Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Surviving the Noxious Fumes of an Elderly Feline

First, let me say that my cat, Hankie, age 19, has been and still is the best cat in the world. He outlasted my marriage (and was way more fun) ((and way smarter than the spouse)) (((and had better table manners))), moved back and forth to France with me, and even learned to hate the French with me.

He is incredibly affectionate, purr-y, cuddly, all the stuff emphasized in the "How to Be the Best Cat in the World" manual.

And he also can drop a pile in his litter box that is weapons-grade nuclear in its olfactory explosiveness. If the fumes catch you off guard, if you are untrained in the ways and odors of Hankie, your head will instantly become a mushroom cloud, and there won't even be the briefest of warnings in order to allow your life to pass before your watering eyes.

Case in point: Night before last, still hacking from my student-induced flu, and still nursing my stuffy head and paralyzed sinuses, I decided to reward myself with a long, hot, relaxing bath. I went all girlie and used bubble bath, positioned my high-falutin' inflatable bath pillow behind my tired shoulders, and lowered myself into the steamy world of No One Can Bother Candy Here, Can They?

Hankie's litter box is about 8 feet from the bathtub, just past the open bathroom door. I don't close the bathroom door when I'm bathing. It just feels more luxurious.

The very second my whole body was immersed, Hankie very innocently approached his litter box. A bit of a surprise, since, when I ran my bathwater, he had been sleeping the peaceful sleep of the sinless on the living room floor.

But stealthily, he approached. I became nervous. From my reclined position in the tub, I could see only his face looking outward, over the side of his litter box. And then I saw the look. The one of deep philosophical concentration that comes upon his face when he is dumping a supreme load.

I was trapped in my own sanctuary. He jumped out of the box and ran. Another sign that the thud has come down. I was doomed. The smell would reach me in seconds. I leaned up and grabbed the sparkly shower curtain and yanked it closed. Maybe that would save me.

Let me tell you how effective that was. Like holding an umbrella over my head to shield me from a falling anvil. Like stretching saran wrap around a pen of lambs to keep the wolves from attacking. Like spraying Lysol in a house that you've built on Love Canal.

When the stench hit my lungs, I had no choice but to climb dizzily out of the tub, hand over mouth, soapsuds flying every which way, and stumble to the litter box to pour in more litter. You see, Hankie, in his way of thinking, has decided it is simply undignified in one's golden years, to cover up one's steaming creations. He lets his freak flag fly.

I have heard my students overuse the saying "I threw up a little in my mouth." I had never experienced it. Until the very moment that I crouched too close to the fresh pile as I was covering it. It did hit me that I was naked at a litter box, covering up someone else's crap. Even a cave woman would have protested. It was one of many moments in my life when I wondered what other people are doing.


  • At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Like holding an umbrella over my head to shield me from a falling anvil.


    Unbelievably funny.

  • At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Instead of spending my morning grading freshmen compositions so poorly written that I occasionally must bang my forehead on my keyboard so that in the middle of my tactfully typewritten constructive criticisms of their work you see "ag'fpgjeh35q9a'gsaia[eruw9," I have been reading hysterically funny blogs.

    Candy, yours is the best!

  • At 4:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sometimes, when I have people at my house, my cat will choose to grace us with his presence. He will stay very close to me, no doubt fearful of what others will do to him. Then all of a sudden, a heinous small develops. I don't think anyone believes me when I say it was the cat. I do wonder what my cat is eating when I'm not in the house...

  • At 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I meant SMELL not SMALL of course.


Post a Comment

<< Home