Ever notice how little wrenches thrown into the pattern of a 24-hour day make life interesting? I’m understanding the truth of this more these days, and that’s a good thing, as I mean “interesting” in a good way. I’m thinking small wrenches (nuisance) as opposed to giant ones (catastrophe).
Late Tuesday night last week, I got halfway into bed, all content, clean, and warm from the shower, cozy in my nightshirt and jammie pants.
A few hours later, I was not in bed. I was out on the back patio, working in our outdoor laundry room. I took a garbage bag and bagged up soiled, smelly blankets and linens. I dragged the carpet out of the room so I could remove everything else, and then I mopped, swept, and mopped a second time. I washed a wall. I wiped down shelves. I finally made it to bed three hours into Wednesday. And that was how last week Wednesday began. I shuffled through the day, because there’s a big difference between staying up late for normal reasons and staying up late due to unplanned, vigorous physical work in the middle of the night.
Parents of humans must feel something like this, I imagine. Kid throws up in the middle of the night, parent cleans up the aftermath and shuffles through the next day. Am I right?
I’m a cat parent; what happened on Tuesday night was an un-neutered stray cat availed himself of our outdoor laundry room’s cat door. When I rushed outside to confirm my suspicion, the stench slapped the confirmation onto my face the second I opened the door. Have you ever smelled un-neutered male cat spray?
This cat felt the need to make inhospitable a place where a different stray cat takes refuge. This other cat is female and spayed. She’s a black cat. This is the second time in three years I’ve been adopted by a female black cat, and I feel quite honored by this, I’ll have you know. (Some of you may remember Cita.) We call this one “Salem” after Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s black cat.
Anyway, I’m a black cat foster mom, is what I am, and my current foster baby is being bullied by this other cat. He’s long, tall, and fluffy, and he’ll be damned if another street kid finds a comfy refuge in a yard he can access. He must go in and do his duty of ruining it for her by marking “his” territory with a noxious spray. He sprayed in her bed, with everything around it winding up as collateral damage. Floor. Wall. Shelves. I don’t know how he did it, but he did. It was like he turned on his damn sprinkler system full-blast, rather than just using his hose. Or maybe that’s just how spraying works…?
[Sidenote: We’re trying to figure out how to stage a trap-neuter-release (TNR) for this cat. The challenge lies in trapping him, and not Salem or some other cat.]
I actually don’t know whether this male cat is a stray or simply someone’s roaming indoor/outdoor cat, but our little Salem is definitely a stray. She needs us.
[Second sidenote: sorry about the confusion of three similar words dotted throughout this post. I’m trying to keep “spray,” “stray,” and “spay” in separate paragraphs.]
If you’re wondering how I knew that a cat had gone into the laundry room, the answer is SURVEILLANCE. We have sensors and a camera with sound alert that also delivers images to our email inboxes. Someone goes into that laundry room, we hear it and see it.
Speaking of cats! I’ll leave you with this picture of our Nenette, because I can. I got lucky with this one. She wasn’t as lucky. Neither was Holder the plant.
All of this to say, I’ve realized that a nuisance caused by an unplanned event can keep me nimble mental health-wise, and I rather appreciate this. I wish it wasn’t at the expense of my foster kid, though.