Enrichment and Elimination

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Kitty separation anxiety: so much less cute than it sounds. I’m working in the Nordstrom fragrance department over the holidays to study the DC perfume shopper, and my unpredictable retail schedule is freaking Zelda out. She cuddles now, you guys. Cuddles! The minute I walk through the door, she plants herself on my collarbone and demands ear scratches. She sleeps by my feet! And only bites them once or twice! Significantly less adorable is her newfound tendency to, as the cat separation anxiety websites euphemistically put it, “eliminate outside of the litter box”. When “eliminating” on the floor three times failed to stop me from leaving the house, the fuzzy little terrorist went for the duvet.

Dr. Google’s recommendations range from kitty prozac (what’s that saying about pets starting to resemble their owners?) to various methods of making Zelda’s environment more stimulating. So far I’ve brought in a cat tower, which she completely ignores, and downloaded some cat-enriching videos. (“Duck Rush Hour” is pretty much cat Game of Thrones.) Then I remembered a favorite Now Smell This post about zookeepers using Calvin Klein Obsession as “enrichment” to keep their tigers mentally stimulated. Inspired, I sprayed four of my most intriguing perfumes and attempted to enrich the elimination away. In the name of science, and an unshat duvet, I present my findings.

Chanel No. 5: Zero sniffing, and Zelda pulled back her head when I moved the paper closer to her. I have raised a deeply uncultured kitteh.
L’Artisan Dzing!: Faint interest. Some sniffing, and one paw at the piece of paper. Zelda has clearly never read the dozens of Dzing! reviews describing it as “animalic”.
CB I Hate Perfume Burning Leaves: Intense interest! A good fifteen seconds of sniffing, followed by multiple paws at the paper. My hypothesis: Burning Leaves has a salty, meaty aspect that appeals to carnivores.

Displaying the highest contempt for the scientific process, Zelda wandered off before I could test the last fragrance, Gorilla Perfumes The Smell of Weather Turning.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen of the commission. I’ll expect my research grant shortly.

Notes on method: I sprayed the fragrances on four identical pieces of paper to prevent Zelda from being influenced by packaging. This would have been a lot more impressive if I had remembered to include a control.