Ever since my son was born I have a pretty high tolerance for gross. Not that he’s particularly dirty or overly messy, but he is nearing his first birthday and feeding time for him has become good practice if I ever find myself in say, a war zone. I can duck and dodge bits of pasta, carrots and all sorts of fruit chunks like a pro.
In addition to my food evasion tactics, I have also grown accustom to picking up dried (and sometimes not so dried) pieces of toast with hummus or cream cheese from the floor. I pick up soggy Cheerios and puffs from the seat of his high chair. I have even gotten used to fishing partially chewed mini bagels from the car seat. His half digested and often slimey food does not disturb me.
I’m not even bothered by the fact that sometimes while feeding him his nightly jar of strained cheese, broccoli and carrots, he decides to sneeze, the second after a large spoonful enters his mouth. There is no ducking this mess. It’s like a blast from a shotgun…it spreads out and tags everything in it’s path.
For some reason though, I hate cleaning the litter box.
Now I realize this is not a chore anyone relishes. I don’t believe for a second anyone out there grabs that scoop and thinks, “oh boy, I get to shovel smelly cat shit into a plastic bag that will probably end up having a hole and therefore spread litter and cat poo all over my floor. Man, it’s great to be me.” Still, some people, like my dear friend Eee, seem to mind it less than I do. She is a good cat owner who not only cleans her litter box daily, but also does a full litter change over regularly. Granted, she has three times as many cats as I do, so her boxes need it more often.
When I got pregnant with my son, I have to admit there was a certain amount of glee that came with passing that grey scoop off to my husband. For as long as I can remember I’ve had litter box duty and even after my son was born, I managed to convince my husband it was still his job. Actually, it’s more like I refused to take it back over. I reminded him I’d done it for five years and it was his turn. I think I even threw in a “suck it up.”
For the first time since we rescued my husband’s cat some five years ago, one of our cats decided to poop outside the box. Not only did s/he miss the box itself, s/he missed the entire room where the box resides. Instead, we found a pile of poo in my son’s room. Thankfully it was a neat pile on the carpet. Still, it was really upsetting to me. I calmly turned, headed out of the room and sent my husband in to clean it. Never for a moment did I even consider stooping down to pick it up. The very thought was repulsive.
And yet, not even an hour later when my son had a similar incident (only seeping out of his diaper and all over his onesie and jammies), I scooped him up, plopped him on the changing table, grabbed the baby wipes and began cleaning. Not an ounce of squeemishness, despite the fact it was not a neat pile easily cleaned up with two small paper towels. Heck, I even had to grab soap and scrub both the onesie and the jammies. My hands had to actually touch the offending mass with no paper towel barrier and while I wanted it off my hands, I didn’t freak out at all about it.
I know it makes no rational sense. The human feces should be, and in many ways is, far more repulsive than anything a cat can produce. The only cogent argument I can offer is that my son is the absolute light of my life and that while I love my cats, I’m nowhere near as devoted to them. A part of me also knows the cats know better, whereas my son has no control over his bowels yet.
Still, poop is poop no matter who it comes out of.