Sunday, November 27, 2005

Important Announcement re Litter Boxes

No, really, that's what it's about, so if you're not interested, don't read this.

So, since I'm the one who came into this relationship with The Cat (Zooey, the neurotic bitch cat, whom I miss daily), as opposed to Ms J, who had The Dog (Britton the 70-pound sable shepherd who could not be trusted around children or other dogs), the litter box has always been my responsibility. And now that our two cats are urban indoor cats (and have the extra poundage to prove it), there are two litter boxes, to be scooped every day (when I'm a good owner).

Except that baby boy Rupert (the handsome one in the gray herringbone suit with white cuffs and spats) never learned to use the litter box properly. Oh, he--as we pet owners like to say--"does his business" within the parameters of the box. But he never learned to scratch the litter to cover said business. Instead, he scratches at the walls of the box itself in an effort to cover the odor, which, sadly, never works. And yet, he continues to try. Sometimes he'll scratch for several minutes, until we yell at him to STOP and toss objects in his direction.

This is likely our fault, since we adopted him as a teeny tiny kitten (he had to be weighed on the bird scale by our vet) clearly underage and too young to be weaned. So, noone ever taught him how to do this properly. Zooey felt he was an evil being sent to torment her, while Harley (she of the luxurious black coat above) was quite upset at no longer being The Baby of the family. So they didn't help. And I probably just gave it a half-hearted attempt to train him.

Why am I telling you all this? Because up until a few weeks ago, I used litter box liners, those plastic bag-type things that are supposed to make litterbox cleanup so much easier. Except that when you have a cat who scratches obsessively at the walls of the box--well, you can see the problem. I tried several different kinds of liners, even the expensive one that looks more like a really big, oddly shaped diaper. Nothing worked.

Until one day, Ms J (wise woman that she is) said, why even use a liner? And I replied, you know, I think I'll stop using a liner! And I have. I had to replace a perfectly good (though 12-year-old) litterbox because the bottom wasn't completely flat, which meant damp litter got stuck in the crevices, but what I'll save on litter and liners in the coming years will more than offset that.

Now, about that houseboy to scoop the boxes for me...

(PS--those glowing eyes and vacant expressions are the result of Too Much Nip. Which is to say, just enough Nip.)


madeline said...

I have ALWAYS had cats that scratch the crap out of the walls of the box. So much so that the box is actually clawed up considerably after a while and I have to replace it.

But their loveable cuteness is worth it.

senioritis said...

And BP and I have ALWAYS had cats that we had to throw objects at to get them to quit scratching in the damn box.

These are, BTW, terrifically beautiful cats. Look at Rupert's long, long tail!