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23 – Everyone hates the bathroom but the cat

RV bathrooms should come with a warning: “May cause daily review of life choices.”

The RV bathroom is basically a plastic box with a door and a miniscule, hand-cranked vent window in the ceiling, so it’s generally 100 degrees in there if it’s hot outside and somewhere below freezing if it’s not. And of course, unless you have a deluxe mansion on wheels version of the RV family, it is very, very (exceedingly) small. Ours is not a mansion. My elbows have never been so bruised. And though I’m sure it has everything to do with the fact that we’re traveling with two cats – one of whom pees in inappropriate places every time the engine starts – I can’t stop thinking that our handy traveling bathroom is basically a human-size litter box.

Trying to navigate this plastic box feels a little like waking up to discover you’ve accidentally joined a circus act. The “usable area” of the toilet is tiny but set on a boxy pedestal like a throne so you have to climb it to use it. The entire time you’re showering, you’re in danger of getting wrapped up in the shower curtain, tripping over the little ledge meant to keep your shower from flooding the entire RV, and smashing headfirst into the toilet throne. Frankly, if you aimed the shower head just right, you could probably shower while sitting on the toilet and cut your time for potential injury in half. There also aren’t really any places to put things, though that’s probably for the best given that anything in the bathroom immediately becomes one more potential tripping, stumbling, smashing, spilling, bruising or breaking hazard. Thankfully, the fact that the toilet is 12 feet up in the air and the usable area of it is tiny does mean that your odds of actually falling into it are vastly reduced.

Any attempt to get undressed, shower, dry off and get redressed in our particular RV bathroom requires the skills of a contortionist. It is such an ordeal that it was almost a relief when the water heater stopped working, which through some travel-warped law of physics meant the shower water magically refrigerated to icy needles of hypothermia-inducing slush, so we decided to just stop using the shower for its intended purpose entirely.

That was when I discovered why mom had been so insistent that we pack plenty of “shower cloth” cleansing towels, which are basically oversize baby wipes. Her years of RV experience have taught her to be prepared for water heater mishaps. Of course, we quickly came to realize what should have been obvious, which is that using “shower cloth” cleansing towels requires just as much space as showering – though you do get to skip the searching for the soap and drying off steps, which saves at least one head banging into the wall and a couple of elbow smacks every day.

The cats, not surprisingly, find all of this very amusing. After all, they’re natural gymnasts. They like to sprawl in the middle of the shower, which now houses their litter box (don’t even ask), thumb their noses at us and demonstrate just how easy it is for them to clean thoroughly and even luxuriously in confined spaces. If a human happens to trip over something while they’re at it, so much the better.

This is because cats have a perverse sense of humor. They like to play practical jokes and snicker at the mild discomfort of others. I suspect the reason some people don’t care for them, aside from their tendency to be standoffish, the ever-present threat of suddenly slashing claws and the unsettling way they look at you as though know what you’re thinking and are considering the possibility of blackmail, is that they’re too much like us.

Much like a human, Skeeter the cat has a tendency to act out when annoyed. And she’s been pretty annoyed by this trip so far. Between my unreasonable refusal to let her travel on the dashboard while I’m driving, our repeated blocking of her every attempt to sneak out and chase the birds she sees through the screen door, our insistence upon finding places to hide the spider plant so that she can’t eat it, and all the fuss over Lizzie the cat’s fright-peeing every time the RV engine starts, Skeeter is not feeling properly indulged. And no one can express utter disdain better than a peevish cat.

One of the ways Skeeter has chosen to express her disdain for me and my refusal to cater to her every whim is by following me into the bathroom at “shower” time, sprawling in the middle of the floor in a fashion designed to take up at least half of the available space, shooting a hind leg straight up into the air to give herself a sumptuously comprehensive bath, and snickering as I hop around trying to avoid falling into the toilet while adding another layer of bathing bruises to my elbows. I’m pretty sure she’s giving me the finger.

Needless to say, this has not made me feel any better about the damn bathroom. Skeeter, however, is thoroughly enjoying it. After all, I’m in her litter box.

Laughing cat

1 Comment

  1. Kerry williamson

    Funniest one yet, Amber! I thought the photo was of your actual RV toilet, until I saw the scoop. I laughed out loud at “May cause daily review of life choices.” And the visual of you contorting yourself in the cramped space is comedy gold!


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