Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Unraveling a Cat Mystery

Every year around this time, certain members of my family take a vacation. I won’t say where because it’ll make me sound jealous. Which I am. But that’s not the point. They go on vacation and I kittysit their cats. I happen to be quite fond of these cats, so I don’t mind a bit. Usually, “kittysitting” involves driving over there every other day, cleaning litter boxes, refilling the food bowls, and changing their water. Then I play with them for a while.

This year hasn’t worked out that way.

Shortly before they left, they noticed that one of the cats had been peeing on the carpet in one corner. They told me it was Pepper, the newer cat. They pulled up the carpet in the corner and put down plastic. Pepper was to be confined to the basement, while Chili, the older cat, would have the run of the upstairs, including the scene of the crime.

On Day One of my kittysitting gig, I discovered a puddle on the plastic. Apparently, Pepper had been falsely accused and convicted on circumstantial evidence.
(Pepper looking pitiful behind bars.)

I could do a Bounty commercial about the absorbency of those paper towels. But I don’t think they’d want to show someone mopping up cat pee.

Anyway, anytime a cat suddenly starts urinating outside the box, my first thought is Urinary Tract Infection. But I’m not a vet. I only write about one.

Instead of every other day, I started driving out there daily to check on things. And to keep the puddle from overflowing onto the carpet again.
(The real culprit, Chili, looking completely innocent of all charges)

By Day Two, Chili was also pooping on the rug. Her litter box remained untouched. I filled a plastic specimen cup from the puddle on the plastic and ran it out to the vet. Diagnosis? Urinary Tract Infection.

I guess a gazillion years as a cat owner combined with all the research I’ve done to write my veterinarian protagonist has paid off.

The vet gave me Clavamox liquid to be administered twice a day.

Did I mention this is a 20-mile each-way jaunt?

So I’ve enlisted some help. Hubby’s new(est) job—don’t ask—is nearby, so I’ve trained him how to give oral meds to cats. You can just imagine how happy he is. (Not). Since he’s completely overjoyed at the prospect (again—NOT), a neighbor has been called in to give the evening dose, while I take care of the morning dose…and the litter boxes and the food and the water.

Speaking of litter boxes, I moved the one that hadn’t been touched over to where Chili had been pooping. Voila! She’s now back to using it for BOTH. No more puddles on the plastic. Which is a good thing. I think I’ve gone through an entire roll of Bounty.

Monday, I took Chili in to see her vet. The good doctor praised my handling of the situation and basically told me to keep it up.

I think I missed my calling. At the very least, if this writing gig falls apart, I can always start a new career as a crittersitter.

Or a defense attorney for cats.
(Pepper begging to have his conviction overthrown)

(Just look at Chili. You can't tell me she didn't intentionally plant evidence in order to get rid of the pesky new kid in her house.)


Paula Matter said...

These photos are great. You really captured the truth behind the story! Fun post, Annette.

Mary Sutton said...

I love the last photo. I agree - Chilli is totally saying, "I'll get you squirt - watch out."

Annette said...

I wrote the story, then took my camera with me and hoped the cats would cooperate. And boy, did they!

Thanks, Paula and Mary!

Jennie said...

Awesome! And not being a cat-person I totally wouldn't have been able to solve the crime. (Of course, I wouldn't have been there to see it in the first place, since even peripheral contact with the creatures set off my allergies. But that's beside the point.) They're awful cute. (Even as my nose itches at the sight.)

Joyce Tremel said...

Too funny!

Patg said...

Are you sure Pepper isn't saying, 'you may think you got away with it, but I'm bringing a suit against you for defamation of character'?

Ramona said...

Okay, I'll say it.

Those people on vacation? They'd better bring you a REALLY NICE SOUVENIR.

Anonymous said...

What a timely post. We just returned from vacation and I foolishly left our suitcases out for a few days. When I wanted to take one to the basement, I opened it and was greeted by the worst smell imaginable (and a small amount of liquid). Hubby things one of our cats peed in it.I'm trying all kinds of tricks to get rid of the stink and hope I don't have to buy a new suitcase.

Gina said...

Anonymous -
Once upon a time, one of my cats peed on my carryon suitcase the morning I was rushing around, trying to get to the airport for an early morning flight to Mexico. I sprayed the suitcase with odor eradicator, but when I got to the security check area, I was pulled out of line because my carry one tested positive for nitrates! True story. So watch it, if you're planning to travel with that luggage in the future. Be prepared.

Annette said...

Pat, you never know...

Ramona, I'll be happy to get reimbursed for my mileage. At least this wasn't as bad as the time my neighbors went on vacation and left me caring for a sickly cow and her newborn calf.

Gina, I remember you talking about that. Yikes!