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Sunday, June 05, 2011

reflections upon cleaning the cat litter

I like being up early on Sundays. If I get up after 11:00, it feels as though the day has been wasted. So, I was up at 9:00am this morning and The One joined me not too long after.

We had a coffee and a fag each and I valiantly decided to tackle the cat litter which hasn't been cleaned since I last posted about it. Last week was simply too crazy to remember to do it before passing through the noxious cloud of ammonia every evening right before bed, on the way to the bathroom. By that time I was always so tired that I simply ignored it. The cats haven"t even used it in a week. It simply stinks too much.

Both cats revolted against the poor service delivery by going into heat at the same time. One caterwauling queen is bad enough. Two are simply unbearable. We put Lizz in the bathroom at night but she soon figured out how to open the stupid little concertina door. Then she would sit right under the bed and give her loudest moan, usually around 2:00am. Vicky's shrill soprano would replace Lizz's rich alto from time to time.

Closing the other stupid little concertina door at the bedroom's entrance proved more successful. It is warped and closes firmly; only Afred manages to open it. At least that meant that the neighbours and landlords were not disturbed. We just had to sit it out and sleep in between mating call sessions. At least Vicky and Lizz have been keeping it interesting by alternating.

Methods that had worked well before to keep their lust in check don't work as well anymore. Tomorrow, it will be a week since they started. So, cleaning the sand - I hope it will stop their rebelliousness. How do people with human children cope?

Nevermind, our savings are almost at the point where we can buy either a new bed or get both cats spayed. At this moment, there is simply no contest. The cats' little two-horned uteri win hands down.

Anyway, after having another coffee and fag, as well as a short visit from The One's twin brother, we started on our chores. I did the cat litter and started the washing while The One did the dishes and straightened up the top room.

Cleaning downstairs is like a proper half-hour workout in any gym. Especially when you take into consideration the five return journeys upstairs for things I need to clean and leave behind. Good cardio. To that, add lifting the heavy bedclothes and stashing them in an overhead cupboard, squatting and crawling back and forth into the cats' latrine and holding your breath for extended periods. The final exercise is a jog upstairs while balancing the overloaded laundry basket and a string of copulating clothes hangers. If I don't start with a run, I don't make it upstairs.

What a thankless task cleaning the litter is. It will just get dirty all over again, world without end, amen. I try to imagine that I am paying off some of my karmic debt.

I hate the odd little space under the stairs which is the cat's latrine. It is dimly lit and the rough unfinished concrete ceiling is very low. The actual roomlet is about 1m wide, 700mm across and 700mm high (That's 3' x 2' x 2' for the imperials). I imagine that some virulent spider is going to drop right onto my head at any second. The carpet is extremely damp and the stench makes my eyes tear up. The ammonia even makes the paint peel.

I always start by cleaning the debris around and under the tray with a shovel and brush. It is important to get all the little bits in order to get the the place to smell better. While cleaning, I often think of what incredible cat magnets my family on Mother's side is. Even the ones that have married into our clan have become catophiles. It all springs from a central source - my maternal grandmother. We have all inherited it from her

Finally finished cleaning, it feels like I am escaping from those caves in The Descent when I squeeze my bulbous ass out of the evil little hole, dragging the offensive tray. Again, decency prohibits me from posting a photo of the shocking state of the used litter.

I can, however, show a photo of the workings of a remarkable self-emptying dustbin we have. It used to form the main barrier to the latrine, keeping the dogs from eating the wonderful, crunchy, protein-rich nitbits the cats' bodies discard. The phoo is blurred because I am shaky from the exertion.

The bin failed to work because the dogs simply push the bin over and hop over the bottom of a little nightstand my father made. Now, we keep the dustbin away from them by placing it on the top shelf of the nightstand. They have free access to the treasure.

Victoria now pushes the bin over into the latrine and hacks out the contents. I pick up the bin and, voila! It is empty and we can use it again. Marvellous. Of course, that means the latrine becomes even filthier. Vicky has a penchant for used ear buds, which she drags around with her. Empty containers and scattered dog bones finishes the look. They like it messy, those cats. You can take that any way you want.

The crystals and nitbits in the tray were completely dried out today, proving that the cats have not been using it in a while. Victoria has used the plughole in the bath and Lizz has been attempting to assassinate the poor Clivia outside, the way she single-handedly urinated our poor King David rose, Gerda, to a slow and painful death.


The One's brother had brought us gifts. Two dishes of lasagne which we will have for dinner tonight with some bread he also brought. The biggest gift, however, is an enormous unwanted hollow fibre polyester duvet. It fills an entire shelf in the cupboard. It is heavy with secret promises of distant snuggly lands. I can't wait to get under it tonight and keep the cold at bay.

That's the new duvet on top of the unmade bed, the sack of dirty litter, the shovel and the dirty clothes waiting to be sorted and washed.

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