I was told it was unforgivable not to share this story, so here goes:
This weekend I went to Petsmart. I was there looking for a mat for under the cat’s litter box. I was moving it downstairs to free up the bathroom upstairs and if the fool thing was going to be in my bedroom it needed to look nice (and be easy to clean).
As an unfortunate side story, the litter box didn’t make it downstairs. I had one of those electric, automatic boxes. A little mechanical rake would pass through the litter placing everything into a handy tray. I used to love that machine. Lately, it has started to be offensively odoriferous even after being emptied so I took the risky step of hosing it down a bit.
When I was done it looked good. It even turned on and the little rake moved along the track. It never moved back. Well, I say never, but that would be an exaggeration. I realize now that the water caused a short in two impact switches that told the rake to reverse. I also learned later that the impact switch didn’t hold up well to either the constant pressure of a rake that wouldn’t reverse or, it would seem, to the pressure of a man prying on things with a screwdriver. In my defense, first I let it all dry out, then I took apart some panels and played with some wiring. Then I got a screwdriver and did some prying. This was followed by some light cursing and then gentle tapping with an anger management tool, also called a hammer.
There would later be more aggressive use of the anger management tool but this occurred only after I realized the litter box suffered from something people in my line of work call an unsanitary design. The litter box was covered with little panels and endless nooks and crannies that even after a good hose down still retained, well, stuff. The stuff smelled like cat urine.
Oreo had figured out how to jam the thing up anyway. She liked to pile all the sand up in one corner and then watch as the rake got stuck in the mess and reversed until the little motor overheated. This is what she does. This is her happiness.
Not all cats are like Oreo and that was really the intent of my story. I was at Petsmart doing some shopping for my ungrateful cats when I walked past the cat adoption station. I shouldn’t walk past the cat adoption station. I have a weak heart and anyone who has met my cats knows I must love them or I would have killed them long ago.
The cats at Petsmart usually don’t do much in their little plexiglass cubes. They may be drugged. I don’t know. This time, they were up and around. First, were the kittens. Barely old enough to be left on their own they bounced around their little box as kittens are want to do. So cute.
Then there was a young black cat that jumped up and put his paws on the glass as I walked by. Also cute.
But there in the last box was the adorable old man of a cat. He spotted me and scurried up to the glass trying to poke his head through a hole smaller than my pinky finger. A little piece of me died inside when I could scratch his head. But then just when I could hardly take anymore, he put his head down, picked up the blanket on the bottom of his cube with his mouth and started to massage the blanket with his front paws. SO DAMN CUTE!
I thank my lucky stars that the adoption people weren’t there yet. Oh yes I thought about going back. I thought I could take in another cat. I could deal with that much more hair. Besides, didn’t I just lose a cat off the roof of my apartment?
I was strong though. I told myself a cat that adorable would be adopted in the blink of an eye. I also told myself he’s better off. Oreo beat the living daylights out of poor Homer right up until his death and I remain suspicious that Oreo pushed Nermal off the apartment roof, so he might be better off with someone else.
But the cuteness remains. Oh, the cruel cuteness!