Saturday, October 22, 2016

Breakable Upon Use

Last night, I was cleaning out the litter-boxes, as I usually do before bed. Some people drink warm milk, some read, others listen to music. I scoop unmentionable crap from big plastic boxes filled with desiccated corn chips. I’d like to claim it as a long-standing family tradition, handed down through the generations. It’s not.

Anyway, some of the beasts will wet against the inside walls of the box, so I press the scoop against the wall to free the resultant clump. Usually, the worst that happens is that the clump breaks apart. This time, the scoop broke apart. It didn’t just break; it snap and sent a shower of used litter all over the storeroom. These things, like Tucker getting into the old house’s fireplace, or Josie throwing up, tend to occur just after I shower and just before I go to bed. Timing is everything.

The picture was taken once the crime-scene was cleaned up. After all, the bowl of the scoop was still operable. Unfortunately, it’s as close to using my hands as I’ve yet come, and closer than I wanted to. I determine to buy a new scoop the next day.

I was already planning to go to the local Dollarama, so I decided to buy a scoop there. The Dollarama is the twenty-first century’s version of the old Five-and-Dime Stores – for those of us who are old enough to recall them – or the old Woolworth’s – for those of us in Canada or Britain. The new scoop was cheap but serviceable. It was, in fact, almost identical, but for colour, to the old one.

It snapped in two the first time I used it. I recall a rake that did the same thing: the handle shattered within seconds of applying the tool to leaves. The difference is that leaves feel much less unhygienic to the touch than does the product one must scoop. This photograph I took immediately subsequent to the incident. I think I wanted proof that it had transpired yet again.

I was not fooling around this time. I went to the pet-supply shop where I buy cat-food and litter and bought a heavy-duty scoop. Steel bowl, titanium handle, with battery-powered solid-fuel thrusters for propulsion and gyroscopic stabilizers to maintain equilibrium, and micro-chip relays to satellites in geo-synchronous orbit for topographically accurate guidance. All right, it was thicker plastic than the previous two. And it stayed in one piece.

I will buy another, cheap scoop as a reserve, but I don’t anticipate the current one breaking any time soon. But if it does, no one gets to use the litter-boxes until I buy a replacement.


  1. I must say that I have little tolerance for cleaning out litter boxes and admire that you have to clean up after your crew. Sometimes the cheaper option is not the best, so glad that you found a more hardy model.

  2. As I recall the scoops did always seem to break at the worst possible time,such as when you are dressed up to go out and a notice a particularly stinky deposit. I tended to use the old metal kitchen utensil strainer thingy. Sorry I can't recall what is is called but they lasted a good long time.

  3. I can sympathize. I've had plastic litter scoops break many times in the 40+ years I've had cats. So I purchased a scoop made of metal instead of plastic. I've had it forever. It won't break. However, while my scoop is battery powered, it doesn't have satellite relay. ('Ya think I can get one of those on Amazon??) :-)

  4. ROTFL! This is one your funniest posts, ever. Of course these things always happen just after showering and right before bedtime. Next time I do a post, I must mention what happened to me last night, right after showering and before bed time. No cats involved, though.

    BTW, I have a Dollarama scoop, and while it's still intact, it's certainly not sturdy. I use it for the outdoor box, which is used mainly by Derry. (It's Nicki who almost always pees on the side of the plastic, so that one has to chisel off the clump to get it off.) The two other scoops I have (one upstairs, one down) are sturdier, probably got those at PetSmart. But of course now I want a microchipped, satellite-guided one! :-D

  5. Ewwww...don't you just hate that when it happens? I used to have a cheap one (probably from $ Store or Walmart) but one time I was away and friends were taking care of the cats and when I got home I had a really nice solid one. Not quite as technologically advanced as yours ;p but definitely well made.

    Have a great week!

  6. I love that picture with the contented sweet whiskers turned up ready for a smooch! Kissable face there...very tempting. But oh! Scoops. I have a sturdy one for Admiral when she was with me. Very feminine with flowers on it! I have never seen them offered with a pretty design since. And when Katie came to stay, I use it for her box as well. I haven't had one snap on me yet but when the time comes if it does, I will pony up and get a good one. I keep a stash of rubber gloves in a drawer near the box in case of an unfortuitious accident. I like made-up words...there's one!

  7. My brother in law used to supply pet shops and gave me two thick plastic scoops years ago. They are both still going strong, but I do keep a small fire grate shovel for removing any welded to the side clumps.

  8. Some scoops do break easily, depends on the kind of clumping litter too.

  9. having good tools is key to not fully dreading the job :)