Sunday, October 25, 2009


October 24, 2009 2:00 am

Just before we became gainfully unemployed Gary and Sean had purchased the wood flooring I had been lusting for ever since we moved into this house.

We had discovered all too late that the previous owners had lied about not having indoor cats and as a result we had a naughty kitty spot that I wanted GONE! One of my cats had discovered the spot in the dining room and when unhappy she “punishes” us.

We had tried all the “tried and true” methods of removing the smell and of course the smell always returned just as the experts say it will.

Shortly after pulling up the carpet to discover the pad and the sub flooring were going to have to be replaced we hit the road to make our living. To head off future problems we temporarily placed a litter box in the area.

Since we are currently home the guys decided to try and get the floor done so we could have Thanksgiving dinner in a newly re-done dining room, even if we can’t afford to purchase the rest of the matching flooring for the connecting living room any time soon.

First they started pulling up the sub flooring that required replacement. Normal subflooring is a sheet of ¾ inch plywood. The very first piece they pulled up was ½ inch, and there was another ¼ piece under it running the opposite direction. It also looked like a jigsaw puzzle they had put together.

We knew when we purchased the house that much of it was reclaimed lumber, we didn’t have a problem with that at all. In fact we like the fact that our floor joists are over twice the size they need to be. The entire house is very sturdy, just not completely level.

The ¼ inch piece had water marks on it as well and since we didn’t know if it was from our shampooing attempts or from the cat being far naughtier than we thought I demanded that piece come up too.

On to the next section, it was first ¼ inch, then cross pieced with ½ inch with shingles between the two layers. This too came up. The final piece was the standard ¾ inch. Did I mention I don’t think the people who built the house owned a level?

In pulling up all the flooring for about 3 foot out from the guys tore the plastic vapor barrier. It had liquid on top of it, we are certain this was shampoo water, but it leaked down on the insulation that looked a little worn so we decided to replace that too.

While I was out doing mystery shops yesterday Gary pulled out the old insulation and then for safety’s sake sprayed deodorizer on all the floor supports.

Since we were all home for the evening he left the holes only lightly covered with the old insulation so the wood would benefit from the heat from our first fire of the season and dry out faster, so we could move on to the next step of the remodel. The plan being we’d cover the holes before bedtime. Gary had put a temporary wall of plywood up to keep the cats out of the area. Of course the two more lithe of the cats could go over that, so we needed to be watchful.

Sean went to bed around midnight and I started working on my forms for the previous days labors while Gary worked on printing today’s forms. Taking a break I went to get us both a cup of cocoa. While in the kitchen I heard something rattling the loose insulation. Thinking one of the cats had gone over the plywood barrier Gary had erected to keep the cats out I looked over it to see a gray backside with a long naked pink tail disappearing down through the insulation.

“OMIGD! A RAT!” I hollered!

“Where?” Gary said as he jumped up.

Neither of us will tolerate a rodent in the house. We occasionally will have a mouse, but with four, now five cats, one seldom lasts long. In fact Mr. Murray Mugillicuty, Sean’s Tuxedo cat, was staring down the hole after the “rat.”

Gary, armed with a shovel, moved the barrier and went to check to see if he could “take care of it.” Of course it was gone.

“Are you sure it was a rat and not one of the cats?” Gary said, looking around doing a quick whisker count.

“It was as big as Gypsy Skeeter, but it had a smooth pink tail.” I said.

Gary immediately started laying flattened cardboard boxes and scraps of plywood over the open holes to keep Mr. Murray and the rest from “ratting”. Before Gary could finish the chore the cardboard started to wiggle, and a pink opossum nose peeked out from under the edge. Murray pounced and the nose withdrew quickly.

Gary added more weight to the cardboard and we went back to chores.

We had no sooner sat back down to do our respective jobs than we heard rattling again. The possum was fully out from under the cardboard by the time we grabbed the camera and talked about what to do.

While it was not a rat I still didn’t want it in the house! Gary’s first reaction was to whack it with a shovel. My first thought on that was, I didn’t want blood on the walls! Then it crawled into the litter box and started snacking. GROSS!

By now Murray is having a fit, we were interfering with his hunting. The mother and son tabby grey team were pacing back and forth outside the barrier irritated that they were too fat to go over it.

Gary was still looking at the possibility of killing it in the dining room. I’m looking at its baby face, it was definitely this year’s model, and couldn’t bear the thought of it possibly not being killed painlessly, and especially not in my dining room! When they get in the bird coops they are dead in one shot. Bludgeoning with a shovel would not be as quick.

“Let’s trap it and take it for a ride.” I said.

