Pet Problems ... With a Capital 'P'

So now the cat is peeing in the tub.

This is new. During his first 12 years of life, the cat’s modis operendi has been to duck outside or slip into his litter box. Now he’s suddenly discovered a new and better “third way.”

The dog isn’t much better. Sure the old codger dutifully trots outside, but he figures a couple steps out the back door is far enough to hike before releasing his renal payload. Each winter a treacherous yellow speed bump gradually forms on our step.

Yes, living with pets is quite an adventure. It’s the steadiest source of giggles and bother for my wife and me, as we’ve yet to produce human children. We’ve found that the shaggy variety reserve some of their greatest moments for bedtime. Here’s our routine.

My wife retires first then the dog moves in and monopolizes my half of the bed. The dog, of course, considers this to be his half. He spreads out as I approach, his glare conveying a single, clear message: “No room for you here, buddy.”

When the jostling is done, the cat bounds onto the warm pile for some quality purr time before taking off for the rest of the night. He’ll return to the doorway at five a.m., brimming with lament, to serenade us with a mournful rendition of Roy Orbison’s Cryin’.

It’s at night when the cat likes to sneak into the tub and whiz, and it’s become my purpose to catch him at it. At the slightest hint of claws on porcelain, I emerge from my shallow slumber, slip from the warm sheets and sneak toward the bathroom.

But the cat’s ears are well tuned to my movements and the slightest stirring sends him bolting for the door. We usually arrive at the same time, a safety-seeking blur meeting a stumble-footed goalie.

A couple times I’ve managed to pin him with my knee, and in one anger-fueled attempt at rehabilitation, I hauled him to the crime scene, blasted the faucet and held him there, not under the torrent but close enough for the peripheral mist to sprinkle a lesson into him. It worked; now he’s even sneakier.

We have two other critters: a bird and a bunny. They also have “behaviours.”

The bird likes my wife and hates all others, especially me. Whenever I pass his cage he hisses and thrusts an open beak at me. He’d go right for the eyes, I know it. I’ve tried to win him over with talking, whistling and singing. All he wants is a clear shot at my eyes.

Did I mention the shrieking? Well, the bird is a certified black belt, having learned the ancient art from the neighbourhood magpies. Birdie can pierce the skull and rattle the brain’s very core, which he chooses to do mainly when you’re on the phone, watching television or trying to lead a decent life. Please, send help.

Bunny is another anti-social cage dweller. He shrugs off petting attempts and won’t wag a single thing. His only activity is thumping his cage floor in the middle of the night after polishing off the good pellets. Our house rumbles nightly with a thump, thump, crash as he sends his dish flying.

Somehow my wife and I have shoe-horned this diverse family into an 800-square-foot house. Needless to say, we live amidst clouds of fur and dander accented by the aroma of assorted pees and poops. All furniture is sheet-covered for protection from errant jowl juices while the floors are littered with jagged old bones and soggy chewing material.

I have no one to blame but myself; I married into this menagerie. And despite my complaining, we all do get along pretty well. The dog and I have a solid bond, interwoven as it is with fibres of male rivalry. The cat and I have a grudging but mutual respect. The bunny and I co-exist. The bird hates me and I’ve accepted that.

And I’m pleased to report that the whole thing with the cat and the tub and the pee is well in hand. The wife and I now leave a layer of water in the tub every night, effectively fixing that cat’s wagon.

Now we’re moving on to other home improvement projects. For instance, we’re redecorating the spare room which for years has been the animal feeding chamber. To its stark white walls we’re gradually adding soft, fluffy art and dashes of pastel as my wife’s tummy forms a slight bulge.

That’s right, we’re preparing to squeeze another squawking, pee and poop factory into our loving home.

Please, send help.