There are few things I enjoy watching on television more than shows about animals. Not the obnoxious shows like the “Pet Star” with Slater from “Saved by the Bell”, but the raw and amazing footage of animals interacting in the wild. This footage, such as the three cheetahs hunting an ostrich last night during “Life” on the Discovery Channel, is one of the few things that can keep my attention for more than 35 seconds. If you don’t believe me, I just went and made a sandwich before typing this sentence.
My interest in animals is a result of how my parents raised me and my older brothers; They tried to teach us non-violence by not letting us have cable television or a Nintendo, and taking away the weapons that came with my Ninja Turtles. Their attempts at non-violence were made with the best intentions, but it is hard to keep little boys from being violent. That is why it was difficult for us to play with Popples, Care Bears, and My Little Ponies instead of the GI Joes and He-Man figures that our friends had. It also probably explains why the one time some jerk at a bar picked a fight with me and my brothers in college, my brothers both rolled up into a ball on the floor, and I tried to brush the guy’s hair.
Even though that didn’t really happen, I definitely played with Popples, Care Bears and My Little Ponies, and I always carry a hair brush just in case I ever do get into my first fight. What actually resulted from the lack of cable, Nintendo, and toys-with-weapons was a well-developed sense of creativity and an advanced understanding of hand-to-hand combat, which is how the Ninja Turtles fought the My Little Ponies. Instead of violent Nintendo games like Contra that involved a little pixellated army guy violently shooting a dot, a row of dots, or several rows of dots from his gun, I was encouraged by my parents to watch educational tv shows. Nature shows were always my favorite. I would watch death, violence, mating, and other primal acts without getting in trouble because it was educational. However, when my parents caught me watching the love scene between Patrick Swayze(rest in peace) and Demi Moore in Ghost, my dad took the movie away and told me I couldn’t watch TV for a week. I asked why that was different from two lions, but my dad acted like he didn’t hear me. It was okay because I had seen that part fifty times in a row anyway and it was committed to memory.
My parents eventually gave up on their attempts to promote non-violence, most likely because my brother would bite his bologna sandwich into the shape of a gun to shoot me, and I would put the cherry jelly from my PB&J on my shirt and lay on the ground to look like I got shot. Because my parents gave up, or realized boys will be boys, my little brother owned lots of toys with weapons. He also owned a paintball gun which is an actual weapon, unlike Michelangelo’s plastic nun-chuks that my parents took away from me which were more of a choking hazard than a weapon. Now that I think about it, my little brother might have had real nun-chuks too. He also was allowed to play with firecrackers, eat real fruit snacks (not generic fruit rectangles like I got), and didn’t have to finish his green beans. I guess those are the perks of being the youngest of four boys.
What is interesting to me about nature programs is that they will show all the violence, mating, baby animals dying, and other intense and sometimes upsetting footage, yet I’ve never once seen footage of an animal pooping. I happen to know, from a book I once read in college, that everybody poops. I am not going to mention excrement again (by a non-humorous name), assuming the nature programs are correct in their assumption that people don’t want to see it (or read about it), but it was the perfect lead-in for discussing the pros and cons of owning a pet.
Dog=Man’s Best Friend, Cat=Resides at our House
I bought our cat, Who Dey, as a gift for my wife (who at the time was my girlfriend) in college. Aside from being the worst idea ever and the stupidest thing I’ve ever done, it was a good gift. This is because there is the slight possibility that my wife stayed with me because we had a pet together, so in that case Who Dey could have had a similar effect as an engagement ring. That makes sense, considering over the years he has cost me about 30 times as much as my wife’s engagement ring did. For example, I just spent $20 on an eye ointment for him because he got jalapeno juice on his paw from walking on the kitchen counter after I made salsa, then put it in his eye. He doesn’t have the animal instincts that I hear about on TV, so that makes me feel like the animals on TV raise the bar just like humans on TV make me feel like a fatty.
