Advice for Batman: Avoid camping with Catwoman.

I realize I've been slacking lately, so let me tell you why. September and October are my vacation months, and my wife and I take 4-day weekends to go backpacking and/or canoing, although lately it's been easier to take the canoe. What this means is that I have three "regular" work days and also only three days to do things like freelance, practice piano, do stuff around the house, you name it. So that's my story. It'll get better - that's a promise. Or a threat. Take it however you want to.

This past weekend, my wife and I took the canoe to a place called Cedar River Flow. It's an easy place to put in, since you can almost back your car down to the water -- there's no canoe carrying involved, like there was last week. That being said, it is designated as "wilderness," so things are pretty rustic. And by "pretty rustic" I mean no bathrooms. Not even an outhouse. Also, it's a good idea to not leave food around your camp because there are various large and small animals in the area that would like nothing better than a free meal on your dime.

What made this trip unique is that we weren't alone. You see, we have this cat, JD. Unfortunately JD needs medication every 6 hours. Because we couldn't board him at the last minute, we decided we had two choices -- either not go on the trip, or....take him with us.

In a spectacular lapse of good judgment, we decided to take him.

Some more details: He is an indoor cat. He has never worn a collar in his life. So, of course, the first thing we did was get him a collar, which made him walk around like he had a cinder block resting on his head for 2 hours. After we got him used to that, we put on the harness. With all the buckles and studs and black leather, all he needed was a little leather cap and a pair of assless pants and he could have walked into any leather boy club in LA without attracting attention. If he hadn't been a cat, I mean.

We bundled the backpacks into the car along with the cat carrier and headed out.

Surprisingly, he was fine during the two hour car trip. He slept, in fact. When we loaded everything into the canoe, including him, he didn't flip out. He was amazingly laid back about the whole thing. We paddled through semi-rough water for a few miles and then unloaded everything at a remote campsite. The cat loved it. He was rolling around on the ground, exploring everything, laying in the sun, having a grand old time.

Everything was fine until approximately 2:30am, which is the exact time I learned why it wasn't a good idea to bring a cat camping with you. Was it the coyote howling approximately 100 feet from the tent? No, it wasn't that, although I am pretty sure he figured cat was on the menu if he persevered. Was it the incessant licking of various body parts? No, I'm used to that -- I'm talking cat stuff here.

2:30am was the exact moment in time that I learned that indoor cats don't realize that all of outside is their litter box. How they cannot get this, I don't know. I base this theory on the fact that our cat made himself comfortable on top of my sleeping bag, nestled himself between my calves, and then took a giant piss.

Luckily, (if you can call anything about this luck) my sleeping bag was slightly water resistant, which also means that it was slightly pee resistant. Incredibly, I didn't panic, even though there was approximately 2 pints of cat piss in a small indentation balanced precariously between my legs. We soaked it up with toilet paper, and when I was able to move, I dragged everything out of the tent.

So the stage was set: It's 2:37 in the morning. It's cold. There's howling in the distance. I can't find my jacket. Everything smells like pee. It was like waking up on the lawn after passing out at a frat party.

I carried my bag down to the lake and dragged it across the top of the water, front and back, about 3 times. I wanted to wash it, but not soak the feathers inside. Once I did that, I brought it back to the camp and started a fire, then stood there with it until it dried. Finally, we were able to put everything back in the tent and go back to sleep. Everything still stank, but at least I wasn't going to freeze.

I dreamt of hobos, and we left early the next morning.

As my wife told me repeatedly, worse things could have happened. She's right. At least I didn't get crapped on, too.

I guess there's always next time.


  1. Next time? You wouldn't be fool enough to take that cat again would you?

    I swear, cats are a pain in the ass!! Don't yell at me, I am not an animal hater! I have a cat and he shits in the bathtub anytime that he gets the chance. We had to put signs on the bathroom doors to remind everyone to keep them shut so that he can't get in there. I think that constitutes being a pain the ass, don't you?

  2. That was worth the trip. For your readers, I mean. For you, not so much.

  3. Truthfully? I think the shit would have been better. Easier to clean up, anyways.

  4. Now I have been reading your blog religiously since "blogger" first recommended it.. and this is the first time I ever felt compelled to comment!! (I have come close before - but being Australian, I am not witty)

    YOU... TOOK... A... CAT... CAMPING!

    in a canoe!!

    My mind just keeps boggling at this concept...

    We have 3 cats, and know well enough they don't appreciate the same subtleties of leaving the house that a dog would. That said, it sounds like your little guy actually did extremely well (maybe he is a fan of Alby Mangles adventuring sidekick cat) (google him - he was big when I was a kid)

    SO J.V, Kudo's to you and your Mrs on what I believe to be an enormously monumental feat of bravery!


