) and throw it out.
Never during all that time did we find cat poop anywhere in the house except in the litter box (or occasionally just outside the litter box) except for when one of our cats reacted to a new cat in the house by developing irritated bowel syndrome which we fixed by getting rid of the new cat.
I was responsible for the cat litter until I got pregnant, then Dean took over the job until about 8 years ago when I insisted we begin to use clumping cat litter and agreed to scoop it.
This worked fine for a number of years until fairly recently. Our aging cats have begun to poop on our living room carpet. They poop on our dining room carpet. They poop behind the litter boxes. They poop in corners of the family room.
I’m to blame — for a while I was not vigilant about keeping their litter boxes that clean, so if I went a few days without scooping their poop they’d start pooping elsewhere. I researched it, bought special expensive cat litter guaranteed to fix the problem (provided you kept the boxes clean).
Now our cats seem to have the idea that if there is one small piece of feces in the litter box it is unusable. I scoop poop first thing in the morning and some time in the evening just to keep ahead of their bowel schedules. If I don’t I can be assured of a smelly surprise awaiting in the morning. The one saving aspect is that, while they poop more often, it is solid because their new food for “mature” cats contains fiber.
And if that isn’t enough, our neighbor’s very sweet cat poops in our front yard at least 3 times a week. Guess who scoops it?
PS Madeline or Chris — If you read this — I really don’t mind. Skippy is so sweet the additional scooping is NO BIG DEAL.