By Kelly Doles

On a typical workday, I have four to five residential jobs scheduled. So, time can be very tight, and often the first job of the day sets the tone for the rest to follow.

My first job on this particular day was a good client, someone who recommends my company to all her clients and trusts me to let myself in, clean, and lock up and leaves a blank check on the table. Now that’s a good customer! This time, however, things didn’t go so smoothly.

I let myself into the house and saw the check and a note, just like always. This time, though, I had more to clean, and the room where her beloved cat, Dr. Pepper, normally was locked in while I cleaned was open.

Being the animal lover I am, I immediately made nice with this guy. We had briefly met before, and I felt we had come to an understanding: I wouldn’t be long, and he would again rule the house. Not this time!

I ran my hoses into the house and promptly wedged the door. After all, Dr. Pepper was no outdoor survivalist. I began to clean in a back room.

When I came out to grab something else I needed, I saw the cat looking out the slightly cracked door with huge eyes, so being at the top of the food chain, and thus far superior in intelligence, I found obstacles to put in front of the door to keep it from opening that no typical house cat could navigate past.

This guy should not have been named Dr. Pepper. Houdini perhaps.

When I came back out a second time, my heart sank. Obstacles moved, door opened, cat gone! I immediately ran outside. Shut down my machine and began the search. No problem. He wasn’t far. He had gone off the deck and was right near the house. I decided I would simply walk over, use a little charm, and pick him up. Yeah, right.

The loving cat from inside the house was suddenly scared and mean. I came close, and he hissed. I reached, and he hissed and pawed at me. Now, I wasn’t about to be embarrassed by a 12-pound fur ball. I didn’t want to hurt him or, frankly, be hurt myself. After several minutes of coaxing, talking in a stupid voice, and even trying some dog treats that I carry in the van, I saw my solution coiled up on the side of the house: A hooked-up and ready-to-go garden hose/ cat motivator.

I got into position. Aimed and let fly. Unbelievably, it worked! Dr. Pepper took off up the deck and into the house. I ran in behind him and found he had gone into a bathroom. I closed the door. