Friday, April 3, 2009

We All Have Problems

Last night I was sitting at my desk in full "the genious is working" mode, preparing to work on my book. I don't know how Shakespeare did it, but I find that a few good games of Freecell on the computer really get the creative juices flowing. So, I'm totally excelling at Freecell, like really, don't even think of challenging me to a playoff at BlogHer, when suddenly, I notice that I have some new email. Through the power of positive thinking, I know that obviously it's from an agent who wants to get my yet to be written book published. I check my email, thinking that maybe I can get this agent to do some of the writing, because as the reigning Freecell champion I can't devote too much time to other pursuits, and it turns out that my power of positive thinking is so strong that the email isn't from an agent after all. It's better.

It's my daily email from Real Simple magazine, which, hand on my heart, is the best thing that I've ever subscribed to in my life. I mean, every day, completely free of charge, I get a different quote from them from people like Kirkegaard that's all philosiphical and shit and says "Most people rush after pleasure so fast that they rush right past it", which I really think is just a really pretentious way of saying "don't forget to smell the roses". And really, if your name is Real Simple don't send people quotes by fucking Kirkegaard.

But that's not enough. Because yesterday I get this gem as quesion of the day: I thought that it was an April Fool's joke. Someone wrote in asking where is the best place to put the cat litter-box. I'm glad that she specified cat, because I had a few ideas for the bovine litter box.

Here is the answer:

Where should I put the kitty litter box?
A. When it comes to finding the right location for the litter box, any room will do, as long as the box is set up correctly. Follow these steps when setting up:
Comfort is key. Pick a room in which you spend a lot of time. If your pet feels at ease there, he will be more likely to use the box (and not the carpet). The box should not be in a highly trafficked area.

Let me get this straight. It has to be a room where you spend a lot of time, and yet it can't be a high traffic area (therefore eliminating the interstate). Hmm., a bedroom? But only if I'm on bedrest? Why do I have to be in the room a lot? Don't cats need privacy? What kind of a sick fuck cat is it that needs to be around someone when using the litter box?

Check the lighting. Make sure the room is well lit and away from the pet’s food.

Is candlelight ok? I want to make sure that it's flattering to my cat's complexion and I find that light bulbs can be so harsh.  Oh, and away from the pet's food? Really? Ok. But it's ok to put the litter box in the oven, I assume? After all, it's well lit and away from the cat food!

Provide an escape route. Cats are in a vulnerable position when using a litter box, says Mieshelle Nagelschneider of the Cat Behavior Clinic, in Seattle. Because cats don’t have the privacy of a bathroom, they need to know they can get away from threats in a hurry, so be sure there is a clear escape route.

This is a joke, right? I'm going to publish this post and then everyone will laugh at me, because what kind of a moron believes that there is a Cat Behavior Clinic and that someone actually suggested an escape route. From the litter box. Here's an escape route that we have in NYC in case of, you know, an attack; Follow the light. Since this cat already has candle light, it shouldn't be a problem.

Put the bin in plain sight. This might mean you’ll have to walk around the box for a couple of weeks, until your cat is used to using it. Once your cat is comfortable visiting the box in that room, slowly move it one inch a day to a position that is more convenient for you but where your cat will still use it, says Nagelschneider. If you need to move the box to another location, repeat the process.

So I'm no interior designer, but the way that I'm imagining this bathroom is that the litter box is on top of the dining room table, with huge red EXIT signs all over the place, soft lighting, music playing and just the right number of people walking by.
This is not Real Simple. This is Simply Insane. One of the things that cats do well is use the litter box. I recommend that you put it in the bathroom and get on with your life.

Friendly reminder: Don't forget to visit Nightly Nicki. Now using the litter box without an escape plan.



Blogger the mama bird diaries said...

Obviously, by the time we're reading this, you've already been hired as a staff writer at Real Simple.

April 3, 2009 at 12:46 AM  
Anonymous Sophie, Inzaburbs said...

I am going to take this advice and move our cat litter box to the middle of our lounge, under the main lamp, and equidistant from the 4 doors.

That would be on top of the coffee table.

April 3, 2009 at 12:58 AM  
Blogger ♥ Braja said...

Imagine after so many weeks of pain and suffering, of missing you, of thinking how i longed to read your blog, and I get here and...well...jesus....kitty litter?

Anyway, it's better than Kirkegaard. Seriously.

I love you Marinka.

April 3, 2009 at 1:34 AM  
Blogger Maggie May said...

Well according to this I've done it all right. So why, why? Do my Harry, Hagrid, Hermione and Kagome STILL POO ON THE FLOOR?

April 3, 2009 at 1:52 AM  
Blogger mo.stoneskin said...

