Wednesday, June 18, 2008

nothing nice to say

Hmm. It seems that more than an entire month has slipped away since last I posted. Funny how time flies when you become the crazy cat lady. When I first (reluctantly) welcomed Ratty Catty into the fold, I firmly believed that having three cats merely brought me to the threshold of crazy. Four cats, now that is crazy, I told myself. But three, three is actually legal (I know as I researched my county's limits). And besides, I figured, I am married, thus I can never truly fit the quintessential definition of cat lady - that lonely spinster surrounded by dozens of strays in a house that reeks of urine. But this, my marital status, could be considered a fragile thing - especially when my hard working husband has to sleep through my aforementioned feces sweeping... But now, after the month I've had and a few calculations courtesy my too-bright brother, I realize there is no denying it. It is true. I am she. I am the crazy cat lady.

The evidence? Well, we need to begin with the cats per capita and cats per square footage calculations. Both are extremely high here in my beach bungalow. Cats outnumber humans now 3:2 and mammals outnumber rooms 5:3. Thus the cats are seemingly everywhere. We have taken to calling the house the fish bowl as it seems the cats just circle around aimlessly, like they are on some sort of sinister loop. And the cats, well, they are now the cat fishes, of course.

Much like a fish bowl, I have noticed that the cats do not think twice before soiling their home, leaving it to the bipeds to clean it up. For example, mere hours after my last post, someone left me this disgusting present in the bed. (Yes, Aunt Kathy, that is the blanket you made for me as a wedding present. I'm so so sorry.) I thought, as I awoke to the overwhelming odor of feline feces, that I was merely having a nightmare, not living one. I immediately began sniffing it in, saddened by its familiarity and disgustingness, desperately trying to locate its source. Of course I looked to the dark dark corner of the bed (poo corner, that is), but no, the smell was weaker there. With horror I leaned to Erik's side, inspecting the pillows. Again, the smell was weaker. I realized I was playing the worst version of Hot and Cold ever. Not in the mood for games, I finally got out of bed and turned up the lights to find it there - cat poop at my feet, lightly smudged during the act of rising. The first thought I had, I kid you not, is that I can no longer tease Wendy for loving the cat that peed on her in her bed, not after knowing my feet had to be under or very near the turd burglar during the turd delivery. My second thought was, goddammit.

So I grabbed the pair of pants I had left on the couch. I began putting them on so I could remove the soiled blanket. I started with the right leg. The one that was saturated in cat pee. Defeated, I shrugged, hoping this meant I love you. I gathered up the pants and a nearby jacket (seemingly my hats and purse were spared? I prayed I was not wrong about my cursory analysis...) and then went to work creating a laundry pile.

Before laundering anything, though, I rewarded the most likely suspect, bratty Ratty Catty, with breakfast. After starting the wash, I set a trap. Displaying the brilliant sense I was born with, I locked Ratty inside the house with me, subjecting him to forced snuggles. I figured if I had to find his bodily fluids in the two places I occupy most, he had to let me kiss him. Well, that, of course, backfired. Ratty proceeded to pee on the cat chair, on the carpet, and, oh yeah, on me as I tried to place him in my lap. Gross, I know. A month later, we still haven't mastered lap snuggles (in truth, I'm afraid to try again), but I have gotten a few genuine purrs out of the Rat Cat - always under duress, of course, but not always accompanied by urine.

While I actually appreciated sleeping in a clean bed that next night, I soon found the process of bed soiling to be exhausting. Comforters, sheets, mattress pad - each is a separate load, so even without any soaking or double washing, this is an all day affair. And since my laundry room is down a set of stairs, each of these unwieldy loads makes enough contact with my person during transit to inspire interim showers. At least I have the time to spend all day laundering and showering, I suppose. And I've got my own machines. What a horror show it would be to load all that pee and poo into my car to go to a laundromat. So see, here I am thanking God for small favors.

My gratitude could only stretch so far, however. Since that cursed morning, we've experienced some sort of assault on the bed roughly every four to five days - the approximate length of time it takes for us to let our guard down, it seems.

