Saturday, September 26, 2009

An Open Letter to Andromeda the Cat

Dear Andromeda:

You and I have been together for about 9 years. I remember when I adopted you in December of 2000, at the Noah's Ark shelter in Ledgewood. I was still married then, and had 3 other cats living in the house. All of those cats have died since then, but I remember how you had to hold your own as a kitten among all of these not-so-friendly faces. And you did pretty well.

Of course, while you were cute and cuddly, you also broke a couple of lamps, and decided to use some of my LPs as a scratching post. (Yes, those same LPs that Mommy has kept locked up in a cabinet in the living room to avoid you getting your little claws into them. And then you pissed all over the bottom of the cabinet and ruined it. I guess you showed me!). This led to your former Daddy making the comment that you were "a little shit". While he wasn't always right about things, he was certainly right about that.

You are now almost 10 years old. Cats are senior citizens at 7, so you're getting up there in kitty years. I remember last year that you were a little butterball. I have no idea why, as you hardly ate any food, and if snacks were offered, you usually refused them. Almost 3 years ago, when Ariel, the last of your original "brothers" died, you were the last cat standing. Every day I came home from work and you cried and cried--it was clear that you were lonely, even though you and Ariel appeared to view each other as putrid compost heaps during your last few years together. So, Mommy broke down and adopted another cat to keep you company. Shiva is a nice cat, and I know, he does push you around a bit (guy cats can be like that), but you seem to like him--you'll eat next to him, sleep near him on the bed.

The one thing you don't seem to want to do is share a litterbox with him. Ever since he came into the house, you've always pooped outside your litterbox, on the floor. There are two BIG litterboxes, and I keep both very clean. I've gotten used to that, though--a little pile of normal poop is not difficult to clean up--I just need to keep disinfectant wipes handy in the bathroom all the time. Not thrilled, but not a deal breaker.

Then you put on that weight, and when I started teaching 2 night classes during the week last Fall, you started pissing on the bathroom floor. I can assure you that I got no joy out of coming home at midnight and cleaning up cat piss. It also meant going through tons of paper towels and having to buy special cleaners. You see, Mommy's normal cleaners contain ammonia, which is also the chief ingredient in cat piss. Not good to clean ammonia with ammonia. You may enjoy the smell, but Mommy does not. I took you to the vet, who gave you a clean bill of health after $500 worth of tests. She then gave me some "kitty prozac" pills to give you, but I never did. Your siblings were always good about taking their medicine, but you--well, let's just say the vet would have to prescribe some prozac for Mommy as well if I had to start trying to medicate you every day. But fortunately--miraculously--you stopped pissing on the floor, and went back to your litterbox. You still pooped on the floor, but didn't piss. I could live with that.

Over this year, you've lost a ton of weight--now you're a scrawny little thing with the appetite of a 70 pound dog. This probably does mean that something is wrong, but all other indications have been fine. Until this summer, when you started peeing on the floor again. And now it wasn't just the bathroom. Now it's the living room floor as well. The bathroom floor has a special non-porous tile that I put in especially for such urination events, as it doesn't absorb odors. However, the living room floor is an old pine floor from the 1850s. I've had the wood treated, but it still tends to be a bit more porous. I have avoided taking you to the vet, because frankly I don't have another 500 bucks for tests.

This week, I have thrown out the aforementioned cabinet that once held my LPs and other things. Did I mention that cabinet cost over $300? No matter--you like to piss right next to it, so the aroma of cat pee is permanently embedded into the feet, and it's too heavy to move and clean. So, out it went, along with the rug you destroyed. I have spent this morning pouring gallons of Nature's Miracle onto the floor, letting it sit, and mopping it up, even pulling all the furniture out of the living room to do it, in the desperate hope that this lingering odor of cat pee will go away. The bottle says it could take up to two weeks. We will see.

In the meantime, I'm going to level with you. You're a sweet kitty and I love you. But I cannot live like this. I am spending a small fortune on special cleaning products, and I am going through almost 4 full rolls of paper towels a week. Every day when I wake up, every night if I get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night--and every night that I come home from work, I am cleaning up cat piss. And I am losing my mind. I can't take it anymore.

You are going to the vet on Tuesday. I am hoping for one of two things--either she finds a UTI and gives you an antibiotic that will clear things up, or you will be so freaked out by the vet visit that you'll stop pissing on the floor. If she finds cancer, I'm afraid it will be adios for you--you've clearly passed the stage of "manageable". If she finds NOTHING wrong with you, and you continue to pee on the floor--then you're being adopted out to a rescue agency--I'll pay the damn $200 fee. Maybe you'll be happier somewhere else. Or, I could do the thing that would make me feel the worst--have you put down even though you're healthy otherwise. I hope it doesn't come to that.

So, Andromeda--if this is all "behavioral", I suggest you get the fuck over it and fly right. Because you're not going to be happy with any of the alternatives. Got it?

With Much Love,

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