If at first you don’t succeed

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I’m writing this evening’s post from the comfort of my bed, rather than from the comfort of my couch. This is because I don’t care to sit on tinfoil. I have placed tinfoil on my couch not for the aesthetic value—though let me assure you, the tacky shiny silver look is nothing if not eyecatching—but for the antiuterine value.

When I got home from visiting Mom and Dad over Christmas, I discovered that Bubby had left me his own Christmas present, three artfully arranged pieces of poo. He is a thoughtful kitty.

I promptly discarded the present and made a mental note to keep an eye on the situation. My hope was that it was a one-time occurrence; maybe it was Bubby’s way of encouraging me to stay home more often.

How did I know that Bubby was the perp, rather than Gobby or Gremmy? The answer I offer to the general public is that the location indicted him: Bubby spends most of his time on the couch, ergo he was the likely culprit. What I will not admit publicly is that I can distinguish among my cats’ various bodily wastes. Yeech.

A few days later, unfortunately, more poo appeared. And then a few days later, a bit of urine showed up in the same spot.

“Showed up” is a misleading phrase. It suggests that the urine appeared to the naked eye. This is inaccurate, because kitty pee blends in quite well with my couch. I in fact discovered the urine not through my visual sense but through my tactile sense, viz., I sat in it. For about an hour, if you must know. It was during my visit to the human toilet that I found my own bottom to be saturated in cat pee.

Pets. Aren’t they great?

The next day I took Bubby to the nearest vet. The nearest vet is one of the pricier places in town, but the key word here is “nearest.” None of my cats like riding in the car. Bubby handles it better than the other two, but that’s not saying much; he was so traumatized by the mile-long car ride that he peed all over himself en route.

“Well, at least we know he’s not having trouble peeing,” joked the vet. She’s probably the best vet I’ve ever had. She’s got a sense of humor, and she didn’t mind at all that she had to examine a pee-soaked kitty—though she did shampoo him afterward, gratis. Plus she has a sweet demeanor and an impressive vocabulary. Being something of a wordsmith myself, it takes someone special to impress me in that sense. (Not that it is germaine to veterinary science, but it still counts for points in my book).

At any rate, I won’t keep you in suspense: Bubby is fine. His blood test and his urine test came back fine. (The urine I had to collect myself, since there was none left in his kitty bladder by the time he reached the vet. I do not recommend collecting kitty urine on your own unless you have to. In my experience it involves an emergency trip to the laundromat to wash your bed linens.)

His inappropriate eliminations are a behavioral issue, not a medical issue. What is causing the behavior is still a mystery to me, but I’m hoping to discourage him away from the couch and back to the litter box. This is why my living room is currently decorated in Faux Futuristic.

In other domestic news, I have twice now used my slow cooker to brew chai. Recipes vary, but the common ingredients are ginger, clove, cinnamon, tea, milk, and cardamom. The first time I tried it, I used ground clover and ginger, and whole cinnamon and cadamom, and it came out quite well. The second time I ran out of stick cinnamon, so I substituted with powder, and it came out less well. The taste wasn’t as good, and the texture was a bit silty.

But you know what they say: if at first you don’t succeed, chai, chai again.

I shall chai again tomorrow, I think, armed with whole spices for each ingredient, nevermind that I don’t know the first thing about chopping ginger.

(Ginger: I just realized that this word anagrams into a racial slur. This is unfortunate, kind of like how Santa anagrams into Satan. What is it with me and anagrams? I mentioned to a new mother the other day, a colleague of mine, that her son’s name was superb—not just because “Miles” is a stellar name, but because it anagrams into “Smiles.” Should have shut my mouth there, but then I just had to go and mention that it also anagrams into “Limes” and “Slime.”)

The experiments I’ve chaid this week have led me to a deeper appreciation of the value of cardamom, a spice whose existence I’d basically never even heard of till a few days ago. It is aromatic and tasty and, I realize now, it is a big part of why I love Indian food so much. It is also the third-most expensive spice in the world. Saffron (which I thought was just a color, amazing the things you learn) come in first, with vanilla taking second place.

As for cardamom, well, I can’t justify spending the ten dollars per very small container at the cheap grocery store (and it was fifteen at the pricey grocery store!), and since there are no ethnic stores nearby (not surprising; we hardly have any ethnic people, even) I decided to buy it in bulk online. The unit price was far better, though wild horses couldn’t compel me to confess how much money I just spent on it. Suffice it to say that five pounds of cardamom will be arriving on my doorstep soon.