My Special Cat (keyword:special)
I’m very glad that we have Who Dey now, but when my wife’s college roommates said he couldn’t live at their house due to their allergies (which was completely understandable, because my eyes have not stopped itching since), my roommates and I got a 5th roommate who managed to smell worse than all of us combined. This collegiate upbringing had a lasting effect on Who Dey, such as last night when I found him licking Newman’s Own dressing out of a bowl in the sink. Or why he, like moths and flies, can’t resist an open flame. I still can’t explain why he likes to get completely inside the toilet bowl and just hang out like he’s in a hot tub or something, but I’ve noticed that since my wife and I caught him doing this, she holds him a lot less.
Who Dey likes to hang out with people, and if I am in the house he will be in the same room as me. My wife says he loves me, but I know it is because I’m always eating, and I drop food a lot. When I watch nature programs, Who Dey occasionally will watch them with me, but only when the show is about big cats. He becomes fixated on the TV screen and watches attentively as a lion tackles a wildebeest. It is probably how I look when I watch anything on the Food Network.
On one occasion we were watching a show on Animal Planet about starving lions that started eating people from an African village. I swear that when I would look at the TV, Who Dey would stare at me, and then when I would look at him, he would look quickly back at the TV. Maybe I was just being paranoid, but just in case I locked him in the basement until my wife got home. Before PETA comes to take Who Dey away, or throw paint on me, or whatever they do, I must say the basement is where his food, water, and litter box are and he loves it down there. It is supposed to be my “man cave” and I would love it down there too, but before I got my laptop I’d be in the basement doing work on the computer and then all the sudden a certain familiar stench would fill the room, followed by a much more relaxed Who Dey running back upstairs, followed by me running upstairs while trying to hold my breath, which is hard because I’m out of shape.
In other words I am very thankful for my new laptop because now I only go into the basement to empty Who Dey’s litter box, which is still an awful experience. The process is terrible. I have to sift through litter with a plastic scooper like I’m searching for gold nuggets. Except instead of gold nuggets, I find stinky Who Dey nuggets, which rank in value just below chicken nuggets and right above the Denver Nuggets.I can’t believe that as long as cats have been domesticated (even before ancient Egyptians), no one has invented a better system for cleaning litter boxes. My brother-in-law and his wife have a cat named Chuck Norris that uses the human toilet, literally. It sits on the pot and goes! I would try to teach Who Dey to do this, but he was the runt of his litter and I don’t think his brain fully developed. I also suspect it is because they named their cat Chuck Norris, so he can probably do anything he wants.
Because Who Dey is no Chuck Norris, and I’m tired of him watching me clean his litter box, I needed a Good Idea to make the process of cleaning the litter box easier. Here is what I came up with:
The Good Idea
My inspiration for this Good Idea came from the analogy I made earlier of mining for gold. I realized that if the small scooper was so effective, then why not use a giant scooper, or better yet, turn the entire box into a sifter? The following are the steps involved with making this simple design come to life! (I have replaced real Who Dey by-products with an almond/cashew mix and lemonade so this next part would be moderately less disgusting.)
1. Find three storage bins of the same size and shape. I’ll call these bin A, B, and C
2. Draw lines on bin A similar to those found on the standard scooper (tracing is optional, but you’ll get poo on your marker)
3. Cut out the lines carefully, being sure to cut away from the body to avoid possibly slipping and cutting a hole in my knee cap.
4. Place bin A into bin B, then fill with litter
5. When the litter needs cleaning, lift bin A out of bin B, and place leftover “items” into a trash bag
6. Throw away trash bag
7. Place Bin A into Bin C, then pour the litter from bin B into bin A
8. Relax and enjoy the leftover lemonade!
Side Note: Make sure your cat knows this is his new litter box and doesn’t poo on your fooseball table
One week and several trips to the litter box later,Who Dey and I can both vouch for the NuggetFinder2010 (which is what I decided to call my Good Idea). Because of the sheer simplicity of this Good Idea, I am sure someone will try to say they had the idea first. However, I am willing to take it to court, or if you would prefer we settle it in the old-fashioned way, we could go outside and brush each other’s hair.