When you own multiple cats, even when you are down one cat as we’ve become, it is virtually impossible to determine which one is doing what in the litter box. Short of surveilling the cats’ (shall we say) movements, it’s all guesswork.
Even if you set up camp and kept watch on the box, you would still never know which cat did what because cats will only do what you want the moment you glance away. It’s just how cats are.
We wanted to know what was going down litter-box-wise because one or more of the cats was producing—and here I’m sensitive to the fact that you may be eating breakfast—mushed banana. Like really gross. Even when your litter is the clumping kind, mushed banana is the far opposite of scooping fun. Oh, and also there’s probably something wrong with your cat.
Last week, we had to take sister cats Polly and Ollie for follow-up vaccinations and had been advised by the vet to bring a banana mush sample for testing. After isolating the cats, we determined with 70 percent certainty that Polly was the resident banana mush dispenser.
Deb couldn’t get away, so I alone jammed the cats into separate carriers lined with old bathmats, grabbed the plastic bruschetta container holding the previous evening’s sample and loaded the carriers into the back seat of the car.
I was barely out of town when: “Oh my God…!” I phoned Deb from the road.
“IT SMELLS SO BAD!”
She began to laugh, knowing exactly what had happened. “Maybe now you can get a fresher sample.”
“I’m not getting a sample. Good lord… It’s horrible!”
We hung up. Marriage is about sharing these special moments.
I pulled into a parking lot, hoping I would be able to deftly flick the offending banana out of the cage and into a snowbank. I glanced in Ollie’s cage. She stared back. I opened Polly’s cage: banana mush splat on the bathmat. There would be no flicking.
I wrestled the mat out of the cage and balled it up while preventing Polly from fleeing down the 143. I stashed the folded mat into the trunk, sanitized my hands, sanitized my hands again and continued on to the vet, wondering what was French for “the cat bananaed herself.”
To their credit, the vet folks didn’t blink an eye or gag a reflex, even when Polly left suspect footprints all over the stainless steel examination table. I kept making “Phew! Ugh!” sounds to indicate that this truly was an exceptional stinkiness and that I am not a negligent pet parent. But they were cool; I’m sure they’ve seen (and smelled) worse.
At the end of the appointment, I corralled the cats back in their carriers and into the still-reeking car, went back into the vet, asked for a plastic bag, went back to the car, opened the trunk, shoved the soiled bathmat into the bag and drove on to Lennoxville to pick up Abby for the weekend.
This time I made it about 5 minutes.
“Oh my God… IT’S HAPPENING AGAIN!”
I got to Abby’s apartment and grabbed three sheets of paper towels.
Three sheets were not enough.
When I opened Polly’s carrier, there was banana mush on the bottom, banana mush on the wall, banana mush undoubtedly somewhere on the cat. I opened the cage on the driveway, holding back the panicky cat with one hand while struggling to clean the plastic with the other. “Maybe if I put the cat in the back seat,” I thought, realizing too late that if there was undoubtedly banana mush somewhere on the cat, it would be on the feet. “Back in the cage!”
Having cleaned Polly and her cage as best I could, I checked on Ollie, who was staring out of her cage. Just inside her door sat a firm, ripe banana. Et tu, Ollé?
Thankfully it was flickable.
I warned Abby about the atmosphere in the car. She was not impressed. That made two of us. After disposing of the mess, sanitizing my hands, sanitizing my hands again, then washing my hands, we drove home breathing through our mouths. We tried opening the windows but that merely generated a swirling vortex of stink.
Long story short, we got home, carried the cat carrier to the bathtub, cleaned it and the cat, I released Polly, she skidded across the hardwood floor, I wiped down the car, moved the bagged bathmat to the porch to confirm whether Deb wanted to salvage it or burn it, put on a load of laundry, washed my hands five more times, and the whole afternoon cost me $277.46 plus gas.
On the plus side, we now know definitively which cat has the loose bowels.