Friday, July 22, 2011


In order to appreciate this story, you need a couple of facts. Fact #1: My elderly cat Abe frequently uses the bathroom but not the litter box. I've grown a bit weary of cleaning up pee and very loose poop from the bathroom rugs, or if the rugs are in the laundry (which they are a few times a week now), from the tile floor. Fact #2: When I moved into my house, I went to a Crate and Barrel warehouse and got a large red cotton area rug for the living room, and two smaller, matching rugs for my kitchen floor.

And now the story.

Last night when I got home from dinner, I discovered Abe had pooped on the bare bathroom floor. Again. So I cleaned it up and sprayed bathroom cleaner with bleach on the area, then went about my business. I'd had a stressful dinner with a friend, after a very busy day at work, and so I was distracted. To clear my mind I watched some of America's Got Talent and fell asleep.

I awoke around 11:00. The TV was still on. I needed to go brush my teeth and go to the bathroom. When I sat up, I thought I smelled that bathroom cleaner. Must have gotten it on my shoes, because I was now lying in bed with the bedroom door closed. So I got up, traipsed through the house, which all smelled a bit like a swimming pool in mid summer. Boy, I really sprayed that cleaner! Brushed my teeth, peed, back to bed and sound asleep quickly.

When I woke again this morning, the swimming pool smell was even stronger. Had a tank of anhydrous ammonia been broken into at the farm across the street? I am, after all, in the middle of farmland. I don't care for overly chlorinated pools and the smell was bugging me. I got up, went to the bathroom where I discovered more poop and pee on the bare bathroom floor. Cleaned that up.  No need for further spray, thought I.

I went into the kitchen. As I entered the dark kitchen area, I looked at my beautiful red rugs. One of them had something spilled on it. It seemed that maybe a can of baby powder had exploded on it -- half the rug appeared to have a white coating on it, in a kind of circular pattern.  But who has baby powder in the kitchen? I turned on the light.

A bottle of bleach had been dropped onto the rug from the edge of the sink. What I was seeing was the absence of color on that section of the rug. Abe must have been on the counter in the night, looking for food, and knocked it over. So my whole house is full of bleach fumes.

Argh. Now the rug is out on the grass (Ulani was too curious, I needed to get it out of the way). I mopped and mopped the floor underneath with clear water just to try to get it off the floor. Threw open the glass doors and windows to get some air circulation. Of course it's about 80 and raining lightly this morning, so it's not exactly like fresh air is gushing in. Still I feel a bit healthier knowing there's some circulation going on.

That damned cat!

I know Abe's sick with something serious -- he's not getting much nutrition from what he eats, and he's always looking for more, hence his visit to the kitchen counter overnight.  And he's about 15, which starts to get old for a cat.

His spirits seem ok still, though. He doesn't appear to be suffering. He enjoys going outdoors for a little while, then he comes in and rests. He sits on my lap to have his ears scratched. So I cut him some slack. Maybe a little less after the bleach incident!


Manhattan Harvey said...

Thank god it was just bleach. When I first read the headline and saw the picture, but before reading the essay, I assumed you had been visited by a giant dinosaur bird, like a Archaeopteryx, and I thought: Well, serves her right for leaving that rug outside.

artgr8 said...

I'm pretty sure he is so very, very sorry about the rug and really likes your human sense of style.

Rose H (UK) said...

Poor Abe, I'm glad you cut him some slack though...Sorry about the rug, it could become an abstract feature!

The JR said...

I tell ya, I luv my kitties but sometimes I just wanna skin their heads.

Poor Abe, poor run, poor Johanna....

Melissa H. said...

Wow, Abe got off lucky! I was thinking the other day of trying those piddle pads they sell for puppies with Mabel. She's been relieving herself in the corner of the family room now. Maybe Abe would be willing to go on those. But I don't know if they're washable or not. Anyway, it's a thought.

Sandy and Joe/rhubarb reign said...

Poor rug, poor poor Abe, poor you! It is sad when our fluffy friends get old. We had an old male with diabetes; much the same, sad story. ): Thinking of you and hope it all gets better soon. xo