The best thing about indoor cats is that they are relatively self-sufficient. Other than making sure they have food to eat and scooping out their litter boxes occasionally, a matter I will address shortly, there’s not much else in the way of regular maintenance required. You don’t have to take cats out for walks in all kinds of weather multiple times each day. You don’t need to carry around a little, plastic poop baggie with you so when your dog poops on one of your neighbor’s lawns, you can do your duty, so to speak, and pick it up...as best you can...and then carry the little poop-filled baggie with you back to your house where you have to dispose of it.
We have a pet cat. He was a stray cat hanging out in our neighborhood a few years ago and my wife, who has never been particularly fond of cats, inexplicably decided to “adopt” him. So we became a cat family.
Our cat’s name is Colbert. Yes, he was named after Stephen Colbert, host of the Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report. We named him that because (1) The Colbert Report is (along with The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) one of our favorite, not to be missed TV shows, (2) his fur, like Stephen Colbert’s hair, is black, and (3) like his namesake, he’s wickedly funny and entertaining in a strange sort of way.
I mentioned in my opening paragraph that I would address litter boxes. When you have a pet cat, litter box maintenance is a must. It’s not a terribly time consuming task, nor is it either difficult or intrusive. But it’s a task that must be taken seriously...for the cat’s sake as well as for the owner’s.
We actually have two litter boxes in our house. One is in the pantry between the dining room and the kitchen. This is the “master” litter box. The other one, what I’ll call the “guest” litter box, is upstairs in my home office. I work from home most of the time, so I spend a lot of time in my home office.
Occasionally Colbert will grace me with his company while I’m working, sprawling out on the rug next to my desk, jumping up on the couch opposite my desk, and occasionally hopping up onto my lap, ostensibly to be stroked and to purr in his ingratiating way, but really in order to leave many strands of his black cat fur all over my shirt and pants.
Of the two litter boxes, Colbert mostly uses the “master” litter box in the pantry. In fact, until recently, he rarely used the one in my office. He knows it’s there, but he just didn’t seem to feel the need to take care of business that particular litter box. It happens to be about half the size of the “master” litter box and Colbert, at around 18 pounds, is not a small kitty. So it’s got to be a tight fit for him to do his thing in there.
For some reason, though, the litter box in my office seems to be getting more use lately. In fact, Colbert’s use of the litter box in my office is my muse today. When I walked into my office first thing this morning, I was accosted by the unmistakable aroma of cat poop. What a lovely way to start my workday.
A cat with a short fuse
I’ve never had a cat before Colbert, so I don’t know if cats are typically quick to anger. One of Colbert’s traits is that he seems to have a short fuse. He gets angry if you’re not doing what he wants you to do when he wants you to do it. Of course, since he’s a cat, he can’t speak a language understandable to human beings. He also cannot write you a note, send you an e-mail, or text you. Thus, it’s often difficult to know what it is that he wants you to do. And that is when he can get angry.
Let me offer up a few examples of things that seem to piss off Colbert. When I’m sitting at the kitchen table reading the newspaper and sipping my coffee in the morning (i.e., ignoring him), he will jump up on the table and position himself right on top of the newspaper, preventing me from reading it. If I maneuver the paper out from underneath him and hold it up and attempt to read it, Colbert will swat at my hands, claws extended. On those occasions when I am not fast enough to get my hands out of the way, his claws-outs swats often draw blood. Ouch!
will also jump at your leg and start to bite you if you’re not giving him his
proper due. The other day my wife was
sitting on the porch reading her book.
It was a gorgeous day, so I grabbed Colbert and the two of us went
outside to keep my wife company for a while.
At first, Colbert seemed content to sit on my lap, sniffing the air, looking around, and purring while I stroked him. But after a while, he grew restless and attempted several times to jump off my lap and scamper away. I sternly warned him to sit still and stay put, but did he listen? Of course not. He’s a friggin’ cat. So I stood up, took him back inside the house, and put him down on the floor. He immediately lunged at my leg and started to bite me.
I shook him off, scolded him, and went back outside for a few more minutes. When I came back into the house, Colbert was not in sight. Since it was around 5:30 p.m., I went upstairs to my office to shut down my computer and as I approached the office door, I was hit with the stink. I turned the corner, peeked into my office, and found Colbert hopping out of the litter box. He looked up at me and I swear he had a twinkle in his eyes and this wicked smile on his cat-face, as if to say, “You piss me off, I’m going to stink up your goddam office.”
I’m not sure what pissed him off enough this morning to cause him to leave me his smelly little present in the “guest” litter box. He must have snuck off when I was reading the paper, sipping my coffee, and ignoring him!