Endorsement: Anti-Icky-Poo

Fuzzy, my 1-year-old cat, resembles a dog more and more each day. Not a German Shepherd or Labrador, of course. But maybe a toy Bichon-Frize. He licks me when I arrive home from work; he learned to fetch at six months; and his intruder-alert bark is steadily improving (though it hasn’t yet graduated from a yip). Oh, and recently he’s begun peeing on the furniture. Or as the vet likes to put it, “having urinary malfunctions.” After a month of failed potty-training schemes and amonia scented air, we finally found a solution. It arrived via UPS, in the form of a gallon jug of engineered bacteria, marketed under the catchy brand name Anti-Icky-Poo.

I gather urine spraying isn’t completely unnatural for cats, though I still associate the behavior mostly with dogsprimarily my pee-happy Border Collie, Maxell, from college. After Fuzzy developed his problem, we made a concerted attempt to teach him that: a) peeing outside the litterbox will send you to kitty Hell; b) our leather couches cost a shitload of cash money; and c) in kitty Hell, it rains all day and leather couches eat your Iams food, to spite you.

But despite this reasoning, none of the lessons sank in. Every step we tookrubbing his nose in the pee, cleaning the mess with amonia-based agentsseemed to do more harm than good. Indeed, I later read on the web, these were exactly the wrong steps to take. Still, no matter what “approved” urine neutralizers we used, the smell wouldn’t come out and fuzzy just kept going back to the same corners. Covering the couches in heavy-duty construction-grade garbage bags just resulted in pools of urine on the plastic, instead of damp circles on the leather. The only remaining option, we concluded, was confinement in the bathroom. Yet this jailing just seemed cruel and, after ten minutes of Fuzzy’s howling, untenable.

So it was with great desperation that we ordered a gallon of Anti-Icky-Poo, at the suggestion of our vet. The stuff took about two weeks to ship from the manufacturer in California, MisterMax, but it was worth the wait. Here’s how it works: the A.I.P. solution has a bacteria that feeds off urine deposits, turning them into carbon dioxide. Because the dried salts from Fuzzy’s urine formed a kind of water-resistant barrier, we had to inject the solution into the leather and deep inside the cushions, as well as spraying it on the surface. Ana embezzled a few syringes out of the hospital to perform the complicated procedure. I’m happy to report that most of the urine smell went away immediately, after one dousing. One cushion took three triesprobably because it was Fuzzy’s go-to pee padbut eventually even its stinky gremlins left us.

I share all of these nausea-inducing details to illustrate how much of a bitch it can be to get rid of cat pee. Don’t make the mistake we did and underestimate the problem. Eliminate the smell immediately, experiment with some new types of litter (we also learned from the vet that Fuzzy had a substrate preference change, meaning that he now prefers clumpable litter to clay), and don’t leave your cat in the problem area unattended for too long.

Or you can always just tie a diaper to the creature and treat it like an Egyptian god. That’s always a good fail-safe plan.