June 17th, 2010

Moccasin eating spaghetti

Adventures in Cat Lady-dom

Since I've been involved in a local sustainability group, I've been evaluating the stuff I buy/use and try to shift my habits to more environmentally-friendly things. I've made a bunch of changes already, like buying a bunch of Energy Star appliances and a tankless water heater, and I recently let my back yard "go to meadow." (Most people don't understand why I chose to stop mowing, or rather, hiring other people to mow it, so I need to work on my naturalization speech.) But I've also noticed that about half my garbage is used cat litter. I go through roughly 20 pounds a week, and as I was explaining to Megan, my "weight training" routine consists of hauling 40-pound bags of cat litter around.

The regular clay cat litter isn't very eco-friendly, and it's apparently not great for cats either. I'm trying Yesterday's News, and while the cats do use it, they seem to prefer the clay litter. Then again, they've only used it a little over a week, and I didn't give them much time to adjust. (I was almost out of clay litter and had a bunch of news litter, so it was basically 3 1/2 boxes of news litter and 1/2 a box of clay.) I like that the litter is a lot less messy and doesn't get dusty, so I hope they'll get used to it. But I'm open to suggestions if anyone knows of other good brands that cats like and aren't very expensive.

Another thing I've noticed. My allergies have mostly cleared up. I'm very mildly allergic to cats, which basically means that they don't bother me unless they sleep on my face or I'm exposed to them after a long period of not-being-around-cats (otherwise known as periods of crippling depression where I long for the company of cats), and then I get a runny nose or something. Well, having four cats turns an insignificant allergy into chronic mild stuffiness. When Hagrid first came home, about five months ago, my sinuses went haywire. He's a long-haired Maine Coon mix, so my sinuses were going WHOAHMYGOSHCATS for a while. I also think kittens tend to trigger allergies more than adults for some reason. I'm sure there's some complicated scientific reason for that, but I really don't care.

Anyway. At first, while my allergies were going insane, I noticed that they were especially potent at night, and I'd wake up feeling like my head was about to explode. Then one day, I finally got around to washing the comforter. I got lazy and didn't take it out of the dryer for like a week. (I suffer from terrible not-putting-away-laundryitis.) My allergies magically cleared up. Then I finally put the comforter back on the bed, and the allergies swooshed back with a vengeance. (Yes, allergies can swoosh. Shut up.) "Well," I thought, "screw this allergen-infested comforter, I'll just get another one." Then I remembered that it was approaching summer, and comforters are expensive. So I just got a delightfully soft blanket and have been using that. I'll get something warmer once the heat stops melting me into a puddle of liquid-Ade-now-with-extra-cat-hair.

Anyway, allergies are mostly better! I can generally breathe through my nose and only have a wee bit of a chronically runny nose (which I've had pretty much all my life, and I also blame dust mite poop for that). My allergies only really act up when I'm cleaning cat boxes, but I wear a dust mask, and that helps. Of course, they all like to come sleep in my bed, and Galahad likes to spoon and/or get up in my face, so I still often wake up needing to clear my sinuses. But a nice hot shower takes care of that.

Speaking of a nice hot shower, I like the new shower in the basement. I finally put the curtain on and used it, because the upstairs tub drain is stubbornly clogged. I took some very un-eco-friendly measures in failed attempts to clear it, which I don't like to admit, but I bought a pumping plunger thingy today, so hopefully that will help. Hopefully...
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