What the Cat Left (or, De-Peeing the Shoe)

The ghost of a Teva, doused in baking soda: Is there an afterlife beyond death by urination?

It wasn’t Husbot’s fault. How was he to know, when he left his new shoes on the bathroom floor before he left town for two days, that they would become the definitive piece of the perfect storm? Alone, they were just a pair of Tevas. But their presence converged with several key events to create a panic in the laundry room last Thursday. The other events were, like the shoes, unimpressive individually: a litter box that needed cleaning. A lack of kitty litter on the premises (we’d recently run out). And Tesserwell, the cat, is old and a bit crotchety.

He has been known, when the management slacks off in their janitorial duties, to relieve himself upon whatever happens to be on the bathroom floor: a bath mat. A towel. Husbot’s new Tevas.

I have always been able to clean the towels by washing them immediately (sometimes twice) with regular detergent and baking soda. But shoes?

I discovered them smelling like less-than-new the morning Husbot was due to arrive home. So last Thursday found me pulling out all my cleaning guns in an attempt to de-pee the shoes.

First I just washed them with Dreft. But even before lifting the washing machine lid all the way afterward, I smelled the unmistakable odor of kitty cologne. I dumped baking soda on them and let them sit for several hours before washing. Eau de Kitty still as strong as before. Then I washed them with baking soda and All. No change in the Pee Pee Parfum.

At that point, I consulted Google. “Soak it up with kitty litter,” I was advised. Well if I had kitty litter, I thought, I wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place. And besides, if baking soda didn’t work, I couldn’t imagine kitty litter would do any better. And time was running out: Husbot would be home after dinner.

I decided against Clorox because it kills Spandex. I reached for the intensely foul-smelling but sometimes effective Resolve. I turned on the vent, doused both shoes heavily, started the washer again, and fled. If there was a detergent called “Hope,” my bottle would have been empty.

An hour before he was due home, I pulled the poor Tevas out of the machine and they smelled….

Friend to cat lovers and the spouses of cat lovers. (drugstore.com)

…as good as new.

I set them on the bathroom floor, just where Husbot had left them.

I emptied the litterbox.

I bought a new bottle of Resolve.

And everyone lived happily ever after.