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The Litterbox Experiment

August 10, 2013

Now that Will’s chores are gradually but inexorably being transferred to my to-do list, I decided tonight that I was going to not only change out the cats’ litterbox, I was actually going to take the thing outside and wash it out thoroughly with soap and water. It’s been smelling rather abominably the past few days, even with frequent scooping and refreshing the litter, and since Will couldn’t remember the last time he washed it out, it was definitely time for this chore to get done.

With three large cats, it is necessary to have a large box for them to do their kitty business in, so the one we have is HUGE and needs about 15 lbs. of litter to fill it adequately. It also needs to be scooped out at least once a day, if not more often. This has posed little problem for me since I’m used to smelling all sorts of unpleasant aromas, and thanks to clumping litter it’s actually a five-minute job.

I’d budgeted fifteen minutes for the dumping, washing, rinsing, drying, and refilling, so I grabbed a large Wal-Mart trash bag and the soap downstairs to begin the ritual. It was a bit of a challenge getting all that litter plus at least five pounds of cat crud into the bag without spilling it, but I managed the thing and cleaned the box thoroughly before hosing it down. I dried it with paper towels, filled it back up (much to the delight of the cats, one of whom promptly hopped in and peed the second I had the lid back on) and proceeded to pick up the bag……..

RRRRRIP!

Twenty-five pounds of litter and clumps literally rushed out of the bag in a torrent. It completely covered a three-square-foot area of floor, as well as the litter-catcher and my feet. I’d forgotten that large Wal-Mart trash bags do not hold as much cat litter as I needed to dispose of. Hence my dismay at the scene before me and the string of profanities I unleashed as I prepared to clean up the mess I’d made.

Meanwhile, the cats were wandering around curiously, and one even tried to be helpful by taking a dump in the spilled litter. I guess he didn’t want to make more work for me by doing it in the freshly cleaned box. This is when I discovered that the litter-catcher that sits directly under the box makes a dandy dustpan, and I utilized both it and the nearly-bald old broom I found in a corner of the basement.

Finally I got everything cleaned up—the fifteen-minute project had turned into thirty minutes and counting—but by this time I was sweating like a horse and becoming very irritated with the whole process. Then I tried to pick up the big basement trashcan to lug it up the stairs and out to the trash bins outside……and found I could barely lift it. I didn’t want to ask Will to do it because of the incident yesterday when he almost fell down those stairs with a heavy tool box, but I was getting desperate.

Then common sense kicked in, along with a stern talking-to by my better nature. “You’re going to have to do this by yourself soon,” it said, shaking an invisible finger at me. “There’s no ‘I can’t’ here. The Lord provides strength, not ‘I can’t.”

So I figured it out. I lugged the trashcan to the stairs, then went up one step at a time using the can as an assistive device to help me keep my balance. And by gosh if I didn’t make it…..I probably sweat off five pounds doing it, but I got the mess out to the trash without ever saying a word to Will until the job was done.

Now I know that I CAN do these things for myself. I CAN lift a full trashcan with 25+ pounds of cat litter and ‘nuggets’ and get it up a flight of stairs. And I CAN remember that next time I’ll want something a little more substantial than a large Wal-Mart trash bag to haul it all. That’s a handy bit of information right there.

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