Man: 0 Cat: 1

Posted on November 4, 2011

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(The following is the second in my new series, “Old Posts to Dredge out on Slow Weekends Because When I Posted Them Originally People Cared More About the Economy and World Peace Than My Blog.” Although nothing has changed, it’s the start of a slow weekend.)

Now Husband Dan has a long history with pets.  This involves not having had any. I can totally understand that.  Dan grew up in various places where animals were just part of the landscape.  If he felt like interacting with an animal, there were always a lot of goats around.  In addition, there were donkeys, chickens, feral cats, and other forms of wildlife.  On occasion, these assorted animals would wander in or out of people’s houses at random.  I suppose if you grow up like this, the idea of having a “pet” would be sort of strange.

In spite of this, Dan’s mother decided one day that Dan should have a dog, so she borrowed one from friends of the family.  Dan 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 it was in.  Eventually, the dog was returned to its original family, and since then, Dan 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 Dan and I married.  Along with me came a cat, Miracle.  Miracle is technically my daughter’s cat.  She has been temporarily living with me 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 to several children, Dan did a fairly good job of acclimating himself to pet ownership (and child stepownership).  Since the children were already grown, gone, and pretty much feeding themselves by the time Dan 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 getting what was in her food bowls through her digestive system and out into the world where it belonged.

I have never had a litter box.  My cats have always been encouraged to spend as much time as possible outside.  This system has worked beautifully for me, in spite of my having to spend most of the day letting a cat in or out.  At some point, I had a cat door installed on the basement door.  Miracle could then go into the basement and then out a wooden flap 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 served its purpose and limited my 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 our basement started to reek.  Dan spent a lot of time ranting about unsavory pet behavior.  I spent a lot of time ignoring him.  Then, one day, he installed a huge litter box on the basement floor.  I 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 Dan has no idea who Heidi Montag is, 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 mode.  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, Dan 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, namely the Memory Black Hole.

Now, we 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 shreiks mews loudly and/or takes running leaps into the door until Dan wakes up and lets her out.  Or she wails mews at out bedroom window until he lets her in.  I, on the other hand, have been totally sleeping through this, which is amazing, since I’m the one with sleep issues.  Dan can’t believe that I’m not waking up.

Sometimes things work out exactly as they should

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