Ain’t That Some Shit

I am all for activism as a means of bringing about social change. I am still looking for the perfect opportunity to burn my bra. But it turns out, I don’t much like being the target of civil disobedience.

I knew Olympia, my ten year old cat, was offended when we brought home a dog. She made this clear through loud hissing noises and by swatting the dog’s face like a speed bag whenever he was in the room. I initially wrote off her behaviour as sibling rivalry, a natural phenomenon when a new baby is brought home. As her hissing grew louder, however, and her paw speed increased, I became concerned that her violence wasn’t simply borne out of jealousy.

“Do you think it’s a racial thing?” I asked my husband, the cat being white and the dog being black. Sure, she had played with yarn of all different colours and textures since kittenhood, but perhaps I didn’t do enough to really teach her about equality. Perhaps I took it for granted that being the cat of a socially conscious liberal, she too would embrace all members of the animal kingdom.

“I think cats are colour blind,” my husband assured me, “she’ll come around.”

Except she hasn’t come around. Not only does she continue to roll her eyes at me when the dog ambushes his own shadow, but she has strengthened her resistance.

She poops on the floor.

Despite having a perfectly functioning litter box, she has claimed the entire basement as her own personal toilet. I’ve scrubbed the box, tried 101 different types of litter, repeatedly rubbed her paws in the litter, stuck her face in the offending piles with accompanying chastisements, moved the litter box to each new defecation location, but it is no use. My whole house wreaks of cat waste.

“She’s not going to stop,” I said, exasperated. “She won’t stop until we get rid of the dog. It’s a poop protest.”

“Maybe we should put newspaper down across the basement,” my husband suggested.

“So what, we’re going to be that family now? The one with cat poop in the basement.”

This seemed like a pretty crappy solution.

Brainstorming ideas, as I picked up more droppings fertilizing our concrete basement, I watched as Olympia squatted, looked me in the eye, and brazenly pooped. Are you kidding me?

Just as I’m about to warn her that she has one paw in the Humane Society, it occurs to me that by cleaning up her mess after the fact, I haven’t truly analyzed its meaning.

This is Olympia’s way, I think, of telling me that her life has gone to shit. I have been thinking the same thing about myself lately, except I don’t do anything about it. I don’t protest. When something I don’t like comes barreling towards me, often times I just lie down. I don’t change my circumstance, I let change happen to me. When I think of it like this, I’m oddly proud of Olympia for speaking her mind. Granted, the dog is here to stay, but she was heard. She didn’t stay quiet in the face of discontent. And now she’s got the biggest bathroom in the house to herself.

I’m not saying I should poop on anyone’s floor, but at the very least, I could speak up.