Why I’m a Dog Person

Some days things happen that are so beyond the pale of ridiculosity that they simply will not be contained in a mere Facebook status.  Today, that thing is that I sat in cat poop.

Mostly, I like our cats, Alphie and Lucy.  They are silly and roly-poly.  Alphie has a falsetto meow that makes his 19 lb frame sound positively kittenish, and Lucy has an unerring instinct for lying adorably on top of you just before the phone rings or something needs to be taken off the stove.

But like all cats, they have their little neuroses.  For Alphie, it is the complete lack of an ability to handle a food bowl with fewer than 1/4 cup of kitty kibble in it.  For Lucy, it is any change to her environment that could potentially upset her delicate understanding of the world, a misfortune that will automatically result in passive-aggressive pooping.

Unfortunately for Lucy, the world contains many things that could overwhelm her tiny feline synapses with complexity. Recently she has had many to choose from.  It could have been the way my mom unceremoniously bribed her into a cat carrier and brought her to the house she’s spent 1/3 of her life in so that I could cat-sit.

It could have been the fact that this house also contains two dogs, one with no sense of personal space, and the other with no sense of what “stop licking ___ (my toes / the floor / the cat’s butt)___!” means.  (This second dog is a Corgi mix, and as a result, cannot reach her own butt, or else she’d have an endless source of occupation in life.)

It could even have been the fact that the cat box was located an inconvenient ten paces from the bedroom where she spends the majority of her time trying to either hide under the bed or steal the other cat’s food.

The culprit is on the right. To review: sleeping with your head against another cat’s butt for hours: totally fine. Being made to sleep by yourself in an empty king-size bed: cause for complete meltdown.

Perhaps seeing this next-door distance of the catbox as an insurmountable hassle, the cat instead chose to slink downstairs in the dead of night, hop over the Corgi mix sleeping at the bottom of the stairs, steal down the hallway and into the family room, and poop her protest into the back of my dad’s favorite armchair.

I should have known the moment I went to let my dog–the one without the sense of personal space–out in the morning.  Usually he bounds like an excited jackaroo to the back door and dances around until I let him out.  But this morning he did a sniffing circuit of the armchair first.  He didn’t land on a specific location for checking out, and thinking that he must be picking up on a burned-out electronic accident that happened yesterday (house-sitting is going super well, Mom and Dad!), I let him out and thought no more of it.

In the course of the morning, I decided to curl up in the armchair, drink tea, and watch an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I prepared the Earl Grey. I queued up Hulu.  I sat in the chair.  And then…I smelled the smell–the smell all cat-owners know and dread: the smell of fecal feline protestation against the vagaries of life and the GI tract.  I looked around the chair and saw nothing. With an increasing sense of the inevitable, I slowly stood…and turned…and saw.

After a load of laundry, a test of my gag reflex, and a regimen of plastic bags, Lysol wipes, and Febreze, normalcy had been restored.

More or less.

Let’s just say that later, when I went to have a cavity filled at the dentist’s, I had the pleasure of sitting in that foreboding chair and reflecting that the nice man about to drill into my tooth was no longer going to be the worst part of my day.

Also, a closing postscript: when my mother called to check on the house and I told her about my tragic morning, her first response was: “I’m sure the cat doesn’t mean to.  It’s the way the poop sticks to her butt.”

This defense did not work for me when I was potty-training, Mom, and it should not work now.

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