Our house is a bit of a mess these days. Keeping the house clean has become somewhat of a Sisyphean task. It is hard to stay on top of the cleaning, especially since our littlest one came along.
No, I am not talking about Stinkerbelle. I am talking about out littlest CAT, Duncan.
Okay, so he isn’t actually the littlest — Bubby takes that in a walk, all elderly 6 1/2 pounds of her — but he is the youngest. And he’s like the feline world’s version of Peanuts’ PigPen. Without the wit.
That cat is a one kitty mess. Everywhere he goes, everything he does, generates a mess. He’s a one-kitty destruction crew. And because he’s somewhat happy-go-lucky and always good natured, he has a hard time learning what bad behaviour is, which is a challenge to us. When it comes to learning “No!”, he’s about as sharp as a sock full of soup.
Don’t get me wrong, I love him. I love him just as much as any of the others. But it is hard to be patient with him when he is constantly making a mess.
Case #1: The distribution of litter
When Duncan goes downstairs to use the litter boxes, he is a mess waiting to happen. Now, I am sure in his little kitty brain, he wants to be a good boy, so when he goes in the box he digs and digs and digs, with such great enthusiasm and effort, and when he’s done he shows equal effort in burying. However, with great enthusiasm comes great mess, as litter gets sprayed for metres around. It is everywhere.
Now, that would not be so bad, but sometimes, just for fun, he rolls around in the litter that SOMEBODY sprayed on the floor. And so then, after a nice happy roll on the cool concrete of the basement floor, he comes upstairs happy but just filthy, and that dust and litter gets tracked everywhere.
Case #2: Plants
Duncan loves plants. He loves to eat plants. He loves to dig in plants. He loves to sit in plants. So, what very few plants we have have fallen victim to his enthusiastic horticultural appreciation. He’s chewed most down to nubs. Dirt is sprayed everywhere. And one of these days, we’re going to find a pot smashed to bits, when he tries to sit in one and realizes he out-bulks the potted plant by a ratio of 3:1.
Case #3: The Foyer
If I had to name one place where Duncan’s efforts are most evident, it is in the foyer. It is his favourite place to be. And why wouldn’t it be? It’s where the kibbles and the water are. And for him, eating requires killing his prey first, so he fishes a kibble out of the bowl, chases it around until it is good and dead, and then perhaps eats it (if he doesn’t get distracted — so walking around in bare feet can be an exercise in painful if you step on an errant kibble). He brings toys down and leaves them in the kibble bowl, so he can find them again. He bathes toys in the water dishes, and if he feels particularly adventurous, climbs the water dispensers (which, by the way, can’t take the weight of his bulk and slide around the tile floor, spraying water everywhere). And nothing, NOTHING, is more fun to Duncan than to run headlong into the foyer and slide on the mats like they are his own personal surfboards. Good luck opening the door with 6 feet of bunched-up mat and rubber anti-slide mat pushed up against it.
Case #4: The World As Toybox
Everything in Duncan’s world has toy potential. Everything. Just in the last 12 hours, we have taken some of Stinkerbelle’s toys from him. He fished a bunched-up wrapper out of the garbage up in the attic, and this morning we found it in (where else?) the foyer. As I swept up the kitchen this morning, he dove headlong into the schmutz and scattered it everywhere. And when I shooed him from doing that, he chased the broom. And, the piece de resistence… He chases poops around the basement floor.
Before we brought Stinkerbelle home, someone’s advice to me about keeping on top of the cleaning was “Start as you intend to carry on”, meaning don’t set your expectations too high and set yourself up for failure.
Well, somebody should have told us that before Duncan became a member of our family, too.