• Cat Barf Zen 101: Be one with the cat barf

    by Debra DeAngelo

    The good news is my carpets are the same color as cat barf.

    The bad news is my carpets are the same color as cat barf.

    Yes, wasn’t I the clever girl, picking out carpets the exact same color as cat barf so there’d be no more stains. Sadly, I wasn’t quite clever enough to consider the potential disadvantages of color-coordinating my carpets to the random expulsions of hair and kibble from the two little fur people who share my home. For example, the relative benefits of discovering the results of their gastrointestinal distress not by sight, but by the sudden cold, wet squish under my bare foot in the morning.

    Yeah, ick.

    It could be worse, right? The squish could’ve been expelled from the other end.

    Double ick.

    Such are the annoyances of having indoor cats. I can’t really complain though, because to date, there haven’t been any double ick squishes. I have good boys. They use the Kitty Rocha Depository faithfully. The only mishaps occur when a wayward — ahem — “lump”… clings to a bit of long tail fur. Fat Angelo will just waddle around until it finally falls off. Just doesn’t care. He has SO let himself go. However, a dingleberry just blows Milo’s tiny mind. He tries to outrun them, racing through the house, leaping over chairs, streaking across tables, until he manages to lose the stinky beast that’s after him.

    This is why, in the end, I keep the cats around — for the sheer entertainment value.

    Back to the barf. I posted my carpet camouflage observation on Facebook, and the posts were like popcorn. Now, I often post thoughtful, heartfelt insight on everything from God to the bittersweet struggle of human existence, and what really gets people’s attention? Cat barf. So, if cat barf is what the people want, then cat barf the people shall have. But why limit it to Facebook. Why not share it with the wider world.

    Lucky you.

    Awhile back, I spent painstaking months selecting a lovely thick, plush berber, the color of oatmeal. It looked fabulous. Until I heard that first familiar HYUCK… HYUCK… HYUCK… HYUCK… BRRRRAAAAAAAAAFFFGHGHGH…

    Now, there’s only about a five second window to scoop up the stinky snarl of kibble and hair before it seeps into the carpet, and unless you’re in the immediate vicinity, chances are, you’ll discover the blop too late. By then, you scoop and blot as best you can, but there’s always, a brown stain left behind. When the stains accumulate to critical mass, there’s nothing left to do but rent a steam cleaner and wipe the slate clean.

    Know what makes a cat hork up a hairball faster than anything? The sound of a just-used steam cleaner being packed back into the car.

    Before long, I recognized that there’s no winning the cat barf battle. It’s the price you pay for choosing indoor-only cats with ridiculously long, thick fur. However, in the wider world of cat annoyances, it’s the lesser of several evils, as compared to living with fleas, dead bird carcasses lovingly placed at the doorstep, thousands of dollars in veterinarian bills for the various scuffles outdoor cats get into, and, worst of all, the cat funerals to honor Fluffy or Mittens, who met an untimely death with a swimming pool/dog/car/neighbor with antifreeze — insert your favorite peril.

    Even with regular carpet cleaning, my lovely oatmeal colored carpets looked thrashed after a few years. I was itching to replace them. But they were so expensive and structurally still good, and my hard-wired stinginess kept kicking in. And then my house flooded last fall. The spotted carpets were destroyed, and they were covered by insurance. It was carpet serendipity.

    When I went to our local carpet store, I knew exactly what to ask for: “I want carpets the exact color of — (no, not cat barf — that would be disgusting!) — gingerbread. Doesn’t that sound lovely? And, turns out, gingerbread is the exact golden brown shade of cat spew I needed.

    The new carpets went in, and the first couple times I heard Milo or Angelo torqueing their guts into an imminent hairball purge, I ran for the towels, scooped and blotted, and… Brilliant! I was so impressed with myself! Never again would I have to suffer with spotted carpets! However, my self-satisfaction quickly dissipated the first time I felt that invisible cold squish under my foot.

    The most recent time I felt that unhappy sensation, I posted the same two sentences on Facebook that I started this column with. The comments were priceless:

    “Please tell us you did not bring in a color sample…” said Angry Danielle, of my trip to the carpet store.

    To which I replied, that it wasn’t necessary, because the carpet is the color of gingerbread.

    “With that in mind, fortunately gingerbread season is far off,” added Annette.

    Sure it is, Annette. You’ll remember this next time a warm, steamy slice is in your hand.

    “I hate it when a good idea turns out to be a bad plan for the same reason!” said Sherlie.

    Oh my, Sherlie, that comment was more profound than you could ever imagine.

    “This confirms it… you ARE brilliant. Here I’ve been trying to FIGHT the cat barf. You, on the other hand, have learned to ACCEPT the cat barf. My hat is off…” chimed in Stephanie.

    “Do not fear the cat barf… be one with the cat barf… (Cat Barf Zen 101)” I replied.

    “It’s amazing… the hot topic on FB tonight is Debra’s Cat Barf Carpet!” said Mike.

    “Mike — OMG!!!! And I didn’t know what to write about this week… Cat Barf Zen!” I exclaimed with delight!

    Hey. I don’t judge the inspiration as it comes to me, I just say “thank you.”

    • I am not afraid to say it, I am not an animal lover. And your story convinces me that this works for me. I want nothing to do with any hairballs, poop, barf or hair of any type but my own diminishing supply. I can understand other people loving animals but this story reinforced my own feelings that I am right about me and animals. Good for you Debra and all the animal lovers out there. The world needs you. I just sat in court with my animal loving friend Hollye for three days as she fought for the love of her dog as others tried to claim him as theirs. I watched with rapture as her family testified to their love of Stitch. I can empathize with animal lovers and I know Hollye and family will win and deservedly so. But for me I would rather surround myself with inanimate objects that just need dusting.

    • After these two… I am so DONE with pets. I’m with you Madge…

      • Judith Newton

      • May 9, 2011 at 7:45 am
      • Reply

      Hilarious! I’m going to save this zen lesson for when I get back to California and discover that invisible, uncatchable slugs have eaten the kale, the elephant ears, the agave, and everything else in their path.

    • After those cats are gone, can I have their skulls for my collection. I like to play like Shakespeare. I hold the cat skull and say, “Alas, poor Fat Angelo! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath barfed on thy floor a thousand times, and now how abhorr’d in my imagination it is!
      Hold your applause please. Hold the applause!

    • Donald… OMG, if that wasn’t so funny, I’d be so upset!!!
      Poor Fat Angelo…

    • Fat Angelo…I love it. I think I’m going to have to append descriptors to my pets’ names – Licking Tiger sounds vaguely like an Asian action film. Further, I happen to have gingerbread colored concrete floors. Slippery.

    • LOL I so know the feeling of the “squish.” I’ve been known to sit there as the cat is hacking in hopes of slipping a paper towel underneath at the right moment before the barf/hairball hits the floor. It only works 25% of the time.

    • Spring – Fat Angelo has been upgraded to Fat Stinky Angelo.

      Crystal – ever notice that the cat will walk, mid-hork, to the carpet to purge, rather than stay on the tile where it would be easy to clean up? They know. They are doing it on purpose. They hork at will because the don’t have a middle finger to hold up when they want canned food and you won’t produce it.

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