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Cats and responsibility

As the kids are getting older, I’m turning over household chores to them. Teaching responsibility and all. Last night, it was kitty litter.

See, I never wanted cats but Junior did. And the Mrs. caved but I didn’t. I was adverse to keeping a box of turds in the house. And, so, I finally agreed under the arrangement that 1) the litter box would be kept clean and 2) I’d never have to empty it. Like most marital arrangements, that lasted about two days. And I was doing more than my fair share of emptying it since my fair share was zero.

So, being weary of emptying the turd boxes daily, last night I turned it over to Junior. And she fought me every step of the way. The conversation went roughly like this:

Me: It’s time you started emptying the cat litter.

Junior: I don’t want to.

Me: They’re your cats. Time you take some responsibility for them.

Junior: No. I don’t want to.

Me: This is not a negotiation, you do not get a say, and what you want will not change the outcome.

There was a lot of whining and fussing but we made our way to the litter box where I showed her the scoop and the bags. I even held the bag for her. And she thought she was done. When I reminded her that we had another litter box to empty. More whining.

Junior: I already did one. You do the other.

Me: No, Babe, you’re going to be responsible for your pets.

Junior: Fine!

Me: Doesn’t having cats suck?

Junior: No! You suck!

At that point, I was rolling on the ground laughing that she said that. Probably shouldn’t have encouraged her but the tone in her voice just floored me. I’m still laughing about it. Any way, we both laughed as she emptied the other turd box.

49 Responses to “Cats and responsibility”

  1. Nancy R. Says:

    Awesome.

  2. mostly cajun Says:

    Cats! Delightful and efficient machines for turning dollars into catsh*t…

    (I have seven. I know)

    MC

  3. Evyl Robot Michael Says:

    LOL! They can be toilet trained, but it’s apparently a perishable skill.

  4. Bram Says:

    You are nicer than me. I would have tossed the loaded box and the cat out the door.

  5. Jeff the Baptist Says:

    If you toilet train them, don’t teach them to flush. Toilet flushing will turn into an awesome game for them.

    My wife and I shared litter cleaning responsibilities, until she got pregnant. Now even after the baby is born and we’re bottle feeding, somehow it’s still my job.

  6. Stuart the Viking Says:

    WOW, all of that and you didn’t devolve to pulling out your gat and threatening to shoot the damn cats. My congratulations… better man than I. There is a reason why I don’t plan to ever loose that particular battle regardless of how cute my kids are or how nagging the wife (if I ever have one of those again) is.

    s

  7. Sebastian Says:

    Yeah, more than one cat means too much shit to clean up too regularly. With just one cat you can go a couple of days before it starts to smell.

  8. Drake Says:

    Careful Unc. The oppressive guvment might be one thing, but the lolcat people are not to be trifled with.

  9. Tirno Says:

    Litterboxes suck. Almost all of the self-cleaning litterboxes suck and fail.

    But the Litter Robot is awesome.

    I can go a whole week (with two cats) before I have to open the drawer, pull out the standard trash bag, put in a new one, top off the litter supply and then forget about it for another week.

    My first one lasted for 6 years, and it was still actually operational when I ordered the Gen 2 Litter Robot with the quieter motor.

    Downside? It’s a $340 litter box. However, considering how long mine lasted, is it worth $1 per week for the house not to smell like cat crap and to only have to think about the problem on trash day?

  10. Swamp Thing Says:

    Just think, your daughter is more eloquent than the average protester at Organize Wall Street.

  11. ArmsVault Says:

    Ohh… how I can relate to this! A year ago I would have thought I would never hear this type of thing from my daughter. This year…. different story.

    Stay strong, Dad!

  12. markofafreeman Says:

    The Litter Robot would be great were my cat not claustrophobic. I really which I had video of the time I bought a covered litter box and she had her head and two front legs inside the litter box but her butt and two back legs were completely outside the box when she decided she was appropriately positioned to empty her bladder.

  13. ZK Says:

    Crystal litter is the way to go. I have no idea how it works, and it’s more expensive, but it simply doesn’t smell anymore. Eventually the cats will stop using the box if you don’t clean it, but you won’t know by the smell.

  14. Ruth Says:

    lol @ markofafreeman I have one cat who loves covered litter boxes and one who hates them. The one who hates them does just like yours. The other loves her Litter Robot (and I totally agree: not cheep, but they LAST unlike every other powered litterbox out there).

  15. Tirno Says:

    The other thing I like about the Litter robot is power failure reliability.

