Blogging in E minor
Usually just a bunch of silly crap.

47th Post Deleted

Originally published as Arlo Must Die on Sept. 15, 2010.

I live in a litterbox. We have a 13-year-old cat called Arlo who shits, pisses and vomits all over the place.   

            Don’t let his handsome features fool you; he is a menace to society.   

            Our home reeks like the Crazy Cat Lady Hotel on its steamiest, stinkiest day. Upon entering our residence, one is greeted with the distinct odor of urea and ammonia. It’s unhealthy. We cannot have people over. It is no place to raise a kid!   

            I’ve grown tired of getting out of the shower and slipping on a pair of jeans, only to discover a leg saturated with cat piss.   

             Today my daughter, Bernadette, opened a Ding Dong. The packaging abruptly split open, ejecting the contents. The cake rolled down her leg and across the floor, rolling on-edge some distance before coming to rest on the carpet. She was actually trying to blow it off with the intent to eat it before I intervened:   

            “STOP!!!!!!!” I yelled. “You’re actually going to eat that after it rolled on the floor where Arlo pisses and shits and vomits?”   

            “I really want this Ding Dong,” she replied, again opening her mouth to devour the contaminated snack.   

            Darlin’ dear, the likes of e-coli and listeria are no laughing matter. “The five-second rule does not apply in our house,” I said. I gave her my Ding Dong and destroyed the toxic puck-cake in the incinerator, hoping I was not violating any hazardous waste disposal statutes in the process.   

            Arlo is a pig. He is such a glutton that he swallows his food whole, gets sick, and barfs it up. To my consternation, Arlo never performs this regurgitation ritual on easily cleaned surfaces, such as tile or linoleum. No! He must puke on carpeting, bed sheets or baskets full of laundry. Because he does not masticate, most of the vomited material is in its original form: little crosses, stars and fish shapes.   

            There are brown stains all over the house of varying darkness. Typically, the darker blotches coincide to the more inconveniently timed occurrences when we were too rushed to properly clean it up.   

            The pissing thing started about three years ago. He peed in storage containers filled with out-of-season clothing at my sister-in-law’s place while my wife was visiting. Then he started doing it at our house. Initially, we just had to be careful not to leave smelly clothes or dirty laundry baskets on the floor, and we were good. Now he will do this right in front of you, without any known cause or provocation.   

            Pooping outside of the litter has been an on-and-off thing that goes way back. This used to only happened when he was sick. Unfortunately, his malicious defecating has now becoming a daily occurrence.   

            Over the years, we’ve tried everything.   

           We put litter boxes all over the house to make Arlo’s business more convenient, including dedicating a closet to solely to this purpose. Sadly, this has produced no improvement whatsoever.   

            We’ve tried the thing where you isolate the cat in closed quarters with their litter box. The rationale is that the cat won’t pollute its living space and limits its bodily functions to the box. It is hoped that this behavior generalizes once it is let out.   

            This has produced some short-term reduction in the behavior,  though it seems to get less effective each time the technique is used. And the damn cat meows continuously while he is caged. Of course, my wife lets him out when she is home because she feels sorry for him, but then locks him up when she leaves home, goes to bed or when I have work to do in the adjacent room. The bastard is relentless in his nerve-wrenching crying.   

            About a year ago, we had his overactive thyroid removed. He felt better as a result and quit urinating and defecating out of the box – for just a little while. Then it started back up again.   

            So we’ve since returned to the vet with Arlo about his issues over and over again. Most of the time, they find nothing wrong with him. They now have him on antidepressants. How ‘bout some for me, Doc?   

            I’ve even tried making offerings to Bast — the Feline Goddess with pussy at both ends — to no avail.             

            Granted, I don’t profess to be an “animal” person. My father was raised on a farm and believed that critters should not be brought into the home. The house was for people, and the barn was for animals. That way, the house smells like a house and the barn smells like . . . livestock. Our dogs were always kept outside. End of story.   

            However, this changed when I got married at age 30. My wife’s cat, Chelsea, was part of the package, which meant that I needed to adjust to cat hair on furniture and poo in boxes.    

            To my surprise, Chelsea was a sweetheart. She would snuggle beside me while I did my undergrad work at home, and I grew quite attached to the “Chelster.” My wife called her my “study buddy.”   

            Then a few years later, my brother-in-law’s cat gave birth to a litter on Easter and, thus, Arlo the Easter Cat came to live with us.   

            Arlo was young and playful, whereas, Chelsea was becoming old, cranky and stubborn. Whenever something new was brought into the house, she reacted by taking a dump next to it. We managed to employ the “isolation technique” a few times with success. Gradually, however, the problem became worse.   

            When seven-year-old Bernadette came to live with us as a foster child, Chelsea regarded her as a “new thing” invading her “turf.” She began leaving Bernie “presents” on a regular basis. And this showed no sign of letting up. Eventually, we concluded that Chelsea would never accept Bernie, who we would soon be adopting.   

            Sadly, we had Chelsea put down at the vet on a cold, December Saturday.   

            I dug a little grave for her behind our house as the first flakes of the winter fell, and we buried her in my wife’s silky pajamas that Chelsea loved. Ever since, we call the first snow of winter “Chelsea’s Snow.” A metal frog with a shovel now marks her resting place.   

            The evening of Chelsea’s death, guilt and blame took their hold on us. My wife thought I had been insensitive and had bullied her into going along this. I, on the other hand, believed that my wife’s lack of resolve produced the series of half-measures that failed to solve the problem. Bernadette stepped in with some cruel comments, and she ended up wearing our dinner. It was an ugly scene.   

            This was a horrible experience, and we’ve been reluctant to repeat it. Thus, the severity of Arlo’s problems have been permitted to surpass Chelsea’s tenfold.   

            Arlo is my wife’s baby. He knows when she is sick and comforts her. Whenever Felicia had been pregnant, he seemed to instinctively know and lie upon her abdomen, purring deeply. They are inseperable .   

            He has been part of our family for many years. Thus, it is difficult to hate him so.   

             But I am at my breaking point.   

            Are there any alternatives to euthanizing this animal?  Can we conscionably give Arlo away to an unsuspecting family? Should we simply turn this overweight, clawless neurotic beast outdoors? Are there retirement communities that focus on incontinent, geriatric critters? Could we donate him to medical research? I am open to suggestions.   

            My wife is in denial about the severity of this situation. She complains about the paper clutter in the kitchen or the out-of-date décor of the bathroom, yet she has a passé tolerance to the omnipresent stench of urine in our house. If I take matters into my own hands, however, it would be seen as hateful, selfish act that will never be forgiven.   

            Nevertheless, I feel if something is not done, I must evacuate my own home. And in doing so, I must ask myself, do I also have a duty to remove my daughter from this unhealthy situation? I am at my wits end.   

            So hey, does anybody want a cat who would piss and shit and vomit all over your house?   

            If not, does somebody want to adopt an  ill-tempered, 40-something-year-old white guy with a female, African-American, teenaged sidekick. All of the above are free to a good home.   


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