“My mission is to create a world where we can live in harmony with nature.” — Jane Goodall
“My mission is to get the litter box scooped out before Lacy shows up.” — Jeff Brown
Every day when I get home from work, I do what millions of other normal people do: I pan for gold in the litter box.
Speaking of normal, I’d like to take a brief time out from this column to tell the world exactly how normal I am. Please be assured, there is no unusual behavior going on in my house. In fact, if you look up “normal” in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of me putting my pants on one leg at a time.
Interesting fact: These dictionaries are banned in some conservative school districts.
Where was I? Oh yeah– the litter box. I don’t know why I pan for gold in the litter box. It’s not like I’ve ever found any gold nuggets in there (just the fool’s kind) or heard anybody exclaim, “There’s gold in that thar cat box!”
Okay, it’s time I come clean about my cleaning responsibilities. I know exactly why I’m the one who cleans the litter box: guilt.
There are two cats and a dog who thinks he’s a cat that live in my little house. My wife is the one who usually feeds them, takes them to vet, and walks the dog at 2:00AM while I’m dreaming of the good old days when I didn’t know what it felt like to step in cat barf or dog poop with bare feet in the middle of the night. I figure the least I can do is scoop out the litter box for her. (Being a compulsive neat freak has absolutely nothing to do with it.)
Of course, like millions of other normal people, I don’t enjoy the job. And let’s face it, cats can really be pigs. Oh, I’ve tried to get them to take some responsibility for their disgusting litter-slinging actions, but the THIS IS YOUR BATHROOM. PLEASE KEEP IT CLEAN sign didn’t seem to help much.
What makes the task even worse is the complete lack of modesty demonstrated by our one-year-old cat, Lacy. Oftentimes I’m in mid-scoop when she’ll barge in on me for a last minute (how shall I put this?) gold deposit. Then she’ll glare at me as if I’m some sort of peeping tom. (Sorry, but I just couldn’t pass that one up.)
Lacy: Do you mind?
Jeff: Do you mind?
I remember one time when Waterfall, my daughter’s cat, couldn’t wait for me to finish cleaning his box. I turned around and was surprised to find him sitting inside the big plastic litter container I carelessly left open.
Jeff: Oh my Gosh! (Picks Waterfall up in mid-stream)
Wife: You should probably put the cat back down.
I suppose it could be argued that I have a gift when it comes to cats– a gift or a curse. I haven’t figured out which. A gift because they’re so darned comfortable around me that they do whatever comes natural to them, and a curse because, well…they’re so darned comfortable around me that they do whatever comes natural to them.
Maybe I could use this new found super-power to my advantage. Maybe I could become famous for studying animal behavior like Jane Goodall, but study house pets instead of chimps. I should start taking notes.
Excerpt from Jeff’s Wildlife Diary: Today I observed the dog eat all the cat food again. Shadow, the big male cat, ate out of the dog’s dish, but promptly regurgitated under the coffee table. Later on, as I finished panning for gold in the litter box, Lacy decided I wasn’t done yet.
Yeah, just another normal day around here.