When my niece prepared her college applications, she made wounded animal sounds and slammed shut the laptop. How on earth could she write a college essay when her life was so boring? What would the school think when she had no talents to brag about?  She knew whatever she wrote would convince universities to reject her, and she’d be stuck attending an educate-them-for-a-profit school that had a mosquito as its mascot. I still don’t know what school that would be. WyoTech?

“Let me write your essay for you,” I told her. 

She rolled her eyes.

I whipped something up and showed her. She was NOT AMUSED.

“You want me to tell the selection committee I smell like cat pee?”

Well, when you put it in those terms . . .

Here is the offending essay.

I love cats.  They are quirky, furry critters that rumble when you run your hand down their back. No, I’m not a crazy cat teenager destined to be an old lonely crazy cat women with 50 cats in her largish house that is in desperate need of repair.  We all know crazy cat ladies are more sophisticated than that, and we know they aren’t crazy, just passionate.  For felines!

 No, I am defined by cats by the ammonia based, foul liquid that comes out of them aka cat pee. With so many cats and fosters living and playing in our house, it is inevitable that animal urine becomes a part of my life. A lower ranked cat gets picked on by a higher ranked, and to express his or her fear and displeasure, pees outside the cat box. A cat may have a urinary infection and pisses at random. One cat is old and senile, and sticks her tongue out to say, “what is a catbox?” Every other week, I have to clean the catboxes before I go to school, a disgusting but necessary chore for the day. I switch off every week with my brother. He is sloppy when he does it, only cleaning every other day instead of every day. This increases the incidences of out of the box accidents.

 I go to school, and then the dreaded happens. I call it The Whiff. That faint, there it is and gone, odor of cat pee.  I panic. I do not want to be known in school as the smelly one.  I slide back in my desk and casually lower my nose to my shoulder. No, all is good there. Check the other side. Fine.

 I drop my pencil on the ground so I can sniff my knee when I pick it up.


 Cat stench on my pants!

 It is a mortifying realization. I raise my hand and ask the teacher if I can go to the bathroom. She waves me on.

 What am I going to do? I can’t sneak out of the school. I can’t change my clothes.

 Febreze to the rescue. I keep a small bottle in my back-pack.I  drench myself with it and cough. I pray this stuff doesn’t get banned from school.

For now, I am OK.

No one should think about cat bodily elimination. It’s not good for your mental state. And yet, here I am thinking about it.

I do admit, the cats put me in a secret special club. A man passed me in the Target, a distinctive smell lingering behind him. I looked at him. He looked at me. A hint of fear shimmered in his eyes. He knew I knew. I gave him the nod, the one that said, I understand. He relaxed and gave a semi-smile.

We are members of the cat pee club. 

I long for the day I move out of the house into dorms sans felines.

Although, as soon as I get my own apartment, I’m getting a cat.




lots of cats