Thursday, February 23, 2012

Olfactory Assault

Pilchard's been a bit of a crab the last couple of weeks. Cats are like kids. They can't tell you what's wrong. The best Pilchard can do is stand in the middle of the floor and meow piteously. She has been standing at the back door looking outside when I do the dishes. Then she'll look at me and meow, as if she wants to go outside. But, on these lovely late winter days when the temps are in the upper 30's, she comes out onto the deck, sniffs the air and decides she'd rather be inside, sitting in her box, than out on the deck with me.

There's an edge to the meow, too. I can tell she's irritated or upset with something, but I can't figure out what. She wants in my lap and then she wants out and will, once she jumps off my lap, stand on the floor and meow at me. They have plenty of food and fresh water and I clean the litter boxes every other day. It struck me, over the weekend, that the litter boxes may be the source of the anger.

I use either Arm & Hammer or Fresh Steps litter. It depends upon which one is on sale at the time that I either need it or have the funds on hand to buy a box. I try to buy when they are really cheap so I'm not forking out twice the money because I have to have it.

A month ago, I bought a box of Fresh Steps. It didn't look any different than any other box of this kind of litter that I've usually bought. It is different. It's got a scent. "Whoa Nellie!" to purloin Keith Jackson's signature exclamation, does it have a scent. I didn't see the "scented" label on the front.

It's awful. It's really bad. This is not a delicate scent designed to gently perfume the air, much like blooming lilacs on a May morning. This is a "Hey, this stuff stinks so we're going to completely cover that smell with this one!" I can't even describe whether this is a floral or whatever kind of scent. I just know that it's incredibly overpowering. We usually use unscented litter which, if kept clean, does keep cat odors down. I can tell, when I walk into my house, if I haven't been diligent about removing waste. I really don't need to mask those odors with something horribly chemical in nature. If I don't like it, I'm very certain Pilchard's complaining is because she has to stand and dig in it and it assaults her nose worse than it assaults mine.

I'm down to the last quarter of that box. I checked the two boxes I've picked up on sale and neither one is scented. You can be certain I will, from now on, check the front of the box. I keep telling her that, in a month, this odor will be gone just by attrition. Plus, we'll have the windows open and will be airing out the house and it will be less an assault than a casual, "Oh yeah, that smell".

Beverage:  Irish Breakfast tea


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