The Great Dryer Vent Purge of 2023 sparked a rash of spring-cleaning projects at House Kirkland including a long-overdue refresh of vacuums, air purifiers, HVAC filters and floor ducts. After seeing the shameful state of our Dysons, the vacuum repair guy treated me like I kept them on a chain in the backyard, and the Best Buy delivery team had a legitimate claim for emotional counseling after removing and replacing our old washer/dryer. But the floor ducts? That was a special type of awful.
Apparently one of our guests, presumably a four-legged one, had used one of the first floor HVAC ducts as a more convenient litter box, and when we turned up the heat during the recent cold snap, the aroma of freshly baked cat urine filled the downstairs with yummy awesomeness. It wasn’t clear which of the ducts harbored the foul soup, so I pried the register off each one, vacuumed out the kibble, hair-ties and paper clips our furry guests had batted about until gravity spoiled the fun, cleaned the duct with Clorox, took a hearty whiff, and if it didn’t make me gag, moved to the next.
Finally, one of the ducts in the master bath proved the source of the trouble with a hardened puddle of deep golden pee glistening in the glare of my flashlight. Since the heat had been off and on for a couple of weeks, the puddle had crystalized, and it took a few whacks with the shop vac nozzle to break up the revolting brittle and extended scrubbing before I made an improvement in the air quality. I checked the final registers—nothing but dust—and as a final, preventative step, positioned a Whisker City Scratcher and Cradle (PetSmart) over each register to allow fine napping yet thwart restroom use.
We still don’t know the perpetrator, but the cradles seem to be working, and for now, we can heat the place without smelling like we’re making pee soup.
Mr. Han, Kirk, Dirty Harry, Serena, Siena, McFlurry, Uncle Creepy, Gigi, Bran and the Whisker City Scratcher and Cradles.