Monday, January 24, 2011

Litter Box Tale (for Cat People Only)

For reasons we don't understand, Snicky decided to use our bed as a litter box at 1 am last night. I heard strange pawing noises and discovered a fresh crime scene. Washing of coverlets in extra-hot water and Nature's Miracle quickly ensued. Unfortunately, I was half-asleep and set the washer for the extra-hot, extra-long "power wash," which meant it gurgled and spun, doing its best impersonations of different jet engines, until after 3 am.

A two-hour laundry cycle? It could probably remove mortal sins as well as feline stains. I'll have to figure out how to make that happen.

Nature's Miracle really is a miracle, by the way. It probably takes away mortal sins, too.

Sleep was impossible, between the washer chugging 6 feet away and trying keep Snicky from returning to the bed. She was determined to reclaim her spot. No way, Snick. You blew it, babe. No cozy Cuddledown comforter for you, kid.

The coverlets are fresh and clean, but we're exhausted. And what's up with Snicky? I've heard her making similar noises in the night before, and I've removed her from the bed before she got any further. I wasn't sure of what she was up to, those other nights, but I had my suspicions, which are now confirmed. This kind of behavior is rarely a problem for us, and Snicky is the only perpetrator. We sometimes find that she's left a "protest poop" when we've traveled and left the cats with a sitter. Is she ill? Is she lazy? Is she old and confused? Is she mad because the Steelers won? Is she mad or feeling abandoned because we were sleeping? Who knows: She's a tortoiseshell.

If this keeps up, we'll need to consult the vet, and perhaps find a cat psychologist specializing in tortoiseshell personality disorders. Tortoiseshells must be the hardest cases to treat because these ladies often become cranky divas at the drop of a hat.

Meanwhile, Possum is swallowing his pills and seems fine, although he still doesn't want to run around chasing toys or Wendy. And Wendy may have caught his virus, too. Since I gave up box-cleaning duty after my husband's return, I'm no longer the eagle-eyed poop detective I was. But we know someone is not well, and signs point to Wendy. It's not Snicky, for sure. And Snalbert seems to be doing quite well with his daily fluids.

I hope I won't have to give Wendy pills because she's gotten a lot tamer recently. We've had some excellent breakthroughs: she lets us casually pet her when she's curled up on the sofa or the bed, and I can stick out my hand and stroke if she walks by me when I'm at my desk. She often joins us at the dinner table and demands attention. That's been great. 


  1. Been there, done lots 'o (loads 'o) that.

    Wen things are normal with them all, do they share a litter box? The protesting pooper could be upset that abnormal stools are making the box smell/feel undesirable. Washing the box with diluted vinegar and allowing to soak followed by a dusting of baking soda before refilling with fresh litter is the easiest way I know to eliminate lingering aromas while giving a safe antimicrobial decontamination. So this, too, may pass....

    Sorry - as a multi species manure connoisseur in the past, I can't pass up excreta puns.

    If they are passing around a GI bug, adding a little live culture yogurt all around for a few days may help to ease upset intestinal tracts.

    Hope your sick ward duties come to a happy end soon.

  2. Have you considered tossing a bed pad ( those blue things made for people with a wee bit of a problem) on the bed where Snicky loves to settle. We use one for our 14-year-old dog- just in case.

    You can wash and dry them and they are soft and comfy so our little one usually settles right there. We even have one that covers the whole center of our bed if she's not feeling well.

    You know how to reach me if you need links or details.

  3. Has this behavior started after Possum's arrival? Could be she doesn't like sharing with another cat, or the smell of Possum's poo with his intestinal issues. Behaviorists say have 1 more box than cats, leave the boxes uncovered and use unscented litter. Some of our cat hospital clients have solved their 'out of litterbox' experiences in unique ways--boxes with no litter (put little rubber feet at the front of the box so it tilts gently to the back so they don't stand in pee) and just empty into toilet; use pee pads in the box, try one of the corn or wheat based litters.

    I have one comforter that makes a loud scritchy sound when they scratch on it and I think they associate that with scritchy litter. You might try laying one of those new microfiber blankets on top of your comforter and see if that helps--that is what I use exclusively now--3 of them on the bed and no comforter.


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