Mommy Chronicles

A funny look at motherhood and the mayhem it causes.

January 14, 2002

What to do about evil thoughts

Lately, I have been having dark and awful thoughts. This is nothing new, really. The first dark and awful thought I had was in 1974, when my parents brought home this hideous, wrinkly pink thing from the hospital and called it a baby.

We already had a perfectly good baby at home, one who was eighteen months old, and nicely rounded and huggable as a baby should be. The new baby, on the other hand, was good for only two things: peeling, and testing my magical soothing abilities.

While no one was looking, I enjoyed teasing the flaky newborn skin off this disgusting, yet oddly cute creature. This was so much better than picking my own scabs. No blood! And once I’d shucked all the skin that could be shucked, I would pinch the baby until she cried so that I could feel the power of being able to make her stop.

From there, I’ve spent a lifetime conjuring evil thoughts, and my mother has dedicated her life to ensure I never acted on them, or mentioned them in public. On the whole, I’d say she has done pretty well.

Lately, though, not even the goodness of my mother is enough to stop the dark and awful thoughts I am having. This could be very bad news for the cat, because he, right now, is Public Enemy Number One.

For months, I have been whispering, “Go toward the light,” in his ear. He’s old, he has bad kidneys and the medicine that we have to put on his expensive food, which he hates, costs $2 a day. What’s more, it’s potentially toxic to the dog and to Lucy, both of whom have an ardent wish to eat his leftovers.

And that’s not all. He also uses urine to make editorial statements. For years, Adam and I could not have a bath mat because the cat would only pee on it. There’s nothing like getting all clean and stepping out from the shower on to the dry bath mat only to find out that it is, in fact wet. With something other than water.

And that’s not all. Once Adam and I got some area rugs for the floor – really nice ones, the kind you expect to have your children fight over once you’re dead – the cat peed on them the very first day we had them.

Lately, though, he has been saying other things with his pee. When he peed on Lucy’s pajama basket, when he peed on her blanket, and when he peed on her bed, I gave him the benefit of the doubt and thought perhaps he was merely saying, “Trust me. You’ll love the smell of Lucy’s hair when it’s coated in my urine.”

When he did it again, though, it became clear to me that his actual message was something much more dastardly. It was something like, “I’d like to make you cry, so I can experience the powerful feeling of soothing you.”

Even that, though, is not all. While Adam and I were in Ohio for Christmas, the door to the basement (where the cat box is kept) was accidentally closed for a day. I can’t blame all of it on the cat, but for the rest of the five days of our trip, the rest of our house was magically transformed into a litter box.

Even though my sister stopped by daily to check on them, and even though she opened the basement door, by the time we came home, there was poop on the hall carpet, on the ottoman and on the family room rug, which also was soaked with cat pee on its fringe.

The worst, though, was underneath the Christmas tree. The cat peed on the towel I put under the tree holder to catch any water that might leak. I know he did this, because I caught him in the act. And that very towel, instead of protecting the floor, turned into a giant sponge. It not only trapped the cat pee, it gave it ample time to eat it into the hardwood floor, which is now rough, warped, and permanently branded by the toxic chemicals in his urine.

And this, sadly, is not all. He’s peed on Lucy’s bed three more times since then. Part of me wonders if this is why other kids her age have much more hair than she does. If his pee burned a hole in the wood floor, Lucy’s probably lucky she doesn’t need a special helmet to hold in her brain.

And so, these days, when I look at the cat as he sleeps on the sofa (which is now swaybacked from his years of decadent lounging), I sometimes think how easy it would be to slip my fingers around his skinny neck, lean in really close and whisper, “Time’s up, buddy.”

But I won’t do it. The better part of me, the one my mother put there, knows it isn’t right.

Talking about the things that drive me nuts makes me feel better, though. And I guess this is one of the key coping mechanisms of both pet-ownership and parenting. The small creatures in our care might sometimes drive us crazy, but somehow, we have to find ways to stay sane. After all, we are the ones who chose to have them.

All this idealism aside, though, there’s one more reason I’d never kill the cat: There’s a good chance that he’d lose bladder control as I was choking the daylights out of him, and I’m not going to give the little creep the last word on the subject.


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