A cat by any other name

Movin' on up



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Meow to me

You've been eyeing them for a while. You've seen the commercials and read the ads and even seen a few of them in acquaintances' houses and you've been thinking about it for a while, but it has always seemed, well, so extravagant to spend all that money. But you've got all those cats and you've tried every type of litter there is - recycled newspaper that looked like rabbit pellets, scoopable litter that has a tendency to track *everywhere*, little silicon pearls that rolled all over the floor and felt oh-so-wonderful under the feet. And then one day you're at the giant Pet Super Store and you see them on sale and you've got the money - it's never been about the money, just the *concept* of the money - and you say what the hell and you buy it - the Super Deluxe Automatic Electric Self-Scooping Litter Pan.

You drive home, telling yourself alternately that this is the stupidest idea in the world and the cats will never use it, and then switching to dreamy thoughts of how nice it will be to never have to scoop a litter box again - never have to crouch over the pans, bleary eyed each morning, inhaling clay dust or sifting through pellets.

You get home and bring the box inside, along with the hefty sack of litter you bought special just for the occasion. The cats swarm you but that's normal when you come home because they all wants pets and scritches and oh, you brought them a nice box to sit on.

You remove the Grouchy Tortie from the box and you drag your purchases down the hall, and because you're so used to living alone you talk with the cats as you go, telling them that you have bought them a wonderful new present and that they had darn well better use it because it was expensive.

You deposit box and sack in the middle of the floor. ThreeBrainCelled WonderBoy and SqueakyPurred NoseLicker sit and stare pointedly into the food bowl because you have committed the grave sin of letting the level of kibble sink below the edge of the bowl. Invisible Cat peers around the corner, spots the box, which, he is sure, contains a device created solely for the purposes of torturing him (although to him, everything appears that way, including newspapers, cereal bowls, and paper bags) and disappears into the linen closet.

You open the box, rescuing the styrofoam inserts from SqueakyPurred NoseLicker. TrillCat and CuteEvilPuffball take turns chewing a hole in the bottom of the new sack of litter. You drag out the new litter box, and read through the manual, not because you couldn't figure out how to put it all together by yourself, but because the fact that it says it's only to be used by cats makes you giggle because then naturally you start to think about other things that could use it and...well...anyway, you assemble it and stuff all the stray wrapping bits back into the box, first removing CuteEvilPuffball and you fill it with litter and then you plug it in and sit back and marvel as it rakes itself clean and smooth.

The cats eye the new litter box warily. You tell them that you paid a lot of money. You point out to GrouchyTortie that she in particular should like it since she's been the biggest stickler for keeping those pots scooped before. You tell SqueakyPurred NoseLicker that the ramp is not edible. You break down and pour more kibble into the food bowls if only to keep her from gnawing on the sides of the box.

The cats all make a show of using the old litter boxes, right at that moment, and ignoring the new one.

You reluctantly leave the room and go off to do other things around the house like maybe tackling that stack of dirty dishes in the sink, but you listen intently for that sound because they *will* use it, they will, you're sure of it, because if they don't you're out that much money.

And then the sound of the box raking itself starts up and you tear down the hall and peer around the doorway and watch in fascination as it cleans itself without you doing *anything* and you excitedly tell your friends on Instant Messenger that it is just SO COOL and you are SO PSYCHED, and you're so thrilled with the new heights to which your life is soaring that you even write a journal entry about it and then, you finally come to the inevitable conclusion that this is it, you've hit the big time, and the dream has finally happened - you have reached that level of luxury where you never have to scoop the litter box again, and you sit back and you think to yourself "Ah, this is the life."