Today on my lunch break, I noticed that my cat Trillian was being fairly active, so I looked to make sure her favorite toy, the Turbo Scratcher, was out where she could play with it. Trillian is a senior cat and has recently started taking pain medication for her arthritis, so I want her to be able to have some fun whenever she can.
The Turbo Scratcher was missing the ball that goes in the track, no doubt pried out at some juncture by Moose, our young chaos demon of a cat. It takes force to get the ball loose, but he's strong and determined.
Naturally, I started looking under various pieces of furniture to find the ball. I felt reasonably confident that I would find it pretty quickly because, really, where could it go? I was so young and naive then.
First I moved the sofa, which I apparently hadn't done in a while. I found a LOT of cat toys, including what was once a catnip-stuffed canvas banana but had become nothing but an empty peel. There were some dog toys under there, too, but no spinny ball.
I got out the dust mop because once I was aware of the sheer volume of cat hair under there, I couldn't just slide the couch back and pretend ignorance.
One of the "toys" under the sofa was a round lip balm that the cats had long ago stolen to bat around. I put it into the track of the toy, but Trillian gave it a couple of halfhearted bats and made it clear that it was not an acceptable alternative to the correct ball.
Next, I moved on to the rattan cabinet that sits by the window and is a popular cat perch. It partially covers the HVAC return for the living room and there were enough cat hair tufts festooning the grate that I put the dust mop aside and went to get the ShopVac. Down below the grate I found three neon-tinted toy mice that looked as though they'd fallen in more or less immediately after the cats received them. I vacuumed the grate, the duct and the back of the cabinet thoroughly and made sure to hold the mice firmly and get the dust bunnies off of them as well.
The clock was ticking, but I really wanted to get Trillian set up with her toy while she was in the mood for it, so I applied the dust mop beneath both beds to see what I could retrieve. I discovered that Dottie had torn up an entire paper towel under my bed, but my efforts only shook loose a couple of toys.
After work, I resumed my quest and went to retrieve the toy stash that gathers beneath the built-in towel cabinet in the bathroom. For some reason, it was designed to be open underneath, even though it's several feet deep and there's no way to see or reach under there. I put a sock over the nozzle of the ShopVac to get the small, light items out first and then removed it to suction onto anything larger. The good news is that I found a bunch of cat toys. The bad news is that the ball was not among them.
My floors were mostly swept, so that was good. But I was running out of places to look for the ball and I knew deep in my heart that if I ordered a replacement one, the original would turn up immediately.
Then I remembered that I hadn't moved my living room chair. As soon as I slid it just a little, I spotted something blue and round caught in the power strip behind the chair. EUREKA! It was the ball I'd been searching for all afternoon.
I put it back in the Turbo Scratcher and gave it a good spin, but Trillian had long since gone off somewhere to take a nap. But it's ready for her next play session as long as Moose doesn't step in again.