Gary looked relieved and went to get a big box. He came back wearing a heavy coat and leather gloves, just in case he had to do a pick up by the tail..

Five minutes later using the box and a broom Polly Possum was ready for her trip down the highway. No we did not put it on the highway, nor did it get put near a chicken ranch—especially not mine.

When last seen the young possum was scurrying off toward the lake for a drink to wash the cat poop she had consumed out of the litter box down with.

We’ve had a discussion about the future of the dining room home on the way home. The very first step tomorrow morning Gary and Sean will be walking the foundation to figure out HOW that critter got under my house to begin with!

Once that hole is plugged we will be putting the type of rat poisoning that mummifies the corpses under the floor, just in case, before the guys finish the floor.

Each layer of the floor replacement will be painted with Kilz, just in case. It will take a while letting it dry between layers. I guarantee you it will be done a lot faster now that we know critters will be trying to come in until we do.

Jan who says she prefers her wildlife OUTSIDE in OK


  1. Just be glade it wasnt a skunk! lololol
    The fragrant muse is my wifes blog.
    James Fulcher StandingBear

  2. Hey guy! Long time no see, except in your wedding photos that are on my computer. I see you've had a few additions to your life since then.

    So far in our 12 years here in the country we've only had skunks under the front porch once. Luckily they didn't spray. Our dogs get sprayed in the woods occassionally, but they've learned to leave those "kitties" alone.

    You still 'vooing?

  3. Hello. Please allow me to introduce myself, 'I'm a man of wealth and taste.' No, wait... that's the Rolling Stones' Sympathy for the Devil. I am actually a friend of both James and Liz. I hail from their Who Chat days... the magical place in which they met! :) My name is Wendy Brissette. Nice to meet you! I saw your post on cat urine odor and simply felt I must add a comment!

    Just as a suggestion for you (or anyone else who may read your blog)... for future reference, of course... there is a product out there called Atmosklear (at least, I'm assuming and hoping it is still out there). It's the bee's knees for getting rid of odors; I have never found anything as effective at totally eliminating odors! I have managed to use it successfully on a "miss" of the litter box by one of my three cats.

    I discovered it quite by accident several years back when I was in California helping my brother move from a "cottage" (his term, not mine. my term would be: converted garage) which had a bad case of stachybotris mold (black mold.. really insidious stuff) that was adversely affecting his health. At any rate, I had a motel room that was classified as "non-smoking" in one of a neighboring towns; however, it had once been a smoking room. The fact that smoking was once allowed in the room became quite apparent when I took my first shower; boy, did the steam in the bathroom release the odor! The motel was right across from a Target; so, after readying myself, I hopped in the car, crossed the highway and thought I was going to buy Febreze or some such product. I knew such products would most likely not eliminate the odor completely, but at least it would disguise it so I could shower and not have to deal with the strong presence of stale cigarette smoke afterward.

    To my surprise, I found the product Atmosklear. It claimed to "permanently stop odors on contact", so I took a chance... and, by golly, it sure as heck did!! I had discovered the source of the odor in the bathroom was the underside of the vanity (I did a lot of sniffing); I liberally spayed the wooden underside with the Atmosklear, and it was like magic! I no longer had to tolerate that disagreeable odor after a shower!

    When I got home, I ordered a gallon. It was pretty costly (as I recall, around $50 per gallon), but I still have a good amount of it left. Since that point in time (well over a year ago), the product was being carried on Mary Ellen's site... you know, the lady who writes books on how to clean nearly everything in the universe. I had trouble getting things to work correctly on her site at that time and was unable to order more of the product. However, that does not diminish the effectiveness of this product. I'm hoping when I pour the last of the Atmosklear I have into my spray-bottle, I will be able to locate and order more of the product. Actually, my hope is that the manufacturer will have gone back to selling the product itself, since I had no problem getting the gallon ordered from them in my initial transaction.

    If you can find the product anywhere, you should give it a try. I haven't tried a Google search lately, so I can't really say where it might be found. But, as I said, once I pour the last of my remaining product into my handy-dandy spray bottle, I will definitely be looking for a place to purchase another gallon of the magical liquid. I truly am convinced that it is simply the best product available!

    BTW... the product itself has absolutely no odor, so you don't have to put up with a "fragrance" you may not like. It really is the best product I've ever used! And, no, I don't get residuals for the praise I've offered; which is too bad, really... it could probably provide an nice little source of income! ;) Anyway, that's my two cents worth!

  4. Thanks I will check for it, she's an older cat and she's missing the box more and more. I can't live with cat box smell and I don't want to give up Amy Jo so we have to find a way to deal with it.