    If you’re out of the house for a few days, and the power goes out and the cats fill up a rake-style litter box, the volume of waste will overload the thing and break it or it will just give up.

    With the Litter Robot, because it uses gravity to mix and filter the litter and drop the waste into the holding tray, it’s just another cycle even if the cats have been practicing for Olympic 100m Free Crapping. It automatically does one cycle as soon as the power turns on.

  16. jim Says:

    Getting back to your daughter’s comment: My stepsons often parrot their mother’s tone of voice and/or expressions back to her later in unrelated topics of dispute and I have the hardest time stifling my laughs. Somewhat related: When they unwittingly lay on the Maine Downeast accent. Kids are better than cats once they learn to drop their turds in the right place.

  17. Timmy Says:

    Hey Unc, you were AVERSE to having a box of cat turds in the house. Pet peeve, sorry.

  18. HiddenHills Says:

    I give it until tomorrow night (48 hours) until Unc is picking cat turds again.

    Partial solution …relocate both kitty crappers to Jr’s room.

  19. Ruth Says:

    one more push for the Litter Robot, not only does it keep working long beyond when every other powered box stops, but their customer service rocks. Mine stopped working last spring, so I emailed them (completely expecting to be told I was out of luck, or at best that I’d have to send it to them and pay a fee to have them fix it), and after a short email exchange they sent me a replacement for the offending part for FREE with the only requirement that I ship back the old one, and I didn’t even have to pay the return shipping! That doesn’t happen very often any more.

  20. SteveA Says:

    What jeff the baptist said, Nothing like getting woke up at 3 am because the damn cat just flushed the toilet 13 TIMES.

  21. HiddenHills Says:

    SteveA, they also learn how to push the button on the powered litter boxes as well. My brother’s cat pushes it constantly. They have to leave it unplugged most of the time.

  22. Beaumont Says:

    All is moot if the damn cat won’t use the box. Ours is 11, & has grown from a cute 8-ounce kitten into a 20-lb Jabba the Catt. Maybe she’s a little senile, but she seems to feel that if she’s within a 3-foot radius of the box, it still counts. Anyone want a cat?

  23. HiddenHills Says:

    Beaumont….wins the thread. Sucks to be you, dude.

  24. roy in nipomo Says:

    Thank goodness for living in the country and having kitty doors.

    Of course the downsides are the half eaten gophers on the stairwell landing at 0-dark thirty and the fact that the cats start getting slower than the coyotes at about ten yrs old…

  25. LKP Says:

    Hilarious! But face it, Junior’s got you wrapped around her little finger! And she has a good sense of humor.
    “Doesn’t having cats suck?”
    “No, you suck!”
    Is she becoming just like you?

  26. edh Says:

    Doesnt having cats suck?
    No, you suck!

    Okay, you should start shitting in the box, too, to prove her right.

  27. KMarx Says:

    You were “adverse”? Fascinating.

  28. Albury Wodonga Says:

    I would get a list of greyhound trainers and stick it on the fridge door.

  29. ken in sc Says:

    Get a dog that goes outside. The dog will eat the cat poop and then transport it outside for you. But watch out, sometimes they puke in the house.

  30. Akatsukami Says:

    Yep. And if you’d gotten a puppy, someone would have to walk it.

    Which is not intended to start a debate on the superiority of the execratory habits of cats vs. dogs; rather to note that if you want an X, whatever X is, you’ve got to be responsible in caring for it. Hell, if you get a potted cactus, you’ve still got to water it occasionally.

  31. Hugh Says:

    I have a puppy that eats cat poop. Best of both worlds.

  32. Chris P. Says:

    …get a Doberman Pinscher…yep, just an off the shelf MALE Dobie will do…my stepmother had one that would literally stand there, waiting for kittie to squeeze one out…and then scarf it up like it was a lard covered Milk-Bone…true story, kids, i swear…

  33. Miriam Says:

    Try Feline Pine cat litter. Once the cats get used to it life becomes much easier.

  34. model_1066 Says:

    There was a graphic on an old issue of The Onion which had a picture of a cat:

    “Like boxes of shit in your house? Get a cat”

  35. Mark Says:

    My wife started experimenting with all of the automatic and covered catboxes. She accidentally kicked the covered box once when the cat was in it. Cat stopped using it and started using our wing back chairs in the living room. We had to get the chairs reupholstered.

  36. topofthechain Says:

    Having had to take care of my landlord’s cat for the last week and a half, emptying the litter box is no fun. I thought I wanted a cat, but nope. Cat people have my respect for putting up with that aspect of caring for felines, it’s just not for me.

