the return of mystique

Middle daughter called me the other day. Mystique had decided to stop using the litterbox and this could NOT be tolerated. Did I want her back, or was she free to find another home for kitty?

“Bring her back,” I sighed.

They dropped off her things the same day that I hurt my ankle; I had them place her litterbox on the edge of the porch so that I could attend to it when my ankle was a bit better.

I stayed indoors for a few days after that, resting my foot to allow it to heal but eventually I hobbled outside. A storm was coming so I wanted Mystique (box and all) safely indoors. It’s not the cat’s fault my daughter has allergies.

Before I even touched the box my senses were assaulted. My eyes teared, my stomach heaved and I lurched away in shock.

Once I escaped to cleaner air I puzzled over this dilemma. I needed her litterbox indoors – but that smell was intolerable. How in the world could I get rid of that smell in time to beat the storm when I couldn’t even get close to the thing?

It was time to pick up Katie from her practice so I pondered my dilemma as I drove. At first I was upset at Middle Daughter but then I imagined what her house must have smelled like with that box in there and cat mess all over. Then I envisioned them with that stinky box in their tiny car as they brought her back to me.

That made me laugh. I think Mystique punished them enough for all of us!

After picking Katie up from school we hopped over to WalMart and just bought a new litterbox. I held my nose long enough to carry the old one to the trash can.

I have learned a valuable lesson from this experience. Sometimes it is best to just accept your current situation instead of fighting it. If I had accepted the fact that Mystique missed having access to Katie’s room instead of trying to eliminate her, we would have been spared the pain of parting and the smell of that horrible litterbox.

What is, is. Mystique is back to stay. Katie’s door stays closed for now and I will figure out some way to safely leave it open during the upcoming summer nights.

Do you have any ideas?

Thank you so much for your help during my current challenge. You are awesome!

12 thoughts on “the return of mystique

  1. z

    Your cat might have a urinary tract infection, that’s one of the primary reasons a cat pees outside of their box. Another is if the box isn’t clean; if it stinks to you it stinks worse to your cat. Have a vet check her if things don’t improve 🙂

  2. Erin

    A cat will not use a dirty box. People don’t like an un-flushed toilet. Yick! Can the box be left on the porch instead of in the house? They do make dust free litter and maybe your readers have a frugal option for this.
    This might help but I don’t recommend antihistamines for children. There are some safety concerns with antihistamines that should be discussed with a doctor or pharmacist.

  3. Cindy

    We put a screen door on our daughters bedroom door when she was an infant to keep our kitty out of her room.

    The screen allowed the kitty to see into her room and seemed to alleviate his obsession with the closed door, probably because he could see and smell what was on the other side.

  4. Stephanie

    How about a baby gate at Katie’s door? I agree with getting the vet to check out Mystique. Cats and dogs have very strong smelling, yucky odor when they have bladder infections or UTIs

  5. Suzanne

    I would have stopped using my litter-box, too, if it was stinky ! Clearly, if you couldn’t get near the thing, a mere three days after the cat’s return, nobody had bothered cleaning the box for some time. Either that, or, as mentioned, your cat has an infection of some sort.

    I like Cindy’s idea of the screen door, to make the cat feel less excluded !

    1. Annie Post author

      Mystique hasn’t had a single accident since I got her a new litterbox – and the box does NOT stink, so I doubt that she has an infection.

      I also don’t know the condition of the interior of the box. It was hooded, and I could not get close without gagging so I didn’t even try to open it.

      Mystique has always liked her litterbox clean though. She will push me out of the way so that she can go one last time before I clean it. I think it was allowed to get really dirty, though whether or not they attempted to clean it before returning it to me I cannot say. I just held my nose and tossed it.

      She does seem really happy to be back though.


      We already have a baby gate to keep the dogs out. She just jumps over. As for a screen door, I don’t own this place so I’m hesitant to try something like that.

      We’re debating on putting her in the bathroom at night, locating another small air conditioner for her room – or making Mystique sleep outside on summer nights when he have to run the AC. She likes going outside in the summer anyway, so that may be a good option.

  6. Suzanne

    Was there some reason you felt obliged to take the cat back, rather than let your daughter find her another, more suitable home .. where she might have been less troublesome (and better appreciated) given your youngest has allergies ?

    1. Annie Post author

      Yes, Suzanne, there was several reasons.

      The first reason was that Mystique is family and I don’t believe in dumping animals once you adopt them any more than you would dump a child. I agreed to let Mystique go to my daughter’s house on the condition that if things didn’t work out she would come home.

      Also, knowing my daughter she would have just handed Mystique over to anyone without making sure they were good owners and Mystique could have ended up in a shelter again. I refuse to allow that to happen to any animal in my care if I can avoid it. We only let her go to Daughter’s house so that we would be able to visit her from time to time.

      Everything happens for a reason, so I’m not too upset. We kinda missed the little mutant anyway. 🙂

  7. Suzanne

    Sounds as though she’s happy to be home .. as I would be if my return included a bathroom re-model ! 🙂 How about trying some essential oil repellants for the areas you prefer her not to visit in your home ? Cat’s don’t like lavender or lemon, for example, but both these oils smell fabulous inside your home. You could try rubbing them on the door frames or using drops on the floor, just to deter her from entering the out of bounds areas. If your daughter likes the smells, a diffuser of some kind in her room might also work. Lavender is also very relaxing, so ideal for a bedroom ! (I grew up with a grandmother who used (fresh dried) lavender bags in all her closets, as well as in her bed pillows .. it was heavenly sleeping at her place ! 🙂

    1. Annie Post author

      Suzanne, that is an EXCELLENT idea! Katie loves smelly stuff (as I do) so this is definitely an option. I’ll get her opinion when she comes home from school. Thanks!


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