In spite of this, NH’s mother decided one day that NH should have a dog, so she borrowed one from friends of the family. NH had never actually thought about having a dog, but he went along with his mom’s plan. It turned out that he didn’t have much of a chance to bond with the dog, since the dog’s main talent was an exceptional ability to flatulate, causing everyone to immediately leave whatever room she was in. Eventually, the dog was returned to its original family, and since then, NH has appreciated his animals only in the zoo, on Animal Planet or the Discovery channel, and very occasionally, on his plate.
All that changed when NH and LBL married. Along with LBL came a cat, Miracle. Miracle is technically Beloved Daughter’s cat. She has been temporarily living with LBL for about 10 of her 12 years, and will continue to do so until she decides to go to that great litter box in the sky.
After an initial period of sheer terror when he realized that he had attached himself to someone who was, in turn, attached to an animal and several children, NH did a fairly good job of acclimating himself to pet ownership (and child step-ownership). Since the children were already grown, gone, and pretty much feeding themselves and toilet trained by the time NH came onto the scene, he had only Miracle to care for. He quickly learned that Miracle’s job on the planet consisted almost entirely of the process of getting what was in her food bowls through her digestive system and out into the world where it belonged.
LBL have never had a litter box. Her cats have always been encouraged to spend as much time as possible outside. This system has worked beautifully for her, in spite of her having to spend most of the day letting a cat in or out. At some point, she had a cat door installed on the basement door. Miracle could then go into the basement and then out another cat door installed in the basement window. Aside from her occasionally being completely dumbfounded and scared out of her mind by the sight of the cat door that she had just used five minutes prior, it limited LBL’s trips to the front door to let her in or out.
The problem started when Miracle discovered that the partial dug out part of the basement was actually The World’s Largest Litter Box. She began going outside only about half the time, and the basement started to reek. NH spent a lot of time ranting about unsavory pet behavior. LBL spent a lot of time ignoring him. Then, one day, NH installed a huge litter box on the basement floor. LBL told him that putting a litter box in the basement was like giving a booklet of half price cosmetic surgery coupons to Heidi Montag. Since NH had no idea who Heidi Montage was, the analogy fell flat.
Of course, once the litter box was in residence, Miracle stopped going outside entirely. Now, in addition to a reeking basement, we (insert the word “Dan”) had a litter box that had to be cleaned all the time. Dan went into serious crisis. I think he would have moved out, except he has accumulated the world’s largest selection of hair products, now that he lives in a house. There isn’t enough room in his condo to store them.
After spending several days being depressed, NH went into action. He hammered, he taped, he spewed expletives. The result was that both cat doors were history. Miracle spent one night briefly clawing at the taped over door. Then, she stored the knowledge of the door in the same place that I store lost items, the Memory Black Hole.
Now, they are a Happy Little Family once again. Miracle is forced to go out in the middle of the night, instead of going down to the basement. She mews loudly until NH wakes up and lets her out. Or she mews until he lets her in. LBL, on the other hand, have been totally sleeping through this, which is amazing, since she’s the one with sleep issues. NH can’t believe that she isn’t waking up.
Sometimes things work out exactly as they should