Is cat wee flammable? If so then maybe steer clear of lighting your cat litter with candles.

If a highly trafficked area is a no-no you could place her litter on a nice, quiet but not too quiet suburban street. The street lights will provide the lighting.

April 3, 2009 at 2:10 AM  
Blogger Threeboys1mommy said...

Music!?! No one said anything about musis... you see this is why we need cat behavior clinics, to keep irresponsible cat owners like you in check!

April 3, 2009 at 2:47 AM  
Blogger momcat said...

I wonder if their actually are impressionable people around who will actually fall for this kind of crap. If so then you can rest assured - their cat is running their household!

April 3, 2009 at 3:58 AM  
Blogger Kabbalah Rookie said...

You see, this is why I don't have a cat. The red raw eyes and wheezing are just part of a concocted allergy excuse, but the simple truth is that I don't want to deal with the litter box thing - now even more so after reading these instructions.
Escape Route?!? Escape Route?!? What do they want, floor lighting like they have in aircraft aisles?!
*sigh* Gimme a dog and a pooperscoop any day. Far less stressful.
x x

April 3, 2009 at 4:30 AM  
Blogger lizspin said...

You know what they forgot to add????

Keep the litter box away from the dog's reach, for any dog would gladly stick their nose in there a grab themselves a free tootsie roll when no one's looking. . .

Do I have to think of everything????

April 3, 2009 at 7:09 AM  
Blogger The Dental Maven said...

Where, in her office, does Nagelschneider place the litter box when she is doing her cat-psychotherapy? Does it go next to the couch?

April 3, 2009 at 7:35 AM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

Just one of the many reasons I have dogs instead.

April 3, 2009 at 8:08 AM  
Blogger Maelstrom said...

If I ever visit someone that has their litter box set up like that I think I'll be the one using the escape route.

April 3, 2009 at 8:48 AM  
Blogger WA said...

Love it.
But everyone knows that if you're really serious about writing a book, you play Spider Solitaire 100 times a day. Jeez.

April 3, 2009 at 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Kristine said...

Oh, see when Iput their litter box in the ultility room, they were scared to use it because the lighting isn't good, and also I wasn't sitting there holding their paws...I get it now - I did everything wrong.

April 3, 2009 at 9:53 AM  
Blogger Joanie M said...

So, my cats' litter box shouldn't be in the basement? No wonder they're neurotic!

April 3, 2009 at 9:56 AM  
Blogger Phat Mama said...

I just put the litter box where I can smell it the least.

April 3, 2009 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger anymommy said...

I am so, so never getting a cat, not even to be more like you...

April 3, 2009 at 10:12 AM  
Anonymous Andrea's Sweet Life said...

Shit, so you're telling me that by putting the litter box about 2 feet from their food, inside a dark cabinet with only a tiny hole for entry and exit is WRONG?

Then WHY have my cats been faithfully using it all these years? Clearly, they have brain damage. It's the only answer.

April 3, 2009 at 10:16 AM  
Blogger blognut said...

I hope you and Nicki won't take offense to this, and that Husbandrinka won't consider it ammunition, but I have a suggestion. I say you should put the litterbox out in traffic. Other than the fact that it's a high traffic area, it meets the requirement of being around people, and soft lighting can be had in hues of red, green, and yellow. As an added benefit, there are escape routes in 4 directions.

Really, the article should have been more helpful. Rather than all of those "suggestions," they should have let me write it.

April 3, 2009 at 10:38 AM  
Blogger Trudy said...

OMG I laughed so loud, people came to see what I was laughing at. Real Simple? Real Insane if you ask me.

April 3, 2009 at 10:40 AM  
Blogger King of New York Hacks said...

First time back in blogland in a while and kitty litter just makes me regret what I've been missing out on !! LMAO !!

April 3, 2009 at 11:22 AM  
Anonymous peajaye said...

i just hyperlinked to 'real simple' from your post and noticed they had a "Wedding Liquor Calculator." how have i lived all these years without one of THOSE?

re: the kitty-crapper - i think it is very speciesist of you, Real Simple, and Dr. Nagelschneider of the Cat Behavior Clinic (i'm certain s/he is a doctor, even if s/he doesn't advertise it) to deny your fellow being access to your toilet, based solely on her feline status. just another black mark to be held against you when PETA takes control of the UN and rules the world.

April 3, 2009 at 11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is why I will never have a cat.

April 3, 2009 at 12:10 PM  
Anonymous Sophie, Inzaburbs said...

That is why all you people would never have a cat???
Did none of you read lizspin's comment above?????????????

April 3, 2009 at 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Fran said...

To Maggie May,

My mother's cat would poop on the floor beside the box and the vet suggested maybe the litter box was too small, and he was right. Bigger litter box = no more pooping on floor.

