Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fury. The Barracks. Zsa Zsa. Animal Behaviour. Sociology.

I am absolutely DETERMINED to keep my house in tip-top shape. Since I've moved in I have been developing routines for everything that requires maintenance: watering the plants as soon as I come home, cleaning the bathroom and kitchen once a week, making sure dishes and pop cans move steadily to their appropriate places...in short, organizing everything so that cleanliness and maintenance are easy to accomplish.

I haven't gotten the dish-washing routine figured out yet, and most rooms are still so unfinished that I can't get a handle on them, but for the most part I've been thrilled with my progress.

Then, today, I came home and discovered that my beloved cat has been peeing all over my basement crawlspace.

I positively f*cking SNAPPED. To see (and smell) all of my most meticulous attentions thwarted by what seemed (at the time) to be a flippant and whimsical disregard for her litterbox...well, I suddenly understood domestic hatred. I understood how people can -- momentarily -- wish that their loved ones were dead.

It was amazing. As I crawled around in the basement wiping up more and more fresh cat piss, I seriously wished that Zsa Zsa would die. I believed that if she died I would feel only relief. She kept trying to sneak back into the crawlspace, and I kept throwing heavy objects at her to drive her away. Finally I managed to build a barrier that should keep her out, and I told myself that if she peed ONE MORE TIME outside her litterbox I'd take her straight to the vet and get her put down.

As you can imagine, she studiously avoided me for half an hour, and by the time she reappeared I was ready to make nice, and by way of coincidental apology she peed in her litterbox shortly afterward...not even in the tin pan I keep outside the litterbox door, which she usually uses.

Tomorrow I'll buy white vinegar and see if it works as well as the Old Wives say it does, and if that fails...well, I hear that stinky concrete can be sealed, though I don't know how (or at what cost).

In the meantime, though, I'm a little bit shaken at my ability to see Zsa Zsa as nothing more than an inconvenience. I think I understand -- a tiny bit -- those people who go into screaming fits when kids bicycle across their front lawns. I suppose that investing a huge amount of money, hope, and emotion into an inanimate object can skew your priorities a bit.


Kimber said...

Oh my friend, my poor Muffy...I feel your pain. How awful. I hope Zsa Zsa has learned her lesson.

I am experiencing similar spasmodic fits of rage at my dog lately. I was always horrified by people who gave away their dogs after they had babies but now I am coming to understand why. The endless dog hair, drool and disobedience are getting beyond my capacity for patience. I am THIS CLOSE to hiring a doggie trainer to come in and see if I can be salvaged as a dog owner/baby mama!

Adam Thornton said...

Yikes, that's a hard one too! Do you worry that the dog is a threat to the baby?

Gary said...

Well, you certainly must have set Zsa Zsa straight, as she has capitulated.

If it happens again, read her Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" and make her understand that she could, literally, become one with the floor that she seems to prefer.

But if I read cat preferences right, she's more of a "Cask of Amontillado" fan - which can be a pretty powerful warning, too!

Syd said...

I have been through this. You have to think from her POV. She's an old cat, peeing in the wrong place is one of the few ways she can clearly communicate "I do not approve".

She's not to the point where she pees wherever, you'll know when that time comes. This was clear and deliberate communication. She made her point clear. Now you must clean up her editorial, and you can buy enzyme sprays in the well-stocked pet aisle that will forgive a few mistakes.

Poo and pee are just those things that are universal comedy and communication. Zsa Zsa peed there to communicate her great unhappiness. Now you have to be an understanding owner, let her know you know that she is very sad to move, let her get used to her new home, and clean up the cat pee with lots of paper towels and some trustworthy-looking "Urin-B-Gon" spray. The kind with "enzymes".