Sunday, May 16, 2021

Are there biological substances to be cleaned up somewhere in the house? That would be Dad’s job.

Somewhere along the way, probably dating back to the mid-90s when we lived in our old house, it became my job (and almost exclusively my job) to clean up any and all bodily fluids and excretions deposited in inappropriate places.

You would assume I’m talking about pet messes, and I am. But human accidents also qualify. One time, when one of our children was very young, he/she stood at the top of our stairs (still clearly asleep), said the words “I can’t take it anymore,” and proceeded to pee in a manner that the urine ran down the first several of the carpeted stairs.

Terry cleaned up the child, I cleaned up the carpet.

It’s not that I’m any better at this task than anyone else, mind you. I’m just more willing to literally get my hands dirty, I guess.

This has all become more relevant in recents weeks as we have undertaken various home renovations, from a new basement floor to redoing our master bathroom.

Anyone who has ever endured home improvement projects knows a certain amount of chaos is inevitable. Your life and your routines get turned on their ear for a time, which is fine when it comes to the humans in the house.

Our five cats, however, don’t take change well. Or at least the older few don’t.

The result has been that Fred, my longtime feline companion, has taken to peeing in places that are decidedly not his litter box. I’ve stepped in and/or cleaned up more cat pee in the last few weeks than probably the last several years combined.

We’ve tried almost everything you can do to get him to stop, but as of this writing, we’re leaning toward a solution that has worked in the past with Fred. It’s likely we’ll be locking him up in our basement storage room for a week or so with his special urinary tract food, water, and a litter box so that he can retrain himself around where and where not to pee.

I imagine this will go a long way toward solving the problem, but I’m sad at the idea of putting Fred in kitty prison for a week because, you know, he’s my buddy. We spend a lot of time together, and I know the days of his confinement will be nothing but misery for him.

But then the stench of cat pee fills my nostrils again and I become resolute. Fred, you are hereby sentenced to a week in The Hole. Your only hope is to remember that we buy that expensive Arm & Hammer kitty litter every few weeks for a reason, my friend.

UPDATE 5/16/21: Since this was written, Fred did spend the better part of two weeks in the storage room, and the messes stopped. He also went to the vet and was diagnosed with a thyroid condition that likely contributed to the peeing problem. He is now on a day-release program (he only spends nights in cat jail) and is doing well, and has just started a course of medicine that should help. Go Fred!

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