Something They Don’t Tell You About Pet Ownership

For those of you familiar with my articles here, you know that it is not uncommon for me to come home from a long day of work to be greeted with the deathly stench of cat feces. It is, unfortunately, something I have just become accustomed to. It is, as they say, what it is. So when I came home yesterday to the reeking hell that is my life, I headed straight for the downstairs bathroom, Spike’s chosen location for dookage. The bathroom that is three feet from the litterbox. But I digress. I was greeted not by by his usual male human-sized poop, but a runny mess of diarrhea. Here my resigned resentment towards him immediately shifted to panicked concern, but vet trips aren’t what this article is about, so I’ll stick with the immediate issue. I cleaned up the runny spoils of his colon, sprayed some air freshener, turned on the fan and went about my evening routine.

And yet, the smell lingered. Usually the above mentioned protocol takes care of everything within 15-30 minutes, so I started seeking out other hidden treasures. Under the desk, behind the litter box, the corner by the garage door; nothing to be found. I figured it was just a particularly rank bowel movement and we were going to have to wait it out a bit longer than usual. I walked back over to where Spike was laying on the tile floor to rub his upset belly when I noticed the smell increase. It was then it dawned on me, with the horror that always accompanies said realization, where the smell was coming from (the call is coming from inside the house!); he had streaks of crap stuck in his fur.

Spike looks like this-

He has long hair, which makes him quite handsome, but it makes his dingleberries challenging. While a short-haired cat or dog doesn’t have anything for the poop to cling to, I have chosen a cat and a dog that have long hair. The thing that nobody tells you about pet ownership? You will, more often than you have ever imagined possible, have to wipe, pull, or cut shit out of your animal’s butt hair.

Sometimes you will luck out. Maybe a little poop hanger-on can be easily removed with little more than a few squares of toilet paper. Sometimes, you will need to grab a handful of wet paper towels and wipe away more substantial chunk-age. And sometimes, some awful, horrifying, vomit-inducing times, you will be required to hold your animal down while simultaneously lifting their tails and wielding tiny scissors in order to cut gobs of crap out of the tangles of fur surrounding their assholes. You may be lucky- it could be a hard poop that somehow got caught up in some fur and can be dealt with swiftly in a few short snips. If you have my animals, however, this will never, EVER be the case. No, no, no, not in our house. If I am not diligent about keeping the fur around my pet’s anuses trimmed nice and tidy (let me stress what a joy that process is for both them and myself), I will be punished with a gnarled mass of hair and crap that cannot merely be snipped out. Oh no, my friends. What I am required to do is don rubber gloves and grab the shit-streaked clumps with my freaking hands in order to make sure I can cut everything out without doing any damage to their precious little poop-chutes.

Once the trimming process is through, you then have to deal with the residuals. This means bath time. If you have ever tried to bathe the average cat, you know this is not a pleasant task. The only way I can do it “successfully” (I have concluded bathing a cat can never be considered actually successful because of all the collateral damage) is to hold him in my arms like I am burping a baby and shower us both with the faucet nozzle as I frantically try to soap and rinse him while having my clothing and skin slashed to ribbons. The dog is easier because she weighs four pounds, but you would think, based on her behavior, that instead of gently holding her in perfectly warmed water and softly massaging her with expensive and lovely doggy shampoos and conditioners, that I am repeatedly punching her in the face as hard as I can. Seriously. That dog puts on an Oscar worthy performance every time she hears the word “bath”; shivering, cowering, hiding under tables. It makes me feel horribly guilty, even though I know she is being ridiculous.

Just a little food for thought for your Friday afternoon, everyone. While I wouldn’t trade my animals for anything in the world (trust me, my husband has offered me pretty much anything I could possibly want to get rid of Spike), I can say, without a doubt, that nobody ever informed me about the amount of time I would spend with the area in which they release the foulest things their little bodies contain. At least now I can honestly say I warned you…

11 thoughts on “Something They Don’t Tell You About Pet Ownership”

  1. That sounds pretty bad. Of course, you would think that with smaller animals, the poop situation would be better. I mean, less animal = less poop, right? I have a small hedgehog, and he is a poop machine. He runs around the floor and he poops. That’s it.

    But yeah…things people don’t tell you about pet ownership: hedgehogs don’t have much of a nervous system, and they will claw their own eye out if something gets in the eye. Now you know! :)

  2. Jersey’s poop hole is gloriously hair free. The odd time she’s had a cling-on I’ve actually thought to myself how glad I am of that fact.

    I raise my glass to your fortitude, Kym.

    Also, attached is one of my favourite graphics I’ve discovered on the interwebs about washing your dog.

  3. My dogs have (thankfully) never really had poop issues, but I came home today to find that Boy Dog had puked and peed in his crate while I was at work. So I had to bathe him, Which, if anyone is unfamiliar with chihuahuas with behavioral issues, is a little bit like wrestling angry spaghetti.

  4. And let’s not forget those delightful times when your pet decides it would be fun to eat a bunch of string or Christmas tree tinsel and they end up running around the house with festive crap-streamers hanging out their ass.  Good times.

    I am pretty lucky.  My cat, who has scarred me during her monthly flea treatments, is pretty easy to bathe.  She just calmly and persistently tries to climb out of the tub, but she will allow herself to be stopped by a firm hand.  It’s when she gets out of the tub and I try to dry her off that she retreats into the corner, hissing, spitting and claw swiping in the cat version of “You’ll never take me alive copper!  I ain’t going back!”

  5. I have a long haired persian who always gets diarrhea right before he throws up a hairball. If I am lucky I get to him before he’s had a chance to sit on the furniture. Sometimes he manages to get it on his tail as he’s leaving the litter box and then transfers it onto the walls. Ah, those are fun times. It’s good incentive to keep up with his grooming.

  6. I was petsitting for my parents when their Bernese Mountain Dog/Border Collie cross came down with a 4 day bout of diarrhea.  He was mostly white and had incredibly long butt and tail fur.  To make matters worse, he hated being brushed lower than his hips and my parents had allowed all that fur to get matted.

    I spent most of my free time bathing, clipping and brushing that dog.  To say the least, we had dominance issues firmly worked out by the time my parents returned.

  7. I have definitely pulled so many poop clumps out of Linus’ ass – who looks like Spike.  I also had a supply of baby wipes for a while because Lucy is too fat to clean her own ass and it gets nasty.  I’ve also cleaned up so. much. cat puke.  Animals are disgusting.

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