April 3, 2009 at 1:46 PM  
Blogger Heather, Queen of Shake Shake said...


They have to use their litter box in a REAL HELL OF A PLACE I call the laundry room. But damn, I spend 75% of my life there, so whatever.

Except for one of my cats who thinks my bathroom rugs are the REAL LITTER BOX.

April 3, 2009 at 1:55 PM  
Blogger Ann's Rants said...

don't forget to create a flower-petal festooned aisle runner to lead kitty to her box. Every time she uses it you should freshen the petals.

April 3, 2009 at 3:28 PM  
Blogger Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

my take-home from this is never to have any cats!!

April 3, 2009 at 4:17 PM  
Blogger Renee said...

The worst part is that someone actually got paid to write that article. It's a shame.

April 3, 2009 at 4:24 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Come to think of it, I do feel vulnerable in the bathroom. And I always have an escape plan. You never know.

April 3, 2009 at 6:38 PM  
Blogger Vodka Mom said...

are you seriously not saying fuck anymore? SERIOUSLY???

Oh wait. I just re-read the post. HA! Never mind.

(Christ, I think i've had too many martinis)

April 3, 2009 at 7:55 PM  
Blogger musing said...

So, let's see. If I start with the litter box in the middle of the room then move it an inch a day till it's over in the corner, and let's say that's, oh, about seven feet then I'm looking at, what, 84 days until the darn thing's in the right place?!

April 3, 2009 at 8:23 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

My cat used the litter box. But she flicked litter EVERYWHERE. I'm with the poster who suggested putting it where you can smell it the least. I second that!

April 3, 2009 at 9:17 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

I'm on it! Now I know why Nola is so unhappy and quick to chew on my appendages.....she's without candlelight!

Thanks goodness you shared this vital cat info.


April 4, 2009 at 11:03 AM  
Anonymous susan said...

bovine litter box! that's awesome.

April 4, 2009 at 1:49 PM  
Blogger Lacey said...

This made me giggle.

Now to be fair, a "cat" litter box is different from a "dog" litter box. I know, because my cat and my dog are both litter box trained. It's very complicated, and I should probably be given an award.

That being said, don't they make "cat" litter boxes that are completely closed in domes and super dark and even more super private? Isn't that the whole point?

Okay, here's what we do: Buy super-dark-dome litter boxes. Place candles inside for lighting. "Accidentally" set our homes on fire. Then we sue Real Simple (and the makers of the dome litter box for good measure). It will be AWESOME!

April 4, 2009 at 9:54 PM  
Blogger Tooj said...

Once you mentioned their location in Seattle, I stopped reading. It explained everything.

April 5, 2009 at 8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't wanna brag but I was so sick of messing with litter, I trained my cats to use the toilet. It wasn't difficult at all, and requires the dedicated use of at least a couple of weeks of one toilet. Put the litter tray on a small stack of newspapers next to the toilet. Every few days, add to the stack so the tray moves higher. Finally, secure the tray WELL on top of the toilet, making sure the stack of papers is there for it to climb up. When the cat is used to this, take away the tray, wrap a large piece of saran wrap over the toilet, tape it securely, and then lower the toilet seat. Sprinkle some old litter mixed with new litter over it. The kitty will learn to balance itself, gingerly at first, on the toilet seat to do its business. When she's learnt to sit on the throne, remove saran wrap and litter, and voila, a priceless toilet-trained kitty. You may charge admirers for each performance. Next, mine are going to learn to use the flush.

April 5, 2009 at 2:45 PM  
Blogger TrodoMcCracken said...

I think this article was not written for my mothers cat. He likes to poop only if he can look you directly in the eye while he's doing it. He'll stare you down the whole time he's dropping on and the moment you lose and break eye contact is the moment he stops. Then spends the rest of the evening casting barely concealed glances of contempt your way for losing to a pooping cat.

April 6, 2009 at 3:40 PM  
Blogger Leslie said...


April 7, 2009 at 10:21 AM  
Anonymous Denise said...

These are the reasons why I do not have cats any longer and why I will never have cats again.

What the article means is that no matter what you do with that litter box, the cat will NOT use it reliably. High trafficked or private, well lit or exit signage, doesn't freaking matter - it will be WRONG.

April 8, 2009 at 3:36 PM  
Blogger Pop and Ice said...

Too fucking hilarious! My first laugh of the day and at the expense of Real Simple! I don't get the magazine anymore (who has time to do all that stuff they suggest?!), but I do get the daily quotes and occasionally I find a recipe that doesn't involve me going out and buying new herbs and vegetables I never heard of.

July 20, 2009 at 10:20 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home