Tony has reminded me that with a potential move on the horizon, I'm running out of time to make some critical decisions. If we get this dream home, it's much smaller than the one we're in now. We can't take the big kitty cage with us, which means making some tough choices. We made the kitty cage because a couple of our cats started to "think outside the box" and this way they're contained - and are great about using the box as long as it's scooped every day. So what do we do with our fluffy Zombie girl who doesn't like to use the litter box when she has free run of the house? We can't have a cat having accidents in a small house full of children, and Zom loves attention far too much to be relegated to life as a barn cat. In fact, the kids use her as a therapy animal, often taking her out, cuddling with her, and talking to her when they're feeling upset or sad. I don't want to find her a new home. The last cat we had to give away died as a result (new home made him a barn cat and he was taken by an eagle). We were devastated at the news as we had held out hope that we could take him back once we moved. So what do we do? I'm not sure yet. I don't have a perfect answer. I wish she'd be a good girl and use the litter box, but I don't want to wait until we've moved and she starts being inappropriate and then I have no time or wiggle room to figure out what to do. I need to think about it now.
When I was younger, I had a cat. I adored this cat, but she was pretty special (as in she had some issues, she wasn't like a normal cat). Physical issues aside, she also refused to use the litter box if one of our other cats had used it. So we kept two litter boxes. One was available all the time for any of the three cats. The other one was in the bathroom and had a laundry basket over it all day long so nobody could use it. At night, we would take the laundry basket off of it, and leave the special cat in the bathroom. In the morning, we'd let her out and cover the litter box again. The first few nights were rough because she would cry and want out. But after about a week, she started hanging out by the bathroom door at bedtime. After a few months there would be days where she would curl up in the bathroom cupboard and be content to stay in there for hours napping in her little special place. As the years went on we started to refer to her as "our bathroom kitty" because she was completely content to spend a majority of her time in there, even with the door open all day. She outlived the old cat, and the younger cat found a new home, and still, even with her litter box open 24/7 and the bathroom door open, she preferred her special spot in the cupboard. It's a little funny that despite the fact that she passed away about five years ago, my parents never cleaned out that bottom portion of the bathroom closet. It still has her favorite handmade crocheted comforter my grandma made, completely covered in cat fun from the years she claimed that spot as hers. Even after she's gone, it feels like she's still with us in that way. I think I will cry the day my parents finally decide to clean out that little space.
#1 has suggested perhaps Zom could become our "bathroom kitty" and we could keep her in the rather spacious bathroom in the new house. It sounds tempting, except for the fact that the bathroom is also the laundry room, and if she starts thinking outside the box... our laundry could suffer. I suppose if we kept all of our blankets and towels in cupboards, and all clothes were only brought in when it was time to wash them, and they were promptly folded and brought back to their appropriate rooms... But who am I kidding? We're a family of seven and sometimes it's a struggle just to get the dirty laundry into the laundry area, let alone washed, folded, and put away all in one day! But I think this might be the most valid suggestion I've got to work with at the moment. Which is also odd because my old kitty was smaller in size, but loved me especially... and Zommie is a pretty small cat, and she just can't get enough attention.
Thinking about it makes me miss my old girl, but it also steels my resolve that I don't want to have to lose a pet to move to a nicer home. Pets should be forever, they're part of the family. You shouldn't just dump them when they become inconvenient. I did rescue for many years and I can't tell you how much I hate it when people say "I'm moving so Fluffy needs a new home." .... Grrr! You don't see people say "I'm moving to a nice one bedroom apartment so my kids need to find new homes as I no longer have space for them." or "I work two jobs, so I don't have time to spend with my kids, so I'm giving them up for adoption." ... So why do people do it with pets? Worst yet are the people who do that and then a month later are getting a new pet. Responsibility. It's all about prioritizing, and clearly some people don't prioritize their pets as much as I do.
Another thing to consider is the turtle and the fish tank. Right now the turtle has an aquaponic setup over it. I had experimented with some seeds and regrowing lettuce butts and transplanting things from the garden. At first it did great, but then the spider mites found their way into it and destroyed everything. The treatment for spider mites is soap, which I couldn't do as the water cycles through the turtle tank, so all the plants dried up and died. I plan to sanitize everything when we break it down to move, and when we get to the new place, I want to set it up on the fish tank instead. That way we could actually eat the food we produce, since it wouldn't have the potential contamination from a turtle (salmonella). So, there are two places we could put the tanks. One is in the bathroom in a window, and the other is in the living room between two windows. The turtle tank already has an extra light over it (basking light for Minnow), which would seem redundant in the bathroom window, but could add extra light to the living room. The fish tank does not have a hood or a light (open top), but would need a light for the plants to grow in the aquaponic set up, so putting it in the bathroom window could save us the expense of running another light. The plants could get natural daylight from the window with no worry of electricity outages or light bulbs burning out. The extra light in the fish tank shouldn't spark an algae bloom if the aquaponics set up is syphoning enough of the waste product out to fertilize the plants. Thus the tank would actually be cleaner in the window with the extra light because the plants would keep the tank cleaner, than if it were in the living room with a light fixture on it. Seems odd to have a fishtank in your bathroom / laundry room, and a turtle in your living room, but Minnow loves checking people out and seeing what they're up to. Putting her right in the center of everything would probably make her a happy reptile.