Long time readers may be familiar with my struggle, which is being my cat’s steward. Those who aren’t or those curious for a good reason to nominate me for some sort of heroism award can read up under the #mistressmyrtle tag.
A quick summary: I occasionally indulge in a one-sided conversation with Myrt that goes something like this:
Am I your fourth home because you’re such a bitch, or are you a bitch because I’m your fourth home?
For her part, Myrtle gives me an inscrutable cat stare.
I am curious, though, since I got her at a year and a half old. That’s a pretty bad track record…averaging a bounce every six months.
For my part, I’ve been her home for six years.
You’d think that would get me a little loyalty, but no. It’s always something. This door is too closed, these windows face the wrong direction, you’re not warm enough, there aren’t any birds outside. Or – her fave, I think – you aren’t bleeding freely enough.
Breakfast was served too late, or not early enough. You served me the same dinner two days in a row. And it was cold tonight.
She has a distinct way in which she voices her displeasure. I call them Protest Poops.
They started as part of her complaining about her litter box, and usually occur about a foot away from the box. Subtle, no?
The cat seems to like smelly things, food & treats mostly – but her litter box is no exception. I learned that changing the litter resulted in her boycotting the box altogether. That was certainly no good.
A cat who is freaked out by fresh litter?
The workaround seemed to be that I scoop for a few days and then add in some fresh stuff. But that’s not an exact science, and sometimes I was reprimanded with a protest poop to encourage me to do better on my ratio-making.
Quick reminder, she doesn’t seem to care too much for me, so there’s that.
Lately, though, The Mistress’ displeasure seems to be escalating.
She had a habit a couple years ago of peeing in the shower. I blamed it on some rando pissing in my shower after an evening of – um…entertainment, so I couldn’t really be mad at her for doing what animals do, right?
Simple solution: my bathroom door is always closed now. Plus, it saves toilet paper.
But she’s also started pooping further away from her box. Behind the front door, behind her cat tree, in the bedroom, behind her other cat tree.
We’ve had conversations about it. Well, some conversations. It’s either she doesn’t want to talk about it or she just screams at me and won’t have a dialogue.
With few choices left in my arsenal, I started punishing her. If she pooped outside her box, no dinner/breakfast, depending on the time of the offense. On the flip side, I started giving her treats exclusively when I cleaned her box. Same with breakfast, if I heard her using her box, I’d get up and clean her box, then give her breakfast.
She’s always been a food motivated creature.
Of course, she started gaming the system. She’s no dummy.
She’d use her box and immediately jump up on the shelf where I give her treats.
I look over, tail twitching, chin bobbing in my direction, as if to say, <ahem>!
Well, it was a system that worked, I guess.
Until the other day.
I was on a call and heard her scratching dramatically at her box.
Really hamming it up.
But I’m on a call, so I’m stuck at my desk, right? There’s only so far you can go wearing a headset that’s plugged into your laptop. And I’d already learned that my desk was too close to the cat box, so I’d moved it across the living space.
After the call ends, I get up to go do my scoop and reward routine. The box was empty.
Laughing at how manipulative she is, I go looking for her. I find her mid-poop in the bedroom behind her cat tree.
“Do we need to talk about this, Myrtle?!?”
“You’re a bad kitty! So baaaaad!”
Myrtle runs for the bed and stuffs her fatness flat as her back paws claw her slowly under. It’s quite pathetic to witness. Probably how she feels when she sees me trying to get off the couch.
All I hear of her for the next six hours – aka: dinner time – is a random plaintive meow from under the bed when I walk by.
Such a bad kitty.
And a bad kitty who still wanted dinner?
The feline hubris.
I made her wait a few hours. Just on principle.