A little back story – I adopted Spike from an animal shelter in Southern California when I was in college. I was in a pretty bad place mentally while I was living there and a furry critter was just the thing I needed to brighten my otherwise dreary and jam-packed days.
He went almost everywhere with me, this little black puffball of love; to work (I was a nanny), to the beach, multiple long car drives back home to Northern California where he would curl up with his head on my lap for the whole four hours. He got along famously with my best friend/roommate’s dog. I had finally achieved my life-long goal of “puppies and kitties living together as best friends!” Yeah, I aim low, sue me. The funk that I was in while living in LA is a long story for another time, but basically, Spike was my beacon of light during a very dark time in my life.
When we moved back home to my parents in Northern California, Spike became an indoor/outdoor country kitty. He would play outside during the day, then come in at night to sleep on my head. One weekend, while I was housesitting for some friends out of town, he didn’t come home Friday night. Not wanting to worry me when I was away and unable to do anything about it, my mom didn’t call to tell me. When I returned home on Sunday, she filled me in that he had been gone but was home now, just tired and a little dirty, and was in my room. When I walked in, I immediately knew something was up. This cat behaves more like a dog than a cat, always running to greet me at the door when I would return from somewhere. This time, I opened the door to my room, he looked up at me, then resumed his prone position on the bed. I picked him up in my arms like a baby, gently poking and prodding at him to check for injuries. I shifted my arms to get a better angle on him, which was when his back leg totally dropped out. It was like the insides were no longer connected. Come to find out, they weren’t. His back leg was broken completely at the hip and the knee.
From what we can surmise, my little 8-month-old kitten had either been kicked by a large farm animal or hit by a car. Since he came in every night, it is safe to assume this happened on Friday. It took him almost two days to get home, but get home he did, because he knew when he got there I would take care of him. Against all the nay-sayers who couldn’t believe I would drop the kind of money on vet bills that I did (particularly because I was a college student with little income and had to take out a personal loan), they were able to rebuild him. One of his nicknames is the $6 Million Cat, thought it wasn’t quite that much. He has an artificial growth plate in his hip and some pins in his legs, neither of which hamper his ability to do anything, from running and jumping to methodically destroying the house room by room.
Which brings me to my point with this article: How do I defend this little bastard against all the havoc he has wreaked upon our house*? I have copious amounts of guilt and affection for him because of our history and co-dependence; my husband does not. Some details to make it clear that my husband is not being heartless: Spike has caused about $20,000 worth of damage to the house, which is probably a low estimate. He has chosen his special spots in the house in which to deposit his nuclear grade piss, eating through carpets, baseboards and molding. I had to tear the carpet out of my closet because he had peed in there so much I couldn’t keep my clothes in it. He has urinated on the stair landings so often that there is no way to get the funk out short of ripping it all up. He’s a crafty little asshole, too; he does his dastardly deeds right after we leave in the morning so they have all day to maximize destructive effects (if you don’t know how I am aware of his excellent timing, please see my article “When Roombas Attack” in the archives). God forbid I be able to clean them up shortly after they occur.
Now that we are at a point where we will probably be moving into another house at some point in the near future, the husband and I need to address the Spike issue. Jon thinks he should be an outdoor cat in order to completely remove his ability to “fuck up a whole new house.” I think Spike should at least be given one chance to prove he isn’t a complete dickbag at a new location. There have been a number of discussions about this situation which have been contentious enough that Jon has taken to activating the voice recorder on his iPhone, which in turn leads me to say, loudly and clearly, directly into the mic, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I never said that. Perhaps you should have started recording me earlier.” I do that because Spike gets his assholeishness from his momma.
The reality is, I don’t want to have another place ruined by cat piss. I don’t want to keep spending money on “miracle” cures for getting rid of the stains and the smell**. It is gross, it is embarrassing, and it is frustrating that it is one issue where I have to admit that my husband is right. I hate that. On the other hand, the cat has proven he is missing the what-is-that-loud-sound-oh-shit-it’s-a-car-I-must-get-out-of-the-road gene, so I don’t want him to be an outside cat, either. Short of having him fitted with a kitty catheter AND colostomy bag so I have complete control of where his bodily fluids go, I really have no ideas. I want to believe he will be different in a new place, but I can want in one hand and let him crap outside the litter box in the other; I’m pretty sure which one will fill up first.
Has anyone out there had to negotiate this with their partner? Does anyone have any ideas for me to try? Any help will be much, much appreciated.
* This is not a medical issue. Trust me. I have spent a ton of time and money at the vet trying to determine if his spraying and pooping were medically related. They are not. He has been diagnosed, by the vet, as an asshole.
** Do not waste your money on any of the store-bought solutions. The only thing that actually works is 8 ounces of hydrogen peroxide, one tablespoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of dish soap. This little mixture took out a stain that I had gone at with at least 10 different cleaners and two industrial carpet cleaners. All you do is mix it up, pour it on and let it dry. Amazing.Related