The Dirty Truth about the Litter Box

Litter Box - Christmas photoI hate changing the litter box.  You would not believe the strategies I’ve employed to avoid cleaning the thing!

When I was a single, apartment dwelling cat owner, I put two litter boxes on my patio.  I installed a pet door insert in the sliding glass door.

You would be amazed at how long you can go without changing the litter box when you stick it outside.

Two of them meant I could go TWICE as long.

During this same period, my husband (whom I had not met yet) was trying to teach HIS cat to use the toilet.

Our marriage can be seen as one long battle to see who could avoid changing the cat litter box.

So far, I’m winning.

The Early Years

Early in our marriage, I employed a combined strategy of rewards and bribes.

If my husband voluntarily changed the cat litter box, I kissed him.

If I wanted the litter box changed, I offered to kiss him when he’d finished cleaning the cat box.

No.  Cat box is not a euphemism.  Get your mind out of the litter box.

Bribery and rewards worked intermittently, but it was not 100% reliable.  There were times I had to resort to threats.

Me:  Hey, change the litter box, it stinks.

Hubby:  No, you do it.  It’s your turn.

Me:  I’ll get to it.  But hide your shoes.  Your cat likes to express her displeasure on YOUR shoes, not mine.

Invariably, the cat would find his shoes and he’d change the litter box.

No, I did not drag his shoes into the middle of the room.  I certainly would not have put them in the bathroom NEXT to the litter box.  I would NEVER have shown the cat where his shoes were.  Honest.  

The Baby Years

The day after I went off of birth control pills,  I was done with the litter box. It wasn’t a conscious plan, but it DID work.

Me:  Hey, change the litter box, it stinks.

Hubby:  It’s your turn.  And I just put my shoes up.

Me:  I might be pregnant.

After I explained the whole cat-litter-pregnancy connection (and proved it with multiple websites) my husband changed the litter box.

It was over 30 months from then until GoGo’s birth.

I didn’t touch a cat litter box the entire time.

The Toddler Years

After GoGo was born, my husband walked up to me gleefully.

Hubby:  Hey, you can’t possibly be pregnant.  I figure it’s your turn to change the litter box for the next three years.

Me:  OK, here.  You can change the baby while I clean it out.

His timing stunk.  GoGo was three days old.  It was that poop.  The first big real one.  The nasty icky one.

Problem solved.

For the next eighteen months, I avoided cat litter duty by nursing or changing poopy diapers instead.  There was no discussion about it being any other way.

The Peri-Menapause Years

Yup.  One of the big secrets of being an older mom.  I went straight from pregnant to nursing to peri-menapause.

As soon as I weaned GoGo, it started.  I got the hot flashes, the rogue hair on my chin, and the irregular “schedule.”

Hubby:  Now that you aren’t spending all that time nursing, I thought maybe you could change the litter box.

Me:  (bursting into tears)  But I might be pregnant….

(i flung myself on the bed for maximum effect)

A very confused and concerned husband soon sat down next to me.

Hubby:  What are you talking about?  I thought we fixed that.

Me:  But… I’m late and.. I can’t stop wondering and… sob.. sniff

Hubby:  Never mind.  I’ll change it.

Honestly, I wasn’t trying to get out the silly cat box thing.  Being 45 days overdue for my schedule just makes me a tad bit irrational.  No matter what medical science might tell me, the back of my brain insists that there might be some miracle baby going on in there.

(yes, “tad bit” is an understatement.  being that late makes me unfit for human company.  at that point i’m one raw ball of emotions and irrationality.  it’s best if you just feed me chocolate and leave me alone.)

My poor husband.  He has terrible timing.  For the next four years, every time he tried to get me to change the cat litter box it seemed to coincide with my irregularity.  I can’t tell you how many times we repeated the whole

But I might be pregnant!  … sob… sniff… boo hoo….

It got to where it was a joke.

 I developed a better sense of humor when I got the hormone thing under control and returned to a somewhat normal schedule.

Me:  Hey honey, change the litter box.  It stinks.

Hubby:  But… I… I might be PREGNANT!!!!

He’d run out of the room to avoid whatever I was throwing at him.  Then he’d change the litter box.

The Elementary Years

My boys are, in my mind, old enough to learn to change the litter box.

So this past summer, I decided to add it to their chore list.

If you’ve been keeping score, you know I’ve been married 13 years.  During that time, I may have changed the litter box a dozen times in total.

(honestly, it’s less than that.  when hubby was traveling overseas for weeks at a stretch i’d just throw the silly box away and start over rather than scoop or change out the litter.  but he doesn’t know that.  shhh!)

My kids were NOT impressed.  They demanded double overtime pay.  I was happy to oblige.

Even then, they weren’t cooperative.

Watty:  I don’t know how to change the litter box.

Me:  Well, ask for help.

Watty:  How?  Daddy isn’t home.  He says you don’t even know how to change it.

I kept my mouth shut.  Who am I to argue with my husband?

My husband spent several weeks working with each boy.  They don’t do a perfect job, they get litter all over the bathroom floor, but it does get done.

i consider it a stroke of genius to put the litter box in the kids’ bathroom.  when they ignore it, the cat pees on THEIR stuff, not mine. 

Just because they can do it doesn’t mean they will.  Even with double overtime hazard pay.

Me:  GoGo, change the cat litter box.  It stinks.

GoGo:  But… I might be pregnant!

I stood there laughing.  I laughed so hard I fell down.

GoGo:  Why are you laughing!  It works when you say it.

I just kept laughing.

Where was I supposed to start?  How could I possibly explain to my sweet innocent child why I was laughing.

 The Post Script

OK, this is the best part.

While I was writing this, the silly cat wandered into the boy’s bathroom and expressed her displeasure.  They’ve been remiss at cleaning her box, so she used a clean towel.

clean might not be accurate.  someone had left it on the floor and used it as a bath mat.  but it was still in use – it was NOT dirty laundry.

I didn’t find it.

My husband did.

Guess who just cleaned out the litter box AND started the stinking laundry?

It wasn’t me.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Houston Mom Blogger Susan Baker has a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood. She has two elementary school boys, one engineering husband, and one cat. She has a strange fascination  for eggs, socks, and books.  She spends far too much time on Social Media and at Target. She is crazy in love with her family.  She serves an amazing God.   She lives an ordinary life filled with wonder. [/author_info] [/author]

Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. This gave me a good laugh. It is pretty much my job here and I actually thought about how if I were pregnant (not a chance), I wouldn’t have to be doing the horrid chore. Thankfully, our cats have a high tolerance for yucky bathrooms. Poor ol’ kitty cats. I am impressed with your boys for taking on that chore. Mine RUN anytime learning about it is even mentioned.
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  2. LOL! Very funny! I never change the litter box… period! I hate it, yes… good thing is his cat, another good thing is that my OBGYN said women just shouldn’t be even close to the litter box… pregnant or not… Thank Goodness hubby heard that! LOL!
    Paloma recently posted..Christmas Cookies – Christmas WreathsMy Profile

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