Ladies and gentlemen, today I wish to discuss a most dire task which was put before me, and how I, by the noblest and bravest of acts, did make right again a little place in this world -- a place we call Babbs' ass.
As far as cats go, Babbs is quite exceptional. With her unbelievably friendly and active demeanor, one might think she's but a young kitten still cutting her teeth -- or claws -- in this brave new world. When John and Robin both had to leave town for a couple weekends earlier this summer, I gladly agreed to look in on her.
Most cats maintain an air of aloofness around us lowly humans. If they greet us or even deign to acknowledge our existence, they do so only grudgingly. But Babbs is always friendly and curious.
But alas, not all is well with sweet little Babbs. Some years ago, before John and Robin rescued her from the humane society, a tragic accident took from Babbs that which she no longer holds dear:
But losing a tail is just the beginning of the story. Adding insult to injury, Babbs has also been deprived of any autonomous defecation capabilities. That's right folks, cat sitting implies cat pooping. At a high level, it sounded simple enough: wait for Babbs to enter the litter box, hold her firm and gently guide the wannabe droppings into actual droppings. It's analogous to squeezing out toothpaste -- except for the squirming feline container and the anti-cleansing properties of the secreted substance, of course.
The consequences of not relieving Babbs can be dire. Maintaining homeostasis in any organism is a delicate process, and congestion build up in Babbs' lower abdominal area can cause no end of trouble. Vomiting is the most common symptom, but prolonged congestion can lead to stool poisoning, necrosis, and possibly even death.
But surely, I thought, squeezing some droppings out of the little bugger shouldn't be too difficult a task. I mean, just look at those eyes. How could I let Babbs down?
Unfortunately, it turns out Babbs and I don't speak the same language. While I could infer fecal matter amassing via the swelling on her bottom, I could not effectively communicate to her that yes, Yes!, YES! we should go and poop together!
All cats are quite finicky, even ones as friendly as Babbs. No sooner did she feel me start to grab her rump would she jump away or, even more annoying, fall over on her side or back. I made the best of the situation by either taking some nice candid photos (see above) or tickling her belly, but thoughts of pooping lurked ever in my mind.
Seeing as how I had plans for the weekend and couldn't stick around for all of eternity, I had to leave Babbs be, unpooped and congested. Since I basically had no experience with this type of situation, I could only hope that she won't suffer too much ere I return at nightfall.
I went about my business for the day, though my productivity was somewhat hampered due to concerns over the poor feline. That evening, I returned to John & Robin's place with renewed vigor, determined to make amends for my earlier failures. Unfortunately, I was no more successful the second time around. Desperation got the better of me for a time, and I tried to force her hand (or her rump, I guess) by the force of Yisong. That endeavor lasted but a short while and shall be forever filed away as a shameful chapter of my life.
Faced with a dilemma, I decided to bite the bullet and stay over for the night. After all, the last thing I wanted was to explain to John and Robin how they came back to find a sick or, even worse, dying cat.
It was a dark and dry summer night (it doesn't really get stormy in the Bay Area). I hunkered down on the living room sofa across from the litter box, prepared to instantly step into action should there be any action worthy of my instantly stepping into. I was woken up a few times during the night, twice when I heard her rummaging around the litter box and once when she jumped on me, but my attempts to poop her remained in vain.
Sunrise. The Yisong awakens. The cat was still alive. Her rump was bulging. Time to get down to business. Photography business.
In all seriousness, I wish this story had a more climactic ending. But truth be told, she was ready to go when she was ready to go. Later that day, she waited patiently in the litter box while I gently, but firmly, turned her internal fecal matter into honest-to-God cat feces.
I stuck around and played with her for a little while. She loves to nuzzle, so whenever I place my face just above hers, she would almost invariably rise up on two legs to greet me. Sometimes, I played hard to get and took pictures instead.
I'm not sure whether there's a lesson to be learned here. But if there is one, it's probably that cats do what they want. And we love them for it, especially the sweet ones like Babbs.