  37. Sarge Says:

    No, you suck!

    Had I directed that reply at my father when I was a child, I would be expecting to wake up about now… I’m 49.

    How times do change.

  38. speaking of Says:

    Our beloved Siamese who is in heaven used to ear our Christmas tree. We had a pretty litter box with glitter in it.

  39. mark Says:

    move the box into her room.
    i imagine she’ll clean it every night.

  40. Walter Sobchak Says:

    We always told the kids: “You don’t have to want to do it, you just have to do it.”

  41. Joel Says:

    I clean up after two cats, it beats following a dog around waiting for him to take a dump so I can pick it up with my hand in a baggie.

  42. SDN Says:

    speaking of, you haven’t lived until you are over at a friend’s house for Christmas watching the Chihuahua pull foot long formerly shiny aluminum “icicles” out of its’ ass……

  43. RightwingHippyChick Says:

    (As the Irishman says: ‘I would not start from here’.)

    1st problem: you didn’t follow through on your initial condition (no cat loo hassle) Also, you already knew that your family has attitude issues.

    2nd problem: you tolerate a situation where time-wasting whining is acceptable, instead of nailing it as an anti-social habit that should not be tolerated.

    3rd problem: you accept it as normal that trivial, small jobs are viewed as unpleasant problems, instead of as inevitable tasks that should be executed as fast and efficiently as possible with the minimum fuss.

    I don’t think this is a responsibility problem, but an attitude issue. And I also think that it runs deeper than just a cat loo — on the face of it, those fights are ridiculous (who made that sauce stain!?! and why is taking out a bin so hard anyway?) but if you look at the structure of those battles and how many times people cut corners and sabotage themselves, others and terrorise the general mood of the place, the entire thing is not so funny anymore.

  44. orbitup Says:

    My stepson used to have his mom do everything for him, so sometimes I would make him do stuff on his own. I laughed my ass off one day when he told her “It’s easier when you do it.” I still remind him of that when he is being a lazy brat.

  45. Miss Conduct Says:

    I have two elderly cats and two 100-lb. guard dogs. Been cleaning cat and dog poop since I was 7 or so–like RightwingHippyChick says, it’s a trivial small job. The attitude that since it’s not awesome and fun I shouldn’t ever have to do it is foreign to me. It should be made foreign to everyone. It’s not a pleasant chore, but the animals bring so much joy, humor, and affection into our house.

    Dog poop is every bit as foul as cat poop and if you have large dogs there’s a lot more of it. It’s like having two adults crapping in your yard every day.

  46. Zermoid Says:

    On the plus side they DO make good moving targets! 🙂

    I HAD more than a dozen, I know too.

    44 Mag and shot shells are very efficient in the house, just saying……

  47. Zermoid Says:

    BTW, @ Miss Conduct, the difference between cats and dogs is that cats prefer sneaking behind furniture, behind cabinets, under beds, generally anyplace you got to do some real work to get to the mess to clean it up.
    A Dog on the other hand generally will go in the center of a room, out in the open, making cleanup much easier.

  48. richard40 Says:

    Your child learned a very valuable lesson, pets become a lot less cute when you are the one that has to clean up after them.

    When I grew up I had a different dynamic. Unlike most little boys I never really wanted a dog. I have always considered dogs as a pain in the rear, that are more trouble than they are worth. My mother was the one that really wanted the dog. Fortunately she was also honest about that, and did most of the dog care work herself.

    I did kind of like having acquarium fish, and didn’t mind a bit when she gave me most of the work of changing the acquarium filter, feeding the fish, and keeping the tank clean. I think I didn’t mind that chore because it was more technoligical and mechanical, and I had a bent for that, eventually getting into computer programming.

    I think a good rule is whoever expresses the greatest desire for a particular pet is the one that should take the lead in that pets care.

    Somebody else brought up the issue of tolerating the whining. Part of the issue there is how old is Jr and how many times in the past he had to do real work. Some whining is expected with the initial introduction to responsibility, but at some point it should no longer be tolerated.

  49. julie Says:

    Interesting to read this and the comments. We had a similar issue when Miss (then) 7 was handed the responsibility of cleaning out the guinea pig cage. (Not that I would take kindly to a ‘you suck’ response).

    I’m pleased to say that a year on we rarely have an issue with her doing the cage – sometime on her own sometime with help. She’ll sometimes try and put off doing it but she doesn’t argue about doing it – same with all of her chores.

    I think the thing is that once they’ve been given the responsibilty you just have to weather the initial rebellion and then they eventually ‘get with the program’.

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

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