The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Of Pine Trees and Peanut Butter

So, Knotty Kitty had some sage advice for me regarding the fur people (not about the salamanders--she is apparently not a salamander expert, more's the pity). She discovered that pine pellets actually absorb odor significantly more than any other cat litter on the market, they're biodegradable, and they're cheap. Being that lugging gerjillion pound boxes of clumping litter that magically forms little sheets of superglue in the litter box once a week was becoming a tad less fun than, oh, say getting a paper cut on my tongue, I was all for this. So I went out, bought a small bag of the things to start with, and dumped them on top of the old litter and stirred it up. I was thinking, you see, that I would do a half and half thing to sort of get them eased into this whole "peeing on pine pellets" thing. (It's pleasingly alliterative...why wouldn't they be delighted? Or so went my logic.)

All went well until 7:00 the next morning, when I went to clean the litter box and found it....suspiciously clean. Hm. And then I noticed poor Gracie, pacing around the litter box, meowing pitifully. There were no accidents, thankfully, but poor Gracie was deeply concerned about these strange things in her litter box. She had somehow managed to "hold it" all night, while waiting for me to come down so she could report the problem to someone in charge. You know, something like "Dude!! I didn't want to bug you, I really didn't, but there's this pine tree all chopped up in the litter box and I knew you wouldn't want me to pee on your pine tree and all so I didn't but man I gotta pee and please PLEASE do something about that tree before I explode!" Apparently it is a challenge for a cat to cross its legs.

I stirred the litter around more and attempted to explain things to her, largely because I'm completely insane and somehow believe that I can reason with a creature that thinks her name is "Damnit, get OFF the counter!!", thinks the plastic strip off a milk jug is the coolest toy in the entire world, and further believes that she she can catch and subdue the light from a laser pointer when directed at the ceiling. I have no real excuse for this lapse in my logic. I only know that it was 7:00am, I had an 8:00 class, I had no other cat litter, my cat was going into bladder spasm, and I seriously didn't want to clean up cat pee--or worse--when I got home, since two hours of chemistry are really enough crap for one day. So, I told her that it was FINE to pee on the pine tree, look, see? There's your regular litter underneath, and no, really, it's just the same, you may pee at will (though not at Will, because he gets testy about such things) and pleasepleaseplease use the litter box or I have no idea what I'm going to do in the limited time I have to resolve this issue before school.

Gracie circled the box warily, put in a paw, snatched it out again as if nipped by savage pirahnas, circled the box again, meowed at me, stuck a paw in again, yanked it back again.....for the love of all things wooly. I finally picked up the cat and dumped her unceremoniously in the litterbox, pine tree and all. She leaped out, but then leaped back in, apparently comforted that nothing had bitten off her feet during her millisecond long stay. I then did what any normal pet owner would do: I rewarded her for using the same litterbox she's used her whole life by allowing her to lick peanut butter off my finger. (She loves it--won't even eat meat when offered, but will all but climb in your mouth to get peanut butter if you're eating it.)

It's mornings like that that make me wonder if I may not know....completely normal. I don't know, call it a hunch, but I'm pretty sure that most people didn't start their day by bribing a one-eyed cat with peanut butter to get it to pee on pine pellets.

A UFO was sited at Chez Knitingale yesterday, as well:

Some of you may recognize the bell pattern shawl, being knit painfully slowly in Frog Tree Alpaca. Somehow, the reality of "it gets bigger every single row until eventually whatever row you're working on seems larger than George Bush's ego and you're pretty sure your clothes will be out of style by the time you've added a fraction of an inch" managed to escape me...until the rows started to be that long. I also started it on Denise needles which, while I adore my Denise needles, are not actually much sharper than Miss, or a dull crayon. That, coupled with the fact that 2 of every 18 rows consist of "k4tog tbl, k4 tog, knit 7, repeat across an eternity of stitches until you are drooling and babbling and can no longer recall what you're making" was enough to assure this particular UFO a place in a government hanger at Roswell forever. I caved in yesterday, though, and switched it to an Addis. It may critically alter the gauge but, in truth, it won't get finished anyway if I don't put it on something a tad bit pointier.
Lastly, I located a store nearby that imports all manner of goodness from England to folks like me who have not been to England in far too long and are pining. As a result of this, I have just ingested yet another digestive biscuit liberally spread with Nutella. If my butt starts to block out the sun on a bright day, I'm blaming all you English folks (you know who you are).


  • At 7:21 PM, Blogger knottykitty said…

    I have an announcement: Having been with you when you bought said digestive biscuits, and thus being tempted into buying my own package, with the addition of dark chocolate on top, I hold you personally responsible for the resulting weight gain I am about to experience, having already ingested about half the package of digestives!! It's about personal responsibility here (not MINE of course), and I'm holding YOU personally responsible! ;)

  • At 12:33 AM, Anonymous angie Cox said…

    Wiping eyes ..poor Gracie.Jeff used to swear that Tom only understood the words "Tom" , "Food" "Open Fridge" and "out" .I would have long conversations with him .The cutest kitten he'd try really hard to pee when I did as his litter tray was in the bathroom next to our larger one.
    One Mc Vitie's chocie digestive and your are hooked so we've learnt not to buy them or a packet will disappear in minutes.

  • At 4:26 AM, Blogger lisalouryan said…

    Thank you for the laughs this morning. Honestly, it's been a crazy week and this is just what I needed to lighten the mood!

    I too have furry, four-legged creatures living in my house - and can picture my cats doing exactly the same thing as your Gracie. They are creatures of habit!! Thankfully it worked out.

  • At 6:48 AM, Anonymous MonicaPDX said…

    Um-- Don't all good pet owners train their pets with the reward system? Whether it's peanut butter or whatever?

    Ok, so the situation may have been a tad...different...but the method wasn't. See how easily this question is rationalized?

    Now if we could figure out a way to train guys to aim... Or take over the bathroom cleaning. Either would work.

  • At 7:06 AM, Anonymous marti said…

    that is one cute cat story. at least yours holds it. mine just does her business in the tub when she is totally disgusted with her box.

  • At 8:28 AM, Blogger Marianne said…

    Poor little Gracie, having her kitty-beans nipped by vicious pine pellets...seriously delighted that she got over 'it'.
    We can get those biscuits in pretty much the regular stores around here, go figure.
    mmmmmmmmm nutella mmmmmmm (also available in regular stores, again, go figure).
    I think the shawl will be just fine with the needle change, afterall it gets blocked out, etc.
    Not like you're going from a 7 to a 4 or anything. Lace=magic. Good.

  • At 12:18 PM, Anonymous Em said…

    Mmm, digestive cookies. and I'd never even thought to combine them with Nutella! I'll keep that in mind as a treat for me, for the next time my cats decide that thier litter box is not nearly clean enough for their liking and turn instead to my bathtub (little buggers).

    Beyond the needle issues, how are you finding knitting lace with an alpaca yarn? I've tried two projects with Misti, and have so far found it to be about a million times more fiddly than other laceweights.

  • At 7:55 AM, Blogger Kitty Mommy said…

    The pine invasion was way too funny. Poor Gracie!

    I wouldn't have made it through that man k4tog with Denise needles, so I am unduly impressed!

  • At 6:37 PM, Blogger Lynn said…

    Mmmmm. Nutella. Giving you a sitting ovation from down here in TX.


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