Last week, after an extremely long 13-hour day, Kevin and I arrived home to discover something that cat owners dread: our calico cat had peed on our bed. In my spot, to be precise. While we stripped the bed, peeling away layer after layer of sodden quilts and bedding, we talked about our shock and concerns. Callie is 15-years old and recently diagnosed as hyperthyroid so litter box issues are not unknown or unexpected. But we know our cat and this seemed more personal. Our long hours have kept us from giving her attention she needs and that always upsets her.
So while I loaded the bedding into the washer and googled "how to remove cat urine from memory foam mattress", Kevin found Callie and gave her some snuggles. We were concerned and stressed. Was this related to the new medication? Would this be the start of a new habit? Or, was it true, as we suspected, that she was giving us a more personal message?
The next day, the vet "reassured" us that it was not likely to be the medication, but that litter box issues were especially common in elderly cats and the causes are often unknown. All we could do was experiment and try different things.
So we did more internet sleuthing and bought another litter box. We also began adjusting our schedules so that she would never be alone for more than a few hours at a time. Over the next few days our conversations centered around Callie. We followed her around the house like a hawk. We gave her lots of attention and playtime. And we sighed with relief every time we arrived home to a house that was dry where it was supposed to be dry.
The day after our discovery, I arrived home to find Callie sleeping peacefully on the bed. She gave me a few cranky "why are you bothering me?" meows and stretched. Shortly afterwards she padded out to the kitchen and gave me a few demanding meows. I knew she wanted attention.
One of my rules for life is "When in doubt, love." So when I find myself in a sticky situation and I'm not sure what to do, I remind myself that love is a verb. I think of the most loving way to respond. Just the process of loving often provides clarity and allows me to move forward.
So I picked her up and carried her to the couch. As we began snuggling, I was present with her. I didn't pick up my iPhone to idly surf until the snuggling was over. Instead, I brought forth feelings of deep love. I thought of our may years together. And I envisioned a warm golden glow surrounding us both. Her purrs deepened and she relaxed into an extended nap on my chest.
Since then, I have continued to be present with her. Kevin and I continue to give her plenty of attention and playtime. And we have not had one problem in a week. I know that life is uncertain and that the situation could change, but I also know that if I am in doubt, that love is the answer.