Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cats and Sand

Without a doubt, the most fascinating thing I do every day is feed the kittens. From the moment I walk in to the moment they bury their faces in kibble, every action I take is judged against the metric of "Am I eating right now" and until they adjudge that the Being Fed meter is full my actions are criticized with the harshest of meows and judgmental glares.

The second most interesting thing I do is clean the litter box.

Before I begin I attempt to explain. "I am going to clean this out and as soon as I am done it will be a pile of clean sand, which is vastly preferable to soiled sand." This completely rational explanation is apparently beyond them, probably because cats can't talk, and would likely not be inclined to listen even if they did.

So I kneel down, grab the scoop, and begin digging through the first box. Any sort of interesting noise draws the both of them and Charlemagne pitter-patters up behind me so that she has a clear view of exactly what is occuring. And the look she gives me indicates that she does not in any way approve.

"Who do you think you are," She asks, "To consider yourself worthy of the task in which you are presently engaged? Do you know," She gives an exasperated huff, "Do you know who I am? I am Charlemagne, emperor of the Franks and god-granted ruler of half a continent. And you, filthy blogger who vanishes inexplicably for hours during the day, are quite literally unworthy to handle my excrement. I demand, nay, I require, that you honor this authority granted to me by all the very heavens, put down that shovel, and remove yourself from my sight."

"But," I reply, attempting reason, "If I don't clean the box, it will just get dirtier and dirtier. Who, if not me, will clean it?"

She blinks with all the hauteur that only the most majestic beings are capable of and replies, "Obviously, I will order it to be clean and then it will be so."

"But it doesn't work like that."


Oh, dear, I think to myself, and continue to clean as she continues to glower. By this time, King Solomon, who has been watching the exchange with droopy eyelids, chimes in. "Wha-what are you doing."

I remain under strict orders of silence from her high empress, so I merely continue scooping. He catches a glimpse of the focus of my task and his eyes widen. "Wa-Wait, noooo... that's, that's omygosh that's my poos! Yer stealin my poos!"

"No, I'm just-"

"That's my poos! Why would you take those from me? I put them there for a reason. Quit stealin my poooooooooos!" At which point he springs into action, bringing himself up on all four legs and quicksteps into the sand. "Noooo! NOOO! Thems is mah poos." He steps on the scoop, buried half in the sand and containing a fair bit of nightsoil and uses every one of his six pounds to pin it down lest more be removed from the sandbox. I am not in the best of shape, but I do outweigh him by a factor of twenty five, so after a great struggle I manage to life the scoop and let the clean sand flow through the holes. King Solomon looks up at me, eyes wide and wetted with tears and gives a single, small "Meow". Every shameful deed and every scrap of guilt I have ever experienced follows that squeak and reminds me that maybe death is the last honorable option left to me.

Then I finish scooping and proceed to the next box, where the cycle begins afresh.

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