By AMANDA BEAM
If you ever pay a visit to my house unannounced, don’t think you’re getting beyond the front door. Carefully contrived plans rivaling the landings at Normandy have been prepared for such a catastrophic event.
Dogs will bark. Children will howl. Televisions will blare. And amidst the chaos, I’ll escape out the back entrance and intercept you by the second knock, most likely wearing day old pajama bottoms and hiding my braless chest with folded arms.
For the record, my family and I do not allow people in because we hide dead bodies in our basement freezer. Not that I blame others for thinking that. With all the icy fuzz coating undefinable slabs of meat, anyone could confuse a 2-year-old hot dog for a frozen human thumb.
Unfortunately, a deeper secret saturates the halls of the Beam household. And once the door opens, a quick whiff of organic ammonia interlaced with Febreze would give it away to anyone remotely nearby. In all seriousness, my avoidance might save your life.
The smell permeating from the foyer would be so strong, unsuspecting guests might immediately grab their nose, back away from the door and most likely tumble down the stone stairs wondering, “What is that foul, acrid stench?”
Just to clarify for those who don’t have a crazy cat lady living in the immediate vicinity, the odor you’d be inhaling would be urine.
You see, our 10-year-old cat Ramzi suffers from some serious mental issues, so much so the other neighbor felines refer to me as the Nurse Ratched of the kitty world. Gifted at passive aggressiveness, my tubby tabby copes with his mundane life by peeing on our upstairs carpet. I’m not talking about a little tinkle now and again. A beached whale could survive for hours in one of his puddles. No matter what steps we take to stop his habit, he circumvents every one.
Tall gates at the top of the stairs? His hanging pooch of a belly skims the top as he flies ungracefully over the obstacle. Chemical sprays meant to deter felines from the area? Instead of just squatting, the chemicals cause him to roll around the area in a drug induced stupor before doing his business. Locking him in his own room with fresh kitty litter? The little sneak sprays outside the box in protest then manages to escape, a cat burglar shaking his crooked tail all the way to the illicit hallway upstairs.
In his defense, Ramzi is a man, albeit a neutered one. And all women know that any male has difficulties when attempting to pee in a designated area.
With two boys living in the house, my bathroom at times resembles the aftereffects of someone shaking a carbonated bottle of Mountain Dew, opening it and turning in circles like a sprinkler until it completely empties. Ramzi, named aptly after a convicted terrorist, must be following in their footsteps.
After getting fed up with the nuisance, we took Ram to the vet and hoped and prayed something was physically wrong with the animal. Broken bladders can be easier to fix than broken minds. Unfortunately, the diagnosis was the latter. Stress, she said, can lead to this behavior. I laughed and wondered how an animal that sleeps away more than two-thirds of their existence could possibly be frazzled.
Then I began to notice things, gruesome things. Just like in prison, house cats have a pecking order. So do dogs, even though mysteriously mine seem to follow the devious feline’s orders.
In my home, my five other mutts and kitties have formed a makeshift gang of convenience and assign Ram the role normally given to a female dog. I won’t talk about the ungodly acts I have witnessed. Let’s just say a cat doesn’t have to drop soap in the shower for unwanted advances to occur.
So why not just get rid of Ramzi? People have asked that, but that’s really not an option. All our cats and dogs are rescues and have been down that road before. Animals shouldn’t be kicked to the wayside for acting like, well, animals. Pet owners have a responsibility to care for their wards other than when it’s just convenient for them.
Over time, the floors will become worn from over excessive carpet shampooing and the health department may in fact condemn the upper levels of our home, that is if they can find a way to enter. Even the Allied forces had backup plans. The bombs our dogs drop might just be deterrent enough.
— Amanda Beam is a Floyd County resident and Jeffersonville native. Contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org