20 July 2011

kitty korner

you'll clean my leavings and be happy about it.
i was going to start off this piece by saying "it's not easy being a crazy cat lady", but, in fact, it is easy being a crazy cat lady. it's really easy, especially when you discover that there are crazy cat men out there who are going to be just as protective as you are of your feline children. the most difficult thing about multiple-cat parenting you're likely to encounter is the fish-eye that you get from other primates when you tell them how many cats you have. here's a hint on how to deal with that: if they give you weird looks, they're probably assholes and your life is probably better without them in it. 

when people have concerns about the number of cats you have, the concern is generally about one thing and one thing only: the litter. [ok, they might also be concerned if you don't have your cats neutered, but unless you plan on breeding them, neutering is a no-brainer. and only people with brains should own cats.]

i'm astute enough to note the pleasant look of surprise that seems to appear on the faces of our guests when we're feeling comfortable enough with humanity to bear having people over and i know what that look means. it means that they're astonished, because they came over expecting the house to stink. congratulations, folks, you've just learned an important lesson about cat ownership: how clean the place smells has less to do with the number of cats and more to do with how the owners choose to take care of the "leavings".

DISCOVER MY SECRETS...



most guide books will tell you that you should have one litter pan per cat plus one extra. i'm not entirely sure who made that rule, but i'm willing to bet that no one checked with the cats. years of multiple cat ownership has taught me one thing in that regard: cats aren't any more eager to have their living quarters strewn with open latrines than you are. when i've offered multiple litter pans in multiple locations, the response has generally been for everyone to use a single pan in a single location. in fact, the only way i've persuaded the cats to use more than one pan is to have them side by side in the same room [the bathroom, which they, as i, prefer]. so chances are that having litter pans throughout the house is going to do nothing except encourage your cats to play in the litter and track that sandy crap all through the house, like kids returning from a day at the beach.

as for the "correct" number of litter pans, my experience has been that it has more to do with the preferences of the owners. if you use a scoopable cat litter [i swear by arm & hammer multi-cat and, in fact, arthur now rejects any other litter], you'll be able to get things out of the way as they appear, but eventually, the entire pan will need to be emptied and refilled. i personally find the emptying the whole thing part to be a pain in the arse, which is why i encourage my kids to spread the love between a couple of adjacent pans. this gives me a longer break between complete refills and lets them have fun by standing with their front paws in one pan and their back paws in the other, just to be weird. it all works out very well.

of course, there's still the question of what happens to all the clumps of concentrated evil. i used to live in an apartment building that had one of those convenient garbage chutes, which is perfect for this sort of work. [except for the time that someone dropped a bag of kitty waste down the chute as the superintendent was reaching into the bin, resulting in that person having a bag of litter explode on their head, which as far as i'm concerned, is what you deserve if you're stupid enough to lean into the bin at the bottom of a garbage chute, but my superintendents didn't see it that way.] if you're not lucky enough to live in such a building [or if the superintendents insist on blaming you for the fact that they got hit with an exploding bag of poop], that means that you have to be prepared to deal with the fact that the soiled litter might not leave your abode for a few days.

your salvation. made in china.
this, my friends, was what originally made horrified first-time suburban parents come up with the diaper genie and the good news is that they've now made one for cats. behold the litter locker ii. i trust it to deal with all of the grossness i can stuff into it. dom found this and i still marvel at the simple perfection of its design. you buy the unit and other than that, you just need to get replacement "doughnuts" of plastic sheeting that you form into bags. you drop litter in the top, open the trap door and it falls into the bottom, where you don't have to think of it again until it fills up. then you just knot the bag and throw the whole thing out on garbage day. it locks away the scent and the dirt and it doesn't require that you wreck the plumbing for the whole neighbourhood by trying to flush kitty litter down the city pipes. [if you think they're pissed from getting hit in the head with a bag of it, wait 'til you see them figure out that you've just managed to create poop-laced cement in the plumbing.]

to give you an idea of the costs involved, we go through a $10 doughnut roughly every two weeks. with five. the economics of this sell themselves as do the olfactory benefits. i recommend this to everyone i know with cats. seriously. you will not fear the litter again. unless you stick your head somewhere it's not supposed to be.

3 comments:

Biba said...

"...and only people with brains should own cats." I couldn't agree more!

I tried really hard to convince my parents that our cat should be only indoors. After two years I still get stupid questions from our relatives - how can I be so cruel and my cat is only indoors etc. I say: Maybe beacuse we live near a traffic road and I don't want that somebody hits my baby with a car..."

I have only one cat now, but when I will be somewhere on my own... At least three, because three's a company :)

xasperadastra said...

whenI was a child my biggest dream was to have tons of cats in my house... I've fought a lot to have one and he is my love^^

flora_mundi said...

My kitties are my kids. People who are my friends get that.

And Biba, I think that given the dangers that domestic cats face in both urban and rural settings, keeping them inside is in no way cruel. It's responsible. Mine don't seem inclined to explore outside at all.

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