“Doggone it!” I yelled. “That cat used the litter box. Again!”
Lonnie, my friend who was visiting from Texas, looked up from his book. “What?”
“Paddy O’Cat just used the litter box.”
“You don’t want him to use the litter box?”
“No! I just scooped it. It was nice and clean!”
“You want him to use the floor instead?”
“I’m not understanding the problem.”
I came back into the dining room and reached for my nearly cold coffee. “He just came in,” I explained as patiently as possible. “He’s been outside in the yard for the last hour. He has the whole yard for a litter box, and he comes in and uses this one.”
“You want him to poop in your flower bed?”
“No! Not in the flower bed.” We looked together at the last of the fall flowers (this was a few months ago) and my herbs which were doing quite nicely, thank you. “But good grief, there’s lots of room out there. He could find someplace other than coming in and using the litter box.”
To soothe myself, I went outside and looked at the flowers. There were still a few hollyhocks; most of the snapdragons had gone to seed. I twisted off the seed pods and scattered the contents, lightly covering them with soil. “Maybe they’ll come up in the spring,” I told myself. I uprooted several little elms that had sprung up, and pulled some weeds. Something satisfying about pulling weeds, working them out of the ground so I didn’t lose the roots, shaking off the dirt and tossing them aside to gather up later for the trash. Overall, the garden looked pretty good.
As I turned to go back in the house, there was Paddy sitting on the wall also surveying the flowers. “Don’t poop here,” I told him. He turned to look at me. “Wouldn’t think of it,” he said. No, he didn’t; he just looked at me. “But you should poop outside,” I went on. He didn’t blink. “Somewhere else, though, not right here.” Uh-huh. Glad we got that cleared up.
When I went back in the house, Lonnie said, “I don’t think that cat food agrees with them.”
“What do you mean?” I started to ask, but then I heard it — the unmistakable sound of a cat barfing. “Good grief, what now?!” I went into the hallway just as Smokey was sitting up, a pile of barely digested food in front of her. “Smokey!” I said in exasperation. She glanced at me with that look of total incomprehension she does so well and headed for the door.
“You couldn’t have gone out before you did that?” I asked as I pushed open the screen. She flicked her tail as she passed. I managed to shut the door before Lop Ear, who was waiting outside, could come in — he had just finished a nice roll in the warm sand and was standing there literally dripping with dirt.
“Remind me again why I have cats,” I said to Lonnie as I sank down in a chair.
Just then Paddy jumped into my lap, gave me a head butt, an eye squeeze and snuggled down to purr. Oh, yeah, now I remember.
But in the future, could you please poop outside?