We love our two cats. Seriously, they are members of the family with full-fledged personalities, whims, needs, wants and quirks. Hubby and I adopted them from the local animal shelter before we were married, so really, they were our first kids. We fondly refer to them as our “kiddies”. We adopted them together as they were buddies in the clink– rare for two unrelated male cats, but they really are snugglebunnies with each other.
When I interview patients for the first time, I usually ask about pets. If they are cat people, we bond. I’ll even ask if they adopted from rescue, and then we usually share cat stories for a minute or so. I have pictures of them over my desk. I’m sure some people think I’m nuts. But, so it is. We are nuts about our cats.
But man, they are causing some serious problems recently! Expensive, time-consuming problems. The first and probably most serious issue is the fact that they are suddenly “thinking outside the box”. As in, eliminating outside of the box. Now, we expected this when we brought Babyboy home a year and a half ago. And, we got it, then. Raffy (short for Rafael) is our big bruiser of a cat, and he makes big poo. He weighs about 22 pounds, and looks like a Maine coon with not only his sheer heft, but also the characteristic ear tufts, huge paws with furry padding and a playful, sociable personality. He also wants what he wants when he wants it- as a matter of fact, he’s lying on my desk right now, demanding chin rubs.
When Babyboy came home was about the time we started finding big kitty poo in the basement. We sighed, cleaned, and shut the basement. All was well for a time, except when we got lazy about closing the door and occasionally would find poo in the corners down there. Our basement is not finished; actually, the floor is a bit gravelly and so, we figured Raffy got annoyed/ confused what with the new baby in the house, and what to him probably looks and feels like a big litter box downstairs.
Lately we started finding evidence of elimination in other weird places- the laundry basket, the doormat. I even caught Leo, our other cat, peeing in our kitchen, on the door, like he was marking it. Leo is also a big male, but a tuxedo shorthair. He’s generally the well-behaved one, the elegant and graceful acrobat. He can effortlessly leap to the top of our kitchen cupboards from the counter. He once got outside, and within 30 seconds, caught a bird.
I was flabbergasted when he peed on the door, right in front of me. Hmmm. This was not cool. We pondered this and doubled efforts to keep the litter box clean and payed more attention to them.
But the last straw was yesterday, when Raffy, right in front of us, took a huge dump in Babyboy’s tent. It’s a cute little tent that’s meant as a beach or outdoor safe place for babies to nap. Babyboy loves playing in it, so we leave it set up for him, in the living room. And Raffy would occasionally nap in there as well, which we thought was cute. But there it was, a big smelly Raffy poo in the tent. I was horrified. And kind of depressed.
So in addition to making an appointment at the vet’s, I did a ton of internet research, and decided that maybe the litter box is too small. So today I went out and bought a new one, a huge “jumbo” box. And we’ll put the old one somewhere so they have additional bathroom space.
We are also wondering if this issue has something to do with the other new problem they have that’s a major hassle- Fleas.
Our cats don’t go outside, so it seems really odd that they picked up fleas. Also odd as the weather is just turning cold, so fleas should be on their way out. But, last week during his weekly brushing, I discovered flea dirt on Raffy, and a quick search revealed a full-fledged infestation, out of the blue.
It seems that my mother’s cat also has fleas, and she thinks they came from my aunt’s dog, who got them from who knows where… and that’s they way they spread, the eggs and larvae get on someone’s clothes or shoes and travel to a new spot and set up residence. And so we have fleas.
I have never had to deal with this before, and thus, a major internet search and campaign reaching out for information ensued, and, it seems we have some expensive and time-consuming treatments and house-cleaning ahead of us. Sigh.
I have friends who don’t have pets, who think having animals in your house is weird. I can sense their horror and disbelief when I share these stories. I think they want to ask us, Why don’t you just get rid of your cats?
Now, please. We know that our children can (and probably will) pull similar hair-pulling-out time-consuming and expensive stunts on us. I know I tortured my parents plenty with various and sundry gems such as sneaking away to a party (for a weekend), and several car accidents, and an extra year of college. Lately I have been hearing from my patients about their kids who dropped out of college mid-semester and are living at home, doing nothing. It seems epidemic, actually. But no one talks about giving their kids away! We LOVE our kids. We DEAL with their issues. We do NOT give them away.
And so, we LOVE our kiddies. We will DEAL with their issues. And if anyone has any pet advice, please feel free to share….