Saturday, April 24, 2021

The Demon of the Litter-box

So far, things are continuing well at the Cosy Apartment. Tucker’s appetite is good, even on a reduced level of Mirtazapine; the big test will come when the supply runs out. I won’t renew it unless necessary. I of course want him to eat well without it, though even with it, he may not need much.

I was able to load up on the soft-food varieties that the beasts prefer; thanks to a couple of serendipitous sales, I twice bought a large number of tins at decent prices, and thus was able to stay within my cat-budget this month. Other sales enabled me to do the same within the much less important human-food budget. It’s the rare moment when I think of what I need to buy at the shops, and the answer is “nothing”.

However, I must disregard such insignificant matters for now and write about what is truly important: litter-box etiquette.

There are three boxes in the Cosy Apartment, two in the storeroom and one across the corridor in the library. In their use of these receptacles, the three cats here are contrasts.

Renn is undoubtedly the least trouble. He prefers the box in the library. The litter that he kicks out during his waste management is negligible and he has never been known to miss the confines of the box. His one problem is the great and powerful stink that arises from his solid deposits. The litter I use is a good product, but even it takes about twenty minutes to overwhelm the force of my big boy’s refuse. Nonetheless, Renn is clean and conscientious, so his olfactory infractions are forgiven.

Tucker gives the odd problem. Usually he faces outward when wetting, and inward when crapping. Sometimes, I accidentally catch him in mid-use, his head protruding from the box, the rest of his sausage-shaped form lost in shadow. He always wears a look of mortification when caught at such a time, his embarrassment perhaps being great. Now and then, the Tuxter will reverse his directions and wet with his bum toward the entrance. Sometimes, this results in a small puddle outside the boxes. I place a neatly folded towel under them for the purpose of containing such spillage. It is a small difficulty and easily cleaned.

Then there is Neville. The results of the Nevsky’s wetting is without complaint. Logistically, he adds to my work, because he will often wet in one room, then cross the corridor to visit a box in another room for his pooping. He sometimes kicks up the soaker pad in the library before he leaves.

But it’s his second visit that causes some contention. His crap can create the most god-awful contamination of the air since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. If Renn’s malodorous concoctions are like the Artful Dodger, Neville’s are Jack the Ripper. They are not just foul, they are malevolent, as if they represent the birth of some hideous demon. What’s more, in his joy to be rid of such abominations, Nev will sometimes rush from  the box without actually waiting for the logical conclusion. Sometimes I find the evidence of his monstrous actions on the floor in front of the box. I must dawn my magical armour, gather up the disgusting little enemies of light and cast them back to the nether regions whence they came. (No, not those nether regions; metaphorical nether regions.)

Well, when all is written and done, they aren’t too bad a lot. I have been lucky, really. Cammie used to wet just outside the box half the time. I placed a soaker pad there and little trouble ensued. Josie would wet outside as well, but that was a reflection of her once large bum sticking out the entrance, and even when she was old and weak, she would dutifully make the trip to the box to do her business. Few of my other cats of fond memory gave me problems, and never habitually.

I could use larger boxes, but space is, well, cosy, in the Cosy Apartment, and, except in the case of Tucker’s few transgressions, would probably change nothing. I have experimented with uncovered boxes but have found no difference. As everyone who has cats knows, litter-boxes are not just feline washrooms, but barometers of cat-health. I watch their habits, their products; a change in texture or quantity, irregularity or discolouration; all are part of the constant vigilance on behalf of the cats’ well-being. If I were rich enough to afford a dozen maids and several footmen, I would still scoop the beasts’ litter-boxes myself, to keep apprised of the animals’ conditions.

Besides, I doubt that there is money enough in all the world to induce anyone else to face the devil from Neville.


  1. Neville sounds like my Danni. When she uses the litter box, everyone for miles around is aware of it.

  2. HeHe! Only you John could write such an
    interesting post about..about..let me
    see now..? 'Going to the bathroom'..
    That's about as rude as l get..! :).

