The Whole Kitten Kaboodle atop her litter box.
Of course, having a cat living in the house with us presented some problems to be solved. The most important, as far as I was concerned, was how to house break her. I knew how to house-break a dog. As a child, this is how I had been taught to do it: gagging, you shove the dog's nose almost into what he has done, and then give him a couple of sharp but not brutal swats on the nose. Then you put him outside.
Soon, the dog gets the idea. He holds it in until he can escape outdoors.
With Kaboodle, I sensed early that striking her, even gently, would only be counterproductive. She would just resent it.
So, how did you house-break a cat?
Especially one set in her ways. I figured Kaboodle was about six months old when I first met her. Now she was a month older than that.
I went to the store and read the litter sacks, hoping they would have instructions.
They did not.
One night we were discussing it.
"Too bad we can't teach her to use the toilet," I lamented. "Like that one guy I read about in the newspaper did to his cat awhile back."
Toast Ed had not heard of this. I assured him it was true. "He even taught the cat how to flush the toilet afterward," I noted. "They had no need for kitty litter."
"How weird," Toast mused, "to open the bathroom door and find the cat sitting there. 'Oh, excuse me, Cat! I didn't know you were in here.'" Toast laughed at his own mental image. "The cat would probably be sitting there, reading the paper."
For some time, we did nothing.
Kaboodle seemed to enjoy having the place where she lived kept clean and so we found no "accidents" anywhere in the house. She spent a good deal of time outside. That was where she took care of her private business. Yet, snow had already dusted the mountains. Soon it would move down into the valley.
One evening, Toast thundered out of his room, throwing about accusations that someone had used his football jersey for a most unseemly task. The jersey was soiled with poop.
"Toast," I stammered, stunned, "nobody in this house would do that! Maybe it was the cat."
"No," Toast jumped to Kaboodle's defense. "It is not the cat. The cat wouldn't do something like that."
Sunflower and I went to investigate.
The jersey was soiled with cat poop, all right. There was more cat poop on the other dirty clothing piled in the closet corner where the jersey had been.
I went to the store, bought some litter, and a box to put it in.
I filled the box.
"I don't have the slightest idea how to communicate to that cat that this is where she goes," I lamented to Sunflower.
"I've never dealt with cats," she answered.
Later, I was working at my computer when I was interrupted by a cry from Sunflower.
"Grahmmy! come here! Quick!"
I dashed towards her voice, fearing what damage I would find.
Kaboodle was squatting in the litter box, using it for the very purpose for which it had been designed. Soon, I noticed that every member of the family had gathered around.
"C'mon," I said, "Do you think this is some kind of spectator sport? Let's give the damned cat some privacy."