Sunday, March 25, 2007

Renegade Shitter

About six months ago, we rescued an alley cat and her two kittens who were living in our garden, among the tomato plants. We socialized the kittens and adopted them out to new homes, but we didn't know what to do with Mama Kitty. None of the no-kill shelters in the area had any room for her, so we kept her. It's been six months now, and she's come a long way. At first she hid behind the bed in the guest room, and wouldn't even come out for food. We'd fill her bowl, close the door, and several hours later open the door again to find the food gone, and little poops in the cat box. That was the only real evidence we had of her existence.

Now she rubs against my legs every morning and lets us pet her, although she still won't let us pick her up, or sit with us on the couch or the bed. The other cats have gotten used to her, for the most part. Oblio, our boy cat, fell in love with her at first sight, and follows her wherever she goes. Mignonne, our girl cat, took some convincing before she got used to Mama Kitty, but they maintain a civil peace between them.

Everything seemed to be going fine, until a couple weeks ago when I stepped right into three hard little poops that were sitting on the kitchen mat. I flushed them down the toilet and washed the mat, but they reappeared shortly. I started putting paper towels down on the kitchen mat, and the poops started making their appearances there, which was more convenient but still disgusting. Eventually the renegade shitter started going in other corners of the kitchen. Something had to be done.

I called our vet for advice, and they gave me lots of information on how to reform our little shitter. Step one is to figure out who the offending party is, which is proving difficult. Our shitter is very stealthy; one minute I'll walk into the kitchen to set up some coffee, taking note of my surroundings and making sure the coast is clear, and within moments the unmistakable waft of scat comes climbing up my nose.

Among the many pieces of advice from our vet was to put a cat box in the renegade area, and move it a couple feet each day until it's next to the correct cat box area. We've done this, with some success. The box has moved a couple feet, but it's still in the center of the kitchen. The difference between cat turds on a mat and cat turds in a box is minimal when they're still in the room generally reserved for the preparation and consuming of food products, but still, progress is being made.

Tonight before we go to bed we'll move the box another two feet closer to the designated shitting area, and hope for the best. Wish us luck.