This will keep me in chai heaven for quite a while, I should think.  I might also experiment with grinding it in my coffee; apparently this is what furriners do in Asia and the Midde East. Other suggestions about using cardamom are welcome; leave your thoughts in the comments, please.

And now I think I’ll finish Moon Called, the first novel in an urban fantasy series by Patricia Briggs. I’m not loving it, but I’m liking it well enough that I think I’ll continue with the next book. Normally I like to curl up on the couch while reading, but tonight I think I’ll stay in bed if it’s all the same to you.

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12 responses »

  1. One of my cats sometimes can’t be bothered to trek all the way to his box and uses the sink instead. Which is especially nasty if I’m behind in dishwashing. One solution that has worked well is putting in some extra boxes and after each meal I pick him up and put him into the nearest box. He usually takes the hint. He can also get bullied by the other cats so I’ll also stand guard for him while he’s in the box. And once when we took him to the vet with this problem our wonderful vet knows him so well irratated him until he was so angry he peed on her. She got her sample and I didn’t have to segregate him from the other cats and collect it myself. Good luck with Bubby.

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  2. If you have an ice cream maker, or a friend’s you could borrow/steal, cardamom ice cream is amazing! Also, when making rice, toss some in there while it’s cooking and the rice will be cardamom-scented.

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  3. Jessica,I purchased an additional litter box yesterday, along with an alternative type of litter. Now my kitties can pee on corn OR on gravel. Fingers crossed this will work.

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  4. Cathy,That sounds divine. It transpires that a colleague has an ice cream maker– though I think I’ll wait for the weather to warm up a bit. I’ll appreciate it more then. In the meantime I’ll drink lots and lots of hot chai.

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  5. That’s so weird – Butters has been doing the same thing lately… just, not on the couch. Instead, his target is my white carpets. *sigh* At least the fluorescent yellow stains are easy to see to clean up after. :/ I invested in a SpotBot but so far it’s been, uh, spotty (har har) in getting out set-in stains. I just wonder, why NOW? He’s been in the house for 2+ years and only now has decided the litter box just ain’t his thang, and it’s only sometimes, not all the time. Ahhhgghghghhhh why, cat, why?!And now I know that "ginger" has two ways of being derogatory! Hah. :X

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  6. A good rule to follow for litterboxes = (number of cats) + 1. Another problem is when they’ve soiled an item, its really hard to get the ammonia out and they think it smells like a litterbox. You need something like Nature’s Miracle or other enzymatic cleaner to get rid of the (human-undetectable) scent.

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  7. Ianaly: I had a second box for a long time. None of them ever used it. This time around the attempt looks like it might be successful: someone, Gremlin probably, has used it several times. Bubby hasn’t, but he did definitely go in the old box. I’m not calling this a victory yet, but signs are positive.

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  8. clarinet playing tubastard blackhawk lover

    I have not reached out in a while, so I am glad to see I’m not the only one with cat defecation issues. We have a cat that has decided the bath tubes make perfectly acceptable urinals. And also the walls. I bought a black light to help me find the stains….Happy New Year!

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  9. A black light, that’s brilliant. I don’t need it, though, because Bubby is considerate enough to keep peeing in the same spot on the couch. Sigh.Happy new year to you too.

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  10. One of my cats–I suspect it’s Squeaks because it only happens when she’s inside–does it in the right place, but totally misses the box.You’re probably going to have to have that sofa steam-cleaned and then use something like the Nature’s Miracle on the same cushions.You are going to have to come to Richmond in April for Raven Con (www.ravencon.com). There are a LOT of writers there, and our main guest will be Rachel Caine. (Which reminds me, I have to go get a couple of her books to read really quickly. Would help since I’m the publicity chair, right?)

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  11. Chessie: the couch will need some cleaning, but oh well. Given the choice between having cats or having nice furniture, I’ll stick with the kitties. As for the con, thanks for the invite, but I don’t imagine cons are my cup of tea.

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  12. eelemosenary archivist

    Lordy, Jess, Take the cats n peers out for half an hour once a week.Watch what they like to raise a tail upon and procure a supply of "catnatch" to use as box litter. The felines are going nuts from winter confinement. If it works market the idea:) tgb/EA

    Reply

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