Some days it's just a pee. Those days I suspect Ratty. Ratty has been all but exonerated, though, for the original poo after the second time I woke to the smell of feces and found nothing solid - just a smear of it trapped in Monkey's tail. Thus Monkey is the gato non grata after this week's fresh horror - another full sized juicy poop on the comforter. The removal of each poo, unfortunately, has been followed by the addition of a pee. This pee, I've since surmised, was most likely added by a second donor. For these I suspect OC, as we came home on Sunday to find him laying near his most recent work - the first fluid to actually make it all the way through the mattress pad and on to the mattress.

Now the cat fishes are banished entirely from the main room and the bipeds are camping out on the couches, allowing the Nature's Miracle to properly soak in to the mattress and dry. Meanwhile, I anxiously await the arrival of my new waterproof mattress cover (ordered over the internet from the Enuresis Society). I have not gotten to see my previous acquisition in action - an absorbent pad designed to go under your bed wetting child - as it arrived just before the banishment. I figure that though it is only three feet wide, it should cover enough comforter to protect from Ratty accidents, as he seldom ventures beyond toe biting territory.

Much like my mother, I have been trained now not to leave "targets" - no more clothes or blankets on the couch. Also like my mother, I now think nothing of sinking my nose into a suspect article of clothing, hoping to breathe in the noxious smell of cat urine, as then I can end the hunt and start the cleaning. Again like my mother (or at least my mother when she was my age), I have taken to drinking heavily.

My sister insists that I should get rid of Ratty Catty, that these are learned behaviors, the preference for soiling soft surfaces, and stress responses from the unhappy preexisting cat fishes. But I have come to realize that the worst of this is my fault. I have long known that Monkey will eat OC's Miralax-laced leftovers and now, I fear, he's having accidents as a result. So instead I have gotten rid of the comforters - three so far - and am keeping better control over the "poo poo powder." We've also had to discard six sheepskins - these Monkey likes to pee on and then sleep in (I've seen him do it). And though I haven't yet figured it is safe to rent the steam cleaner, carpet accidents seem to be on the decline. So things are looking up.

Besides, it's not really Ratty's fault he's socially retarded and has upset the fragile balance of my household. He is actually adjusting quite nicely, all things considered. See how happily he naps in the backyard with a couple of purloined toys? (By the way, I'm pleased to announce that only a couple of the dozen toys I purchased - the first bit of proof I was becoming the cat lady - have disappeared for good. The rest either cycle back inside on their own or are left where I can retrieve them.) Ratty has actually thoroughly enjoyed the banishment, as it means the other cat fishes have to spend more time in his realm. He is so gay for Monkey, the banishment has been his wet dream come true.

Meanwhile, Monkey has developed a problem bigger than loss of fecal continence. He has shown an increasing tolerance for risk. Here he is up our tree, for the third time in as many days. He's actually been up a couple branches taller and twice has been rescued by Erik. During one retrieval he even punctured Erik's cheek - sticking a claw all the way through his face for better traction. Their relationship has been further impaired by the fact that Erik was the one to shower Monkey on the morning of the poopy tail.

And, of course, since it's been six weeks, I've also had quite a bit of seal action, but I'll save those stories for later. I am happy to report, however, that Tackle Box has healed and been released, along with my Harbor Seals - Stello, Mandella, and Sneaker.

Meanwhile, my brother has finally taken the LSAT challenge. Sounds like he faced a rather brutal reading comprehension section but is otherwise pleased with his performance. His score is due to be released around July 7th so we will find out then whether I will suffer any humiliation during my upcoming visit home.

Oh, and in other family news, my sister's ex has gotten the boot from his humble abode. (He's been living rent free in a fire station since the divorce. It seems there was some sort of roommate drama that erupted which was settled not in his favor...) Sadly, I can't even say I was truly surprised to hear this means he is moving back in with Suz, at least for now, as our family is just so enmeshed that way. I can say I chuckled just a bit, as this is life taking revenge for the infamous two nights of incest my brother and I suffered at her Vet School graduation...

So other than seals, I guess that's it. That's all I've been doing for the past five weeks - laundry. You haven't missed much.