    AND..Nevelle's face sitting on the sofa
    there, does'nt look to pleased about you
    discussing his personal 'finances'..
    HeHe! Bless him!x

  3. You certainly have your hands full or I should say litter boxes full of work. What a riot to read about their habits. And I know how cats are with the litter box, seems like every cat has a different way of using it. And then we it to clean up later. But I never minded because my girls are always did their best to stay in the Box.

  4. So far Katie is always within the litter box. I kept getting larger and larger one and as she herself wrote in her blog a year ago, this one is termed "jumbo" which made her embarrassed and peeved at mancats reading that! It is crowded into its area..but it does her well as she can turn herself around. She has very long pantaloons and sometimes as she issues forth from the box she does so with hang-fires...a shooting term...a hanger-on then. But I call it a hang fire. Those drop wherever they please. I happen on them, and tissue it back to the box.

    1. You raised a good point. The size of the grey boxes in this blog-entry's pictures are, allegedly, 'extra large'. Finding a truly large litter-box, even if just considering buying, is impossible here. The 'small' versions must be about the right size for a hamster.

    2. Poor Nev! He looks so embarrassed to have such memorable bodily functions...

      And I'm having the same problem! My new guy is a big cat (about the size and shape of a black bear cub,) who needs a big box. I ordered one on Amazon that was billed as "extra large," and the blasted thing turned out to be the size of a soup bowl.

  5. We had to laugh out loud here because that all sounds so familiar!

  6. We had 3 identical litter boxes. The large never seemed large enough, so my BIL who used to have a pet supplies business got us 3 bases for parrots cages and they really were large. We kept them in the garage with a cat door entrance to it. One only ever had pees in it, another ad poops, and the third must have been for emergency use if I hadn't scooped quickly enough as it was rarely used.
    Poor Nev probably gets embarrassed leaving you such a stink. I know if Flynn did an extra smelly one he would run like his tail was on fire when he finished, but he would always cover first.

  7. I expect that like us, certain foods (grains in particular) would cause stinkier output depending on the cat's system.

    I used the giant but shallow Rubbermaid containers for litter boxes for years. I did find a truly oversized litter box on Amazon some years back, so large it was challenging to clean it anywhere. I have three for Derry, all extra large or "giant" and so far so good. 🤞

  8. I have visions of WWII gas masks...

  9. Oh John, it's taken me awhile to start writing this response as I've been laughing at the descriptions. I thought Renn was the stinky one until I read of Neville's abilities. OMG, it must be a real sh*t show around there some days. :)

    I'm grateful that the litterboxes (two rubber maid tubs and a smaller litter box) are in the depths of the basement as I am quite the distance from the offerings placed there. Sasha did use the small box the other day while I was cleaning the other two but he was kind enough to only wet. My son hasn't complained yet so either he's
    "nose-blind) to it or the strategically placed plug-in air freshener is doing it's job.

    I'd say have fun, but I think that's not a possibility.

  10. One Poppy poop was enough for me, facing the deposits from 3 males daily is worthy of a medal.

  11. We have a very "High Squirter" who caused us to switch to covered boxes years ago. At the time we had Buddy who was about 18# and 6 others so I got two large storage containers and cut two openings in each. The Great White, Rumpy, Still can get a good amount of litter on the floor so we got small rugs for in front and that helped. Of course Rumpy monstrous renderings of "The Blob" for years needing clean up of his nether region at least 2 times a week until his asthma steroids were needed at a level that slowed that up, slowed. He also produces gases that would do any dictator proud. Timmy likes to run in and drop off being chased by the almost cat sized loads he leaves at times. Ah we love them so the foul air is gone with a glance at them lounging in repose, almost

    1. Your litter-box adventures sound as interesting as ours.

  12. I can so relate to your litter laden discussion! In his last months, Piipo started to wet outsied the box, close by, but...well, so that area was a huge compilation of wee-wee pads, and towels. He did go in the box po]rpeer to poo. How strange. I think he waited too long to piddle. He also in his prime was an upright pee-er, and if it wasn't for a covered box, the walls would have had to be covered with the same wee-wee pads, LOL! He NEVER covered his poos, and when Minko was still with us, Minko would take on the duty of covering it for him, LOL!

    Litter issues are both funny and serious at the same time!