why i don't have a cat

ImageConfession. Scandal. Intrigue. Suspense. Terror. I am a professional pet sitter with no cat.

Almost every new client asks me what type of pets I have. When I rattle off the list, which does not include a feline, I get:

"No cats?"

"You forgot to mention your cat."

"And how many cats do you have?"

"No cats? Don't you like cats?"

And by the die-hard cat people, I am often looked upon with slight suspicion, at which time I begin making out with their cat, just to prove my devotion. I also love hippos, but one does not reside with me.

So how do I feel about cats? Cats are awesome. They are so individual. One might wind between your legs and magnetize to you the second you walk in the door, and another might hide in the closet, never to emerge when humans are present. Some purr and meow, some hiss and yowl. Personality is a great thing to have.

I have cared for a pair of shy cats for nearly eight years now, yet I've never touched them. I know they are alive because their food is consumed, their litter box is used, and their eyes glimmer and move under the bed. I don't push them to be friends, and their family is well-aware of their aloofness. I talk to them as I go about my business of feeding and litter-box scooping, just so they know someone is there who cares. But they don't care. They just want to be fed. That's okay.

I care for several cats who require insulin injections. They are all rock stars about it. And thank goodness those aren't the ones who hide under the bed.

One cat that I care for melts my heart every time. She lives in a house with two rambunctious food-stealing Jack Russells who have not been trained, so she dines on the kitchen island. Every time I visit, she guides me to the island, jumps up on it, then puts her paws on my shoulders and nuzzles into my neck. What better love is there?

So why don't I have a cat? (drumroll)

The litter box. 

That's it. I can't stand litter boxes. And I don't wish to send my kitty outside among the coyotes and javelinas just to potty. So I choose not to have a cat. My husband is totally a cat person, too. I've thought many times about surprising him by adopting a cat and have browsed the cats available and in need on a regular basis because even though I'm more of a "dog person," I adore cats. But then I remember the litter box and the litter. It's a no-go.

Part of my job is to scoop litter boxes, so I'm pretty sure I've seen 'em all, and I have yet to meet one that I would have in my home. There are the filter ones, the ones with tops, the sifters, the ones that rotate, the ones hidden in the pot of a house plant...and then you have the litter. No matter what kind, it's just bad. The ones that try to mask the poop smell are the worst. They literally make me feel ill. I most commonly run across the scoopable ones with odor control, so that's chemical and dust combined. Awesome. The natural ones, like the pellets, are better, but they still get tracked all around the litter box. They all get tracked. That's gross and a major pain. I'm fine with cleaning all that and dealing with it when I'm being paid, but no one in my home is going to give me a paycheck for cleaning the cat box and surrounding areas, and certainly no one in my home will do the chore. So, no cats. Sorry.

I am thankful that I get to interact with my clients' cats regularly. They are delightful, and they satisfy my feline needs. So until we find the cat who is already trained to go on the toilet AND flush, we're going to be happy with the rest of our herd. If we find that cat, there will finally be a reason for my boys to leave the lid up on the toilet.