Monday, March 9, 2015

The Joys of Vacuuming

Vacuuming can be an adventure around here. To be accurate, it's a treasure hunt; I never know what I'll find. Last week, in addition to recovering Wendy's sparkly pompoms and Lion's plastic straws and tiny mice under just about every heavy piece of furniture, I turned up my favorite old comb. It had been missing for about six months. Somehow it had exiled itself under the wooden radiator cover in the bedroom. Why it did that is anyone's guess. (Perhaps it was embarrassed by its prominent missing teeth?) Why it chose to reappear last week, when I vacuum there all the time, is also anyone's guess.

I'm happy to have it back.

Last month, I made a less pleasant discovery.

Actually, before I tell you about that one, I should report last week's other Find. Someone put a large, dried "gift with purchase" (as we politely call them) under the refrigerator. My trusty Miele crevice tool hauled it out to my horror. Strange. It was not a hairball, but the other kind of "gift" that belongs in the bathroom. And I swear I vacuum under the fridge all the time, too.

I washed the crevice tool, which was a smart move because my comb materialized at the end of it a few minutes later.

So, anyway, about a month ago, I was wielding that crevice tool under the glass-fronted bookcases when it pulled out what I thought was a piece of some folksy Christmas ornament, made from natural materials. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that it was not a rustic flower, but the woody base of a head of garlic. Someone had chewed all the papery skins away and played soccer with the base.

Garlic is toxic to cats. I has always kept our garlic in a tiny bowl on our counter, "safely" "hidden" behind a much larger bowl.

Not anymore. It's in a cabinet now.

First I panicked. Then I remembered, or thought I remembered, throwing out a used-up head of garlic a few days earlier. It was down to one little clove, which seemed tired. A quick check around the tiny, empty bowl turned up that last clove, so it appeared that someone had just eaten all the papery skin attached to the base.

I called the vet in fear and trembling; this was around the time that Harris hadn't been feeling well.

She said she'd never heard of a cat helping itself to raw garlic.

You have now, I said.

She reassured me that the papery skin contains next to no toxins. She said that cats typically get sick from eating garlic when it's been cooked with other foods they like, such as meat. At which point I calmed down and realized that no one had been acting sick at all for some days. They were all eating with good appetite, keeping it down, and keeping busy stuffing toys, etc., under furniture. All was well.

Still, I vacuumed with trepidation after that. But I always procrastinate over vacuuming; I hate it. It's boring, it requires energy and core strength, I'm lazy, and it takes forever to get all the cat fur off the rugs.

And now I've got my comb back! So, so much for vacuuming. Any other "treasure" I excavate is likely to be Something I Do Not Want.

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