House Panthers, Volume 1.

As a cat “owner” (I use the term loosely), I’ve got some advice for anyone whose cat is currently experiencing a bout with, er, constipation. The simplicity of this technique will surprise you, but I promise it is foolproof.

The next time your Little Lord Fancypants or Mrs. Tiggywinkle is facing an intestinal logjam, just place the litter box right next to the tub and draw yourself a luxurious bubble bath, preferably with the most expensive beauty products, maybe a few candles and soft music playing in the background. Toss rose petals in the water. Spare no expense. Step into your oasis and slowly sink back for a steamy, decadent soak…

Within seconds, your house panther will rush in and poop his brains out.

I wish I’d known this trick when my first post-college cat, William, became seriously backed up. I was pretty worried about him because he’d stopped eating. Meanwhile, I was about to leave town on a much-needed vacation. Boarding him made more sense than leaving him with friends. I took him to the vet, fearing the worst. William stayed at the vet the entire week I was away.

When I returned from my vacation—worried about William the whole time, just super fun—I went straight to the vet’s office. My heart was in my throat as I entered the waiting room and told the receptionist who I was picking up.

“You’re William’s mother? He’s a really nice cat.”

Well, yes, of course, William was an astounding cat. He was the sort of cat that people inquired about years after they met him, in the same way they’d ask how your parents were doing, or your kid who is away at college. There’d be a slight gasp and then “Oh! And how is William?”

I needed to know, was William going to be alright? Did they figure out what was wrong?

“Well… Doctor Sullivan had to… uh… give him five enemas. But he’s fine now! Like I said, he’s a really nice cat.”

Five enemas.

There are some things better left to the professionals, and I believe “cat enema” is in the top ten of things you should not ever attempt, right up there with taunting an angry bear or giving a wolverine a mani-pedi. None of those things are worth the trip to the emergency room. Hence, I keep the litter box next to the tub.