Running Free

Running Free

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kitty Litter

Six weeks ago I was a perfectly average domestic diva. For the record, I coined this phrase in 1998 the year my son was born and actually had taken out the domain names including, - and then my DH said that I didn’t need them- had I only kept them…but I digress.

As I mentioned, a mere month and a half ago I was just doing my best to juggle housework, meal preparation, family outings, swim practice for an eleven year-old and the usual collection of things that take up time. I was plenty busy with daily life. It was rather routine, but comfortable. No complaints really.

Did I mention that was six weeks ago? Let us refer to that period of time as BP for ‘before pet.’ Now here I am six weeks later with a four-legged creature of the feline variety that has taken up residence within our house. Let us call this period of existence the Now Pet (NP.) This now ten month-old kitty named Hercules Apollo for his Herculean strength, has inserted himself smack dab in the middle of our daily life.

As a matter of fact he is more than comfortable and has made himself right at home. So much so that as soon as he hears a pot or a dish he comes running into the kitchen to see if perhaps there is a sweet nibblet available for his enjoyment. I know he comes running because around his neck is a crystal collar with a bell that jingles as soon as he takes a step. I would not be good with a stealth kitty under foot. Would not be a good thing – for him or me- or the family now that I think about it.

When said kitty hears me in the kitchen he can almost be assured that he will indeed be given a bit of something more than his rather drab and boring bowl of round brown pellets – the recommended diet from the veterinarian. So, he will often get a piece of chopped up deli ham or turkey on a plate that was part of our wedding registry (I digress once more). Hyacinth from “Keeping up Appearances" would be proud of me I am sure.

Kitty has his own little placemat with color coordinated bowls for water and dry food and then there is the lovely small china plate that holds special treats. Among his favorite are tuna, turkey and ham. He also enjoys a teaspoon or two of vanilla yogurt, but will not turn up his nose at blueberry yogurt for that matter.

Speaking of turning up one’s nose, he has developed quite the skill and does indeed register his dislike when I proffer him with salmon. After a sniff and a lick he turns his kitty eyes - two sparkling orbs – and implores me to take it away. If he really is displeased with the offered vittles he meows.

Imagine - it isn’t enough that we took him in when he was cold and hungry, that we provide him food and shelter, but now he has the audacity to meow when he wants something different. Like a petulant child. Indeed I say.

As life with a pet continues, I find that I think of kitty when I receive an interesting piece of mail that might provide entertainment for him. His hours are more like those of a movie star and he usually naps until well after noon unless I prod him awake for a bit of exercise.

I have created a few stimulation zones and try to insure that there are new and fun things for him to explore. His latest enrichment item is a Trader Joe paper bag in which I place toys from his treasure box - I am assuming that every kitty has a treasure box n'est pas?

Of course the whole kitty litter thing is an exercise in patient and humility. I try and change it daily. I don my mask, double bag and my scooper and get busy. It is a lovely site. Often Hercules will observe me from the doorway of the guest bathroom which is where we decided to place the kitty’s special throne.

He sits on his back legs with his front white mittens placed neatly in front of him with his head cocked to one side as if he is trying to figure out what it is I am doing.

“I am cleaning up your poop,” I explain. “I thought I was done with diapers but it seems I am not,” I sigh and he comes and nuzzles against my leg.

It is his way of saying thank you. At least that is what I imagine.

This is my life in the NP era….

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