by Lisa Stahr
Ok, I’ll be the first to admit, it isn’t all sunshine and bluebirds living with a special needs pet. Sometimes it’s frustrating, heartbreaking, maddening, or, like the other day, just plain gross.
It was late in the evening and I had gotten up from my reading to get a drink of water from the kitchen. As I walked through the dining room, Geronimo, our little champagne tabby with partially paralyzed back legs, went scooting by, darting under the table just in front of me. I didn’t think much of it—he flies around the house like that a lot of times, especially when he’s in one of his “Spawn of Satan” moods and is terrorizing the other cats. But mid-stride, I caught a whiff of something poopy and immediately started to look around. Although G usually poops when I express his bladder, sometimes he gets off schedule and goes whenever he has to—and wherever he has to, unfortunately. Sure enough, he’d had a bowel movement in the entry hall and had managed to drag himself through it. (Why that cat has to reverse over his own poops, I’ll never understand. Wouldn’t you think he’d want to get away from it?) Anyway, there was a “snail trail” of poop that started in the entry hall and went down the hallway, into the living room, and then the dining room. G was running away from me, it turned out, because he knew he’d pooped and he knew I’d soon be grabbing him to clean him up.
And he was right.
After calling to my husband to keep the dog in the library with him (all too often she “helps” by cleaning up the poop before I can get to it), I grabbed G and made a beeline for the kitchen sink. Pretty much the whole length of his tail was smeared with icky, gooey, watery poop. It was gross, but the rest of him was pretty clean, which was good news—usually he gets it all over his back legs, too.
“Hey, not too bad,” I thought as we headed for the sink. But G wasn’t happy with the prospect of even a quick “tail” bath and he started meowing and squirming in my hands. Because of his partial paralysis, he can’t move his tail very well, so it hung limply as he fussed.
“Shh, you’re ok,” I told him. “I’m just going to rinse you off.”
But G wanted no part of it. He squirmed. He mewed. And in a super-feline fit of pique, he flicked his icky, gooey, poopy tail straight up in the air and spattered my face and my hair with watery poop.
I was so grossed out, I wanted to scream, but I didn’t say a word (I had poop on my lips, I didn’t dare say anything!). I just grabbed a handful of paper towels and wiped myself off as quick as I could, then with my lips pursed so tight they looked like a cat’s butt, I washed that cat off and put him back down on the floor before you could say “OhmygodIhavecatshitallovermyface!”
It was truly one the most disgusting moments in my life. In fact, it still grosses me out to think about it. But that’s what happens when you live with a disabled cat. There are good times and there are bad times. And once in awhile, there are times that just make you want to throw up.