Cave Dweller and the Cat Doo – A True Tale

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Like many mothers, I assign my kids the chores I most hate to do. Go ahead. Admit it. You do, too. Many years ago, when Teenager was a wee little foul mouthed baby, his older brother Cave Dweller was my prime victim in the ‘nasty chore’ department.

I was raised in, and firmly adhere to, the belief that a house without a cat is not a home. This is a firm commitment to belief despite the fact that cleaning the cat pan is a gawdawful nasty chore and I will find a way to pass it off whenever possible.

We lived in those days in a cramped little duplex with each three or four buildings sharing one large dumpster. The dumpsters were hidden neatly behind the house where we parked the car, there was a line of lovely old oak trees that lined the parking area.

Every day, Cave Dweller would sift the day’s feline feces into a plastic grocery sack, walk out the back door, and make it disappear. It was his only daily chore. I was so relieved that he did it without (much) argument that I never examined the horse’s mouth closely.

What to do with Cat Doo

I should have.

About three months into remarkably complaint-free compliance from my then seven year old son, Husband and I got a call from our landlord.

Have you seen the tree next to your dumpster? No? Go look at it. And deal with it.

Puzzled, Husband and I walked out into the parking area, about twenty five feet to the dumpster and tree, and looked. And looked. And our mouths gaped.

Apparently Cave Dweller had been, for the last three months, blithely taking the cat doo with him to the dumpster, getting a good swing going on the grocery bag, and launching it into the tree.

Hanging from the tree were nearly a hundred little plastic grocery bags filled with cat doo.

With horror and laughter warring for domination, Husband and I called Cave Dweller out of the house, pointed at the tree, and asked why he did it.

He looked at us, looked at the tree, shrugged, and said, ‘I dunno.’ Without missing a beat, he turned back inside and went back to watching the Power Rangers.

We cleaned up the mess, and made it abundantly clear to him that the chore was not done correctly if the cat doo-doos didn’t land in the dumpster at the end of their journey. Then we washed up thoroughly and talked about it.

In the process of talking about it we realized that, since Cave Dweller was and is no one’s idea of an athletic person, and since some of those bags were thirty or forty feet up in the air, in order to achieve his feces festooning, he had to practice. Almost certainly, he was using considerable effort, sometimes picking up a dropped bag and rethrowing it, to achieve the wanted effect.

And the worst part is, the only part of this story he would be embarrassed about today is that I told you all he was a big Power Rangers fan.


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