Kitty and Me
We are only beginning to understand animals’ intelligence and their capacity to understand and communicate and relate to us.
Last August a friend’s dog had an “accident” in my house. The next day my 17-year-old cat, K. D., stopped using her litter box. I realized this when I checked her box a few days later and there was nothing in it. I took her to the vet to see if she had a bladder or kidney problem but neither was the case.
I didn’t notice K. D. relieving herself anywhere else, but soon the odor problem could not be ignored. Visitors were noticing and commenting on it. I called the vet and followed suggestions to add more litter pans, try a flat “puppy pad,” and use only plain clay non-scented litter. None of these worked.
I researched on the Internet—nothing. In my troubled state of mind I talked to Reverend Brad about the situation. He paused a moment and then smiled and said, “Have you had a talk with her about it?” Well of course I hadn’t. He knew it seemed like far-out advice but assured me that it certainly couldn’t hurt and would be worth a try.
I thought about it for a day or so and felt silly about having “the talk” with my cat. We baby talk to our pets or give them commands, but to sit down and resolve a problem by having a heart-to-heart talk as if talking to a friend or an actual child is something we don’t do. When I finally tried it, she listened as my tone of voice changed from cuddly to no-nonsense. I told her that it was very important to always use her litter box and that if she would please always use it she would be such a good girl. I repeated this several times. Later that day I saw that she had used the box. Yea! I praised her several times. It has become a daily practice to tell her how important it is and to praise her for doing it. K.D. hasn’t missed a beat (or her litter box) since.