Tag Archives: animals

Why our cats are more like hobos than house pets

I have come to the realization that our three cats are not really sweet, docile domesticated housecats.  Sure, at first glance, they give the appearance of normal cats.

Moon likes to lie on the bed with the wife and I and have his belly rubbed.

And, Magic is a kitten at heart.  A “perma-kitten,” the vet calls her.  She loves to play with string, paper balls and just about anything else that happens to dart in front of her eyes.

Sigyn is a bit more offbeat.  But if she hears the rustle of a treat bag, she’ll come running.

Normal, right?  Just like your cats, you say?

Or are they?

Yesterday, Moon jumped up on my lap.  Oh, how sweet turned into revulsion and horror as I felt something wet and smelled something bad.  Really bad.  He had just used the litter box and had apparently stepped in cat poop somewhere along the way.  I now had tiny poop pawprints on the front of my shirt.

He was like some kind of unkempt drifter with really bad toileting habits.

Disgusted, I tossed him off of me and went upstairs to grab a clean shirt.

When I came downstairs, I spotted Magic holed up in the cardboard box that I had used to haul home groceries from BJs.  Now, Magic has never been one to pass up a perfectly good cardboard box, but she was hunkered down and ready to spend the night.

She was all ghetto, squatting at the corner of desk and bookshelf.  It was a mini tent city for one.

Magic in tent city

At some point Moon came around to check out Magic’s new cardboard digs and to stir up trouble.  Because Magic had a cardboard box and he didn’t.  Bitch.

Magic laid claim to her new impromptu residence by stretching out the length of the box in an effort to ward off Moon and other potential squatters.  Go find your own corner, old man.

Moon looks for a place to squat

Moon backed off and disappeared.  No doubt to scout for his own box or maybe an abandoned duct or a vacant hallway that he could call home for the night.

Sigyn had already taken up residence under a broken chair.  She was curled up on a single sheet of newspaper.

Sigyn sleeps on a newspaper bed

The whole thing was like a scene from Cats, without the music, of course.

And, that’s when it hit me.  Our cats are more like squatters than house pets.

Curling up in boxes and under chairs.  Laying in windowsills and laundry baskets.  Tucking themselves away under beds and in dresser drawers.

Hobo cats.  Homeless cats.  Vagrant cats.  Seeking refuge, shelter, safety.  Sister, can you spare a dime?

Too good to beg.  Beg?  Oh, please.  But stealing whenever they can.  Knocking over trashcans in search of chicken bones and tuna fish cans.  Swiping a piece of meat from one plate and a bit of cheese from another.  Take a little bit here and a little bit there, so no one notices, they strategize.

Peeing in corners and on furniture.  Wherever they fucking please.  Because they’re cats and they can.  To hell with convention and litter boxes, they say.

Cat beds?  Those are for pussies, they say.

Breaking blinds and shredding furniture.  Carving their initials into the wooden banister with their talons.  Magic wuz here.  We didn’t pay for the shit, go to hell, they say.

Fighting amongst themselves.  Shrieking and hissing and clawing and clubbing each other with their raised fists.  I will cut you, they whisper back and forth.  Tiny, furry gangsters.

They have no respect for authority.  “No, no,” I tell them in a firm voice.

They turn their backs and walk away.  Looking for a free meal or a fight or a dry bed.  Whichever.  It doesn’t matter.

I hope there’s no trouble tonight in Kitty Tent City.

Moors and tethers and cat pee

I come back from running errands this morning and apologize to W.

“I’m sorry,” I say.

That’s the apology.  Standard issue.

But then I feel the need to expound.

The kids often ask me if I’m whistling.  “No, I’m just trying to release some steam so my head doesn’t explode,” I say.

I must have been a tea kettle in one of my former lives.

I give W my “I believe in” speech just like in Bull Durham, even though my rant has nothing to do with baseball or believing in anything, let alone whether Susan Sontag’s works are overrated or Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

This is what I say:

“Let me tell you how my brain works.  I think in a very linear way.  My brain goes from A to Z with no stops in between.  A, B, C, D and that’s it.  No, A point two or C and a half.  A, B, C, D.  I have a lot of stuff that I need to take care of.  And, I have everything mapped out in my head as far as what needs to get done and in what order and what I need to do to make sure that everything gets done.  So, when something happens that’s unplanned — and I know with kids and pets and jobs and life there are a lot of things that come up unexpectedly — I get thrown off.  I know that I shouldn’t get so freaked out, but I do.  I realize that it’s only cat pee, and I tell myself that, but I still get frustrated.”

Flash back to first thing this morning: Our boy cat Moon mistook an armchair for a litter box.

Our cat Moon

I have plans to fix up the downstairs of our house with some new paint and some new furniture, so the cat peeing on old furniture is a wrench in my mental gears.  Clunk.

Plus, cat pee stinks a lot and it’s gross and nearly impossible to clean.

I use these words to describe how I’m feeling:



I work from home so I’m always around when the animals have accidents in the house.

I continue with my speech, as I have a full head of steam:

“When we decided to move in together, I did not agree to take care of all animal feces, urine and vomit.  I would have agreed to 50/50.  60/40, maybe.  But I know for a fact that I never said that whenever an animal poops, pees or vomits in the house, I’ll take care of it.  I am not the designated poop picker-upper or pee cleaner.  I never once said that when there is poop or pee I’m your go-to guy.”

W laughed.  Hard.

I laughed, too.

She wants to get a cat whisperer for Moon.  Maybe we will.  She’s confident that we’ll be able to work through his urination problems.

I walked away feeling better about things.  A little more moored and tethered.

“Shit,” I hear W say.

“What’s the matter?”

“I just spilled my soda.”