The First Straw:
The Meowing. Cruz has been the world’s most vocal cat ever since we got Scout 4 years ago. He yells all the time. Even before we sentenced him to (a comfortable) life inside the house (being pampered) without parole, he would come inside and scream at us every day until we walked into the kitchen and pointed out that the food bowl — which he was standing next to — was actually already full and he didn’t need to be meowing his freaking head off for no reason whatsoever. As you can imagine, moving Cruz inside the house did not help this situation. It did not help it at all.
The Next Straw:
Peeing on the Rug. We haven’t had a litter box inside the house for Cruz in about 3 years. When Scout was a puppy, she totally thought that the litter box was some kind of doggie sand-box with magical poop-flavored treats buried in it, I guess because dogs are kind of dumb sometimes. In order to stop my dog from eating cat poop, I removed the litter box that Cruz rarely used anyway. We learned very quickly after removing the litter box that while Cruz can mysteriously stay in the house for 12 daylight hours at a time, he can not survive the 6 hours between when Zack goes to bed and when I get up in the morning. He pees on the bathroom rug when he’s in the house overnight. Every time.
And I admit, if you’re going to have a cat that pees in the house, having one that goes to the bathroom, then pees on something that is washable, cheap and absorbent is kind of a best-case-scenario. He even crumples up the rugs after he pees on them, as if he was kicking litter over the area. The crumpled rug serves as an obvious signal that Something Is Bad Wrong, and, in the process, prevents you from stepping in cat pee. Cruz peeing on the rug is about as good as animals peeing in the house gets.
Trick is, even when your animal awesomely pees in the house in the best way possible, it still suuuuucks.
The Straw After That:
Upon taking the cat captive in the house, I had to re-instate the dumb litter box. Luckily, Scout is old enough now that she’s been (mostly) uninterested in said dumb litter box. I cleaned out our laundry room and made Cruz his own little kingdom, complete with bathroom and eating facilities. Because he is a cat, and because cats seem to come pre-programmed with the litter-box instinct, Cruz immediately started using the litter box again. Unfortunately, that meant that there was a shit-ton (pun kind of intended?) of litter on my freaking floor. I had the wherewithall to put the dumb litter box into the least-used room of our (teeny) house (that we use every last square foot of), but that didn’t really solve any problems. I still felt the need to wear shoes in my house at all times, and that didn’t really sit well with my inner-hippie.
The Next To Last Straw:
Zack (via text message): Guess what your cat did?
Sarah: Peed on the rug?
Zack: Tracked poo across our white comforter. I wiped up what I could and sprayed the rest with Woolite cleaner before I had to leave for work.
Sarah: WTF?! How is that even possible?
Zack: Guess he was a little messy when he left the litter box.
The Last Straw:
After work one day last week I drove home to get Zack so we could go meet some friends for dinner. Zack came out to meet me in the car with his right hand held up in the air like he was about to ask his 7th grade math teacher a question. When he got in the car he said, “Your cat got out.” (The cat, I should note, is only “my” cat whenever it has done something stupid. Like peeing on a rug, or tracking poop across a comforter.) Zack explained that he’d been trying to get out of the house when he saw Cruz making eyes at the door. Cruz likes to try to escape when Zack goes in and out of the front door because when someone (or something) has a track record of success at doing a certain thing, they typically continue to do it. See: Scout begging for cheese in the kitchen, Cruz begging for milk while I eat cereal, me talking myself into going to get breakfast burritos for every other meal. Anyway, Cruz made a dash for the front door as Zack was getting out of the house, and he was successful in Stage One of his escape attempt. Zack tried to lunge for the cat and grab him before he completed Stage Two, which would be to get out of our glassed-in sunroom via the kitty door we made for him several years ago and never bothered to shut after we decided to go all lock-down on his ass. Zack didn’t quite get the cat, but he did catch the edge of the metal window with the tip of his finger, which caused his fingernail to bend backwards into a position which God never intended fingernails to occupy. By the time he made it to my car, Zack was speechless he was in so much pain.
Fingernail pain in the worst. Fingernail pain is worse than peed-on rugs, poop-smeared comforters, litter-covered laundry room floors, or incessant meowing. As soon as Zack showed me his finger, which had instantly turned black-and-blue, I said, “THAT’S IT.” Then we looked at each other and said, “Screw this. Cruz is back outside.” We probably would have high-fived to celebrate our cohesive decision, but I opted not to, lest Zack kick me out of the house for causing him fingernail pain, too.