...Is, by far, the litter box. It stinks. It's big and bulky. It is most definitely unattractive - hideous, even. And it has to be cleaned constantly. The little flecks of litter under my feet? They don't help either.
I have two cats who are my children.
Smiley, I found on the roof of our last apartment in Dallas, tiny and damp after a Summer rain, his huge bat ears sticking out of his little head. Just a few months later, I thought we had lost him. I posted signed and walked the neighborhood for hours; I got home and found that he was shut into our closet. He tends to be skittish and jumpy, but when he is relaxed, he's the sweetest thing. He loves to cuddle and have his chin scratched. He is a Type B and usually won't be forceful. He is a very smart cat.
|Baby Smiley, Summer 2007|
|My handsome boy, Sept 2010|
Kevin found Carmen by the dumpster of all places (at our old apartment again) on a cold December afternoon. She was so small, just a few weeks the vet said. Her little eyes were still baby blue. We bottle fed her for what seemed like forever and she was constantly hungry. She is very coy and thinks she is god's gift to the world. She is a Type A and thinks she owns the place. She struts her stuff around the house and is slowly letting me pet her without immediately starting to bite me. Kevin has perfected the art of being a little rough right back at her and making into a game.
|Carmen as a kitten, Dec 2007|
|Full grown and gorgeous, Jan 2010|
I would do anything for them, and have, including spending ungodly amounts of money to ensure their health and well being, and bending over a stinky litter box more often than I'd like. Where do you keep it, anyway? In the garage? In the bathroom? I currently have it in one of the bathrooms, but had it for a while in the far corner of our kitchen, which was not really preferred but a nice open space for a huge plastic box. If I could eliminate entirely the need for a big, stinky box for their poo, I would.
I am wondering now if toilet-training (yes, toilet training!) is a feasible alternative to a littler box and just how difficult this might be? It might be worth investigating, and I think I might be up for the challenge. With my cats, I know it would most certainly be a challenge for all parties. Nothing about them has ever been easy.
One thing I have to say has made life with cats slightly easier and more pleasant is the introduction of Soft Paws. Kevin and I (it is a team effort, for sure) have applied these handy little plastic nail 'covers' to both our cats and found we can now be affectionate toward them and welcome them onto our furniture without being clawed to shreds or having to reupholster, respectively. It's not a rare day I've gone to work sporting bright red welts on my hands (on one occasion, my face), compliments of Carmen. She is one vicious little ... mhmm. God forbid I try to pet her - she turns right into a little bundle of barbed wire. Smiley on the other hand is my sweet little (actually huge - nearly 16 pounds) awkward boy and wouldn't claw me for anything, but likes to 'play bite'. He enjoys sharpening his claws on the rug or chasing after Carmen so hard that his claws dig into the couch. But now my skin and furniture is impervious to their natural weapons.
|Sometimes, the house is quiet ... Aug 2008|
The litter thing? Still unsolved. Inspired by my conundrum, I Googled 'toilet training cats' and found several interesting options including this available at Amazon for less than $30. Check out the Litter Kwitter system:
|I can just see the late night infomercial now.|
Their website is complete with video coverage of cats at all stages of training (which apparently takes 8 weeks usually) hopping onto toilets and doing their thing. How cool is that?! I'm officially interested.
If you are a cat parent, where do you keep the littler box(es)? Or have you ventured into the world of cat toilet training? I'd love to hear your cat stories! And I'll try to keep this updated with any radical changes I might implement in the future. ;)