Friday, July 25, 2008

R.I.P. St. John Bosco

St. John Bosco. Brooklyn, NY, 2001.

Actually, that's a little premature. The cat's not dead yet. But I thought I should write this now, while I feel sorry for her, rather than any time after ten minutes from now, which is when I plan to start scrubbing out the LEGO bin that she seems to have been using for a litter box ever since her kidneys started failing.

These are the things I have said to my kids this morning:

"No, I don't think she peed in the lego bin. I'm sure she just peed on the floor and some of the lego got in the puddle."

"What?! Let me see."

"Well, St. John Bosco is sick, you know. She was probably too tired and weak to get downstairs to the litter box and this was the most similar thing."

"No, yeah, she's not going to live much longer. Daddy took her to the vet and it turns out her kidneys aren't working right. Didn't Daddy tell you?"

"Yeah I know it smells. But it's just a little pee. I'm going to pour all the lego into this net bag and I'll put the bag into the dishwasher and - AAAA!"

"This is carpet cleaner. Yeah I know I put a lot on. Just let it dry, ok?"

We got St. John Bosco and her sister, Buzz Aldrin, from the pound in Brooklyn as kittens in 1997. They played with string for a while and then settled in to their jobs turning money into feces and hair. Cat-shaped lumps who only got up to binge on Hill's Science Diet, yakk some of it back up for us, and find a more comfortable position on the couch. As soon as we brought a baby home to watch Buffy with us, I have to say I sort of lost track of them. Bob fed them and changed the litter. I trimmed their claws. They hid. In a display of
uncharacteristic savvy and cooperation, they ran under the bed when the baby came home in 2001 and have since then only emerged after the children are asleep or when Bob is making a bologna sandwich.

The Best Sitter in the World, Marci, had been babysitting my kids twice a week for eighteen months when we came home one evening and she said, "You know, I think a cat got in your house. I think it's upstairs." She'd never seen either St. John Bosco or her sister Buzz Aldrin. They nicest thing we ever did for them was move to a house with a basement.

I'd like to say that St. John Bosco was a good kitty. She wasn't, really. Not very affectionate. Not very clean. Fought with her sister. Peed on beds, kind of a lot. Sharpened her claws on my Double-H short biker boots (now discontinued and thus irreplaceable) and my red Dansko clogs, ruining both pairs of shoes. Power barfer.

My idea was to pour the lego into a net lingerie bag and then run it through the dishwasher, and scrub out the bin using the hose outside. But when I emptied the lego into the bag, rather a lot of dark, terrible cat pee poured out of the bin and onto the carpet. I dumped the net bag back in the bin and whisked the whole thing into the kitchen sink. I poured Dawn over the whole mess and turned on the hot water. That's when the spray bounced off the lego and hit my face, a yummy cocktail of sick cat pee, hot water, and detergent, and that's when I turned around and called the kids into the kitchen:

"Boys? You know sometimes you irritate the heck out of me?"
"Sometimes I get upset with you if you're mean to each other?"
"Sometimes it's really frustrating when you don't do what I say?"
"Uh huh..."
"Well, right now I just want to tell you how proud I am of you - every day. And I want to thank you for never ever - ever - peeing in the lego box. You guys are the best."