As I've shared here before, we took a short vacation to Kansas over Memorial Day. Whenever we travel, we make arrangements for someone to take care of our two cats; Krissy, who lives in the backyard and Toby, who lives inside. Usually, the Harmon boys (our boys' friends) come over every day while we're gone and feed, water and clean out the litter box. There have never, EVER been any problems with the cats when we travel.
Until this trip.
When we walked into the house, after being gone for a week, there was a strong odor of cat. And you KNOW what I mean by that. Our kitchen/family room/breakfast nook smelled like the litter box. I thought, what the heck? Why does it stink in here? Then I noticed the Harmon boys had put dirty cat litter - tied up inside plastic grocery sacks - in our kitchen trash. I was relieved, all I had to do was put the trash out and the smell would go away - easy fix.
But the smell didn't go away. I gave it a couple of days and nothing changed. In fact, I noticed it was really strong in our family room. When we'd sit and watch TV, the smell of cat urine was horribly strong. It was grossing me out and driving me NUTS. I couldn't find the source. Finally, I got down on my hands and knees and started smelling my way around the room - nose to the carpet like some kind of Amazon bloodhound.
And I found it. Right in front of our oak entertainment armoire, the carpet was stiff and sticky with cat urine. All I could think was, "What the HELL? Why'd Toby do that?" He never misses his litter box. He's had very good manners the 6 years he's been living inside our house so what was the problem?
I got out the wet-vac and the rags and the vinegar and the bucket of soapy water and started cleaning. As I got down to start working on the carpet, my eyes were right at the level of the brass knobs on the lower doors of the armoire. They didn't look right. As I looked closer, I realized that they were corroded and a weird color. Then I smelled them. Cat pee. What the HELL? How on earth can cat pee get up so high? These knobs were 16 inches off the ground. And it hit me - Toby hadn't missed his litter box, he was spraying.
For some crazy reason, Toby had decided to start spraying in the house and he picked our oak entertainment armoire as his target. Now, I'm not a cat whisperer. I'm not a pet psychic. I have no idea why he did it. Was he mad? Frustrated? Why would he pick this vacation and that place to bitch-slap us around?
As angry as I was at Toby, I thought I'd give him the benefit of the doubt. Surely now that we were home and his world was back to normal, he'd get his good manners back. I gave him another chance.
I've spent hours on the carpet and the armoire. I happened to complain about it to Monica, who has cat issues herself and she brought over her arsenal of products to help me. I started soaking the carpet with a special solution. I sprayed the doors of the armoire - inside and out - every day with the same solution, leaving the doors open to air dry.
So a week went by. I worked on the carpet and the armoire every day, unable to determine why the smell was not abating. It was much better but it wasn't gone. Then one night Duane and I were watching TV. Suddenly Duane said,
"What's that cat doing?"
"What? WHERE?" I asked. Instant red alert. I looked and there was our kitty, backed up to the entertainment center, tail straight up in the air and twitching - SPRAYING THE OPEN ARMOIRE RIGHT IN FRONT OF US. You could hear the sound of the pee hitting the wood. I shot up off the sofa, yelling my head off and Toby ran. I chased him down, grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and smashed his face into the fresh cat pee. Then, still holding him by his neck, I stomped to the back door and threw his ass outside, where he now lives.
I was mad and I was sad. Toby has brought our family so much joy. He's been a dream cat - relaxed, loving and laid back. But he can't ruin our house, right? So I was sad, right up until I started cleaning up the fresh mess and realized the urine spray had gone inside the armoire where we store all the CD's and DVD's. I had left the doors open for days, to air out the inside, not realizing he was continuing to spray.
Do you know how many CD's and DVD's we have? Like, a million. And they all had to be individually wiped down with Pine Sol. Except for the ones that have those cheap cardboard cases - those are toast.
Stupid, stupid cat.
Toby now lives outside permanently. He is no longer welcome in the house. Well, OK, sometimes the kids let him in to play with him but we don't take our eyes off him. He can't be trusted. He used to have it so good but he - quite literally - pissed it all away. Stupid cat.
To commemorate this time in our lives, Katie and I made up a song about Toby and I'm here to share the talent with you. Ready?
Toby's Cat Pee Song
(Sung to the tune of "Jesus Loves the little Children")
Kitty, kitty, kitty Toby
You are so naughty.
You are naugh-augh-aughty,
Cause you went po-o-tty,
On the carpet in front of the TV.
Stupid, stupid kitty Toby,
Why'd you have to be so bad?
You slept on our beds
You got pets on your head,
Now you live outside and your life is crap.