We are terrible, terrible cat owners who always forget to clean the litter box. I don't know how it's possible to forget to clean an amonia filled box that sits in the living room, but apparently we manage to do that from time to time. I had made a cleaning schedule on Google calendar that was helping for a while, but after rushing to finish up my dissertation and traveling to Florida, somehow I stopped checking it. I am back on track now though, after we discovered that one (or both) of the cats had decided the litter box was simply too disgusting and found a new location - J's suitcase, still not completely unpacked from our recent trip to Florida.
It's hard not to suspect Tako, partly because we think he's the one who's left presents for us in the past (unless we've wrongly accused him in the past too) and partly because he chose J's suitcase. Maybe he chose it at random, but it does seem that he tends to go for J's stuff over mine (e.g., one time I noticed him crouch over J's leather jacket and fortunately managed to stop him before he let loose).
I worried that it was because we had just changed the litter yesterday to Yesterday's News (we finally bought some after running through our stash and having received these comments about this litter), but immediately after discovering J's foul smelling suitcase, I watched both of the cats use the litter box with the new litter. So it must have happened shortly before we changed the litter yesterday, and isn't in response to the change in litter.
So I think I will be doing some laundry shortly.
In another cat related frustrations, Koji seems to have decided that he's had enough of this apartment and wants to get out. Ever since we got back from Florida he's been meowing constantly at the front door and reaching his paws up at the doorknob, maybe because he sees us use the doorknob whenever we open the door. (It's funny because this is from a cat who can hardly figure out how to open a door that isn't even latched. He's learned how to push his way through a door, but if he would have to pull it toward him he can't figure it out. He kind of bats at it and at the wall next to the door and sometimes, by chance, he manages to accidentally open it, but yet never seems to learn that if he just pulls it with his paw toward him that it would open every time.)
Anyway, we are not sure why he's so intent on getting out, but can only think that when we left him and Tako alone for ten days (with someone coming by to feed the cats), that he had nothing else to do but hear people going past in the hallway. Or maybe he realized that we come and go through that door and it's finally occurred to him that there must be something on the other side of the door. I really don't know.
Our new approach is to ignore him, which we were sort of doing before, but I think we were giving in to him in ways that we didn't even realize, like trying to distract him with toys. But now we're thinking that responding in any way to him when he's whining at the door might be reinforcing his behavior as successfully getting our attention. So as annoying as it is, we're now just ignoring him while he meows at the door - it's hard because it can get really loud and it can be quite distracting to have a cat yelling just a few feet away from us.
Sometimes I am envious of the cats' luxurious lives, but other times I feel bad for them because they really have no control over anything. I don't entirely blame Koji for wanting to get out and see the world.