Saturday, January 16, 2010
It isn't that I'm one of those crazy cat people, it's just that I like--okay I love--my cats. Back in the late 70's when I was attending USU, I'll never forget the day that one of my neighbors on Darwin Avenue came over and asked if I would help with a service project. No one had shown up for the sorority service project she was in charge of--cleaning an old woman's house. Even though I wasn't in the sorority, I said I would be glad to help. I think she rounded up a couple of other girls, but I honestly don't remember anyone else besides her helping with the cleaning.
"She has a lot of cats," she said apologetically. "Heather" was a really pretty girl. I mean really pretty. All of the guys in our student ward would ask her out and the rumor is that none of them had managed to get a date. Well it wasn't because she was snooty about her looks. She wasn't. She was a sweetheart. And I didn't know it yet, but would learn in the next five hours that she was tougher than she looked. Anyway I told her I loved cats. She looked sheepish when we entered the house, like she was embarrassed about what we'd see next. I have a feeling even she hadn't known how bad it actually was. I guess the state or city or whomever made such decisions would've condemned the woman's house and take her cats away without help. It should have been. Looking back, it was without a doubt one of the worst experiences I've ever had. We literally scraped feces off everywhere--even the walls. Cat poop nearly covered the carpet along the edges of the living room,kitchen, and bedroom. Cats walked all over the kitchen counters while we cleaned. I remember counting about 20 cats. Of course I petted them whenever I could, between scraping up the encrusted poop. We washed all the cupboards out, all the counters, all the floors, everything. And we didn't have any equipment. We should've been wearing full-body protection, but we had nothing, but a few sponges, buckets, paper towels,and spatulas. I think I kept wondering how this woman got the way she was--how was it she couldn't bear to give a cat away, but I knew. She was a crazy cat woman. I'm not...Yet.