    Please keep up the great stories, my day at work is so much sweeter for them!

  5. Anonymous4:46 AM

    BDSM cat, wearing a leather harness, urinated on you while you were restrained in a padded vinyl sack.

    Damn, this is some good shit. Keep it up, k?

  6. I'm gonna laugh about BDSM kitty in his assless pants for the rest of the day.

    Thank you JV!!!!!

  7. My cat is so jealous of your cat. No, really...she would love nothing better than to get outside and go camping and pee on sleeping bags. She LOVES peeing on stuff.

    Additionally, you made me almost pee my pants from laughing so hard. Definitely worth the trip, me thinks. Thank you for taking your cat so you could share this story with us.

  8. For all of the eleventy-thousand things that could have gone wrong along the way - having a cat pee on you = nuthin'.

  9. I'm with Beck on this one...would've preferred the shit.

    The first day that my new adopted kitty was "home," one of the first things he did was to pee on my bed. He was very nearly unadopted that day. He hasn't done it since...so perhaps one iteration of territory marking was all it took. Here's hoping the same is true for you!

  10. Isn't that a sign that the cat loves you? Nothing says "I love you" like a puddle of pee.

  11. Anonymous8:12 PM

    With all the buckles and studs and black leather, all he needed was a little leather cap and a pair of assless pants and he could have walked into any leather boy club in LA without attracting attention.

    Jesus you're hot when to talk like that. Just imagine the piss-fetish movie possibilities!!!

  12. Anonymous8:23 PM

    You can tell a parent from a non parent by the level of stress apparent when pee'd upon. Obviously you're not a parent. I would have freaked too.

    Do you ever get out to lake george? My uncle does charter fishing there, you should go. If you gave him a cigar he'd probably take the cat too.

  13. Brilliant story, JV!
    Just the thought of taking my cat camping is frightening. You are one brave, brave man!

    'Next time'?! lol

  14. nicole, you never know. Stranger things have happened.

    Miriam, it's funny now. Not so much when it happened.

    Beck, you're right. Unless the solidity is a factor. Ew.

    Rae, when the hell did blogger recommend my blog? I can't believe I missed that. I always wanted to visit australia. I guess having a reader from there is the next best thing. Or at least something.

    Alan, I'll try, but no guarantees.

    KK & Arm, you're entirely welcome. Any tips for getting cat pee out of a sleeping bag?

    WCG and cruiser - gah. that is all.

    Alex, you are correct. And I do get to Lake George, it's 20 minutes from here. Who is your uncle?

    Nick! How's it hanging? I haven't seen you around lately. Good to know you're still out there messing with the robots.

  15. Anonymous5:23 PM

    His name is Mike Mollica, his website is http://members.aol.com/mcmcharter/

    I don't know what his rates are cause I get free boat rides of course, but I think they're on the site somewhere. :)

  16. I knew cats were evil - this story made my day.

    Glad everyone made it back safe and sound

  17. Anonymous11:51 PM

    JV, most pet stores have cleaners in the cat aisle that are, er, fortified with particular bacterial enzymes. There are many different brands, but as far as I know, one isn't particularly better than the others (we have a lot of friends with cats, and we've had six through the years -- many opportunities for trials).

    Also, there is a homemade cleaner recipe online ( http://www.agoosa.com/cat_urine_odor_removal/ ) that I've heard about but haven't used. Looks cheap, may be worth a shot.

  18. You are right, indoor cats have no idea that they can pee wherever they decide to drop their assless trou.

    I travelled with several over the years, camping and not. With annoying predictability, they will wait until you are 10 minutes down the road in the morning to take a stinky dump in the emergency litterbox behind the driver's seat.

  19. You are stinking hilarious. My cats freak out the second I think about taking them out of the house, I can't even imagine taking them camping.

    I laughed out loud at the cat using the area between your legs as a litterbox. In fact, someone just popped their head over the cubicle asking who was laughing.

    I'm expert at getting rid of cat pee smell if you need that advice.

  20. No clue if you're going to come back to get this info:

    Febreze the hell out of the stain. Then use spot remover (I don't remember what I used to use), then add a cup of white vinegar to the washing machine along with the regular soap.

    I had ZERO luck with the cat urine removers from the pet store.

  21. Hey JV, I just posted a cat story that far surpasses this one as far as outright grossness. Of course you are a much better story teller, but you should check it out anyways. We are all still in complete shock and cannot stop laughing about it.

  22. You have a writing gift.