Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Not Exactly What I Was Hoping For...




I am a cat person. Don't get me wrong, I love dogs, too, but they are much more work. I am picky about my dogs. They have to be furry and at least 50 lbs. No yappy little "toy" breeds or something that looks more like a rat. I want a beast who will slurp my face and drag me down the sidewalk towards the park.




I have been blessed with three dogs in my life, a Hungarian sheepdog who was a terrific companion when I was a kid. She was mellow and friendly and had the rumpled, unkempt look that defied you to discern her head end from the opposite end. When I was in high school we convinced my mom to get a golden retriever puppy and I discovered the joy of a dog who would fetch and romp equally enthusiastically in the snow and the surf. My buddy now is CB, a two-year-old flatcoat retriever without whom I cannot imagine my life. He is goofy and sweet, trainable (if I had the time or patience to be consistent with him - I take full responsibility for his foibles. Well, except for his penchant to find the most repulsive pile of goo and coat himself in it. I have nothing to do with that), and pure joy to be with.


I also share my life with two cats, an obese five-year-old tuxedo girl named Minnie (as in Mouse, of course) and a seven month old tabby named Peanut. So long as they have fur, I am not picky about my cats at all. I prefer females in order to avoid furniture marking, but I'm willing to train a male cat. As far as I am concerned, there are not many experiences that can surpass an evening spent with a book, a cup of tea and a purring cat in my lap. Minnie is a bit standoffish - a typical cat's cat. Disdainful and superior but pushy when she decides it's time for her to be the center of my attention. Peanut, on the other hand has the temperament of my dreams. He allows my children to pick him up and haul him around the house in awkward positions. He rides on my husband's shoulder for long periods of time. He is playful to the point of ridiculousness, and spends most evenings curled up either at the foot of my daughter's bed or on my lap while I read or watch TV. He is more affectionate than any other cat I have ever had and he not only gets along with CB, but allows him to lick his fur until he's dripping, purring all the while.

When Peanut first joined our family I noticed he was having some difficulty using the litterbox. We tried all of the usual remedies which I won't bore you with here, but none of them solved the problem. Finally, I decided to try a self-cleaning litterbox. For those of you who may be unaware of this terrifically convenient (and mostly unnecessary) device, it is a litterbox with a laser sensor that, when tripped as the cat uses the box, begins a countdown. After 10, 15, or 20 minutes, it starts a rake moving through the litterbox which collects the solid waste and pushes it into a disposal receptacle. Thus, the litterbox itself is cleaned regularly throughout the day, and the owner needs only discard the bag of waste once a day or so. Nirvana, right? They're expensive, but I found one on sale with a $40.00 rebate (which, as I think about it, I have yet to receive despite the fact that I purchased the damn thing three months ago), and I talked myself into it.

What I hadn't counted on was having a cat who was too stupid to use it. Peanut recognized it for what it was and used it regularly. Unfortunately, every time the rake would begin moving through the box, he would jump right back in, triggering the laser sensor and causing it to stop. He attacked the rake, effectively rolling in his own fresh waste as he did so, and dislodged it from the mechanism. A sandstorm of litter flew out of the box, covering the laundry room floor and the box was rendered useless until I could come and put it back together. We did this little dance for a few days until one day I heard a constant low buzzing coming from the laundry room. The rake was in perpetual motion, moving back and forth aimlessly like a swingset in the wind. The laser light was blinking rapidly and my kitten sat nearby, triumphantly cleaning his whiskers. He had finally killed it. The undisputed featherweight champion of the litterbox, Peanut "Ali" McDipstick. He's lucky he's so snuggly.

5 comments:

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Ewwwwwww!

Update us on how your husband is doing!

javorkod@hotmail.com said...

This is really Kathy using Javorko's account which he doesn't know how to use anyway! I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes when I read about Peanut the Featherweight Champoin of the laundry room!

ammogirl said...

My male cat is also named Peanut. He's scared of everything.

You have a furless cat!!!!

kario said...

Lest anyone be confused, the photo of the hairless cat is one I shamelessly downloaded from the web. Although I'm sure his owner loves him dearly and he has many redeeming qualities, he wouldn't be my first choice. The cats in my house all have fur (and the hairballs that come along with them).

Michelle O'Neil said...

I was thinking of buying one of those contraptions but perhaps I should not? One of my cats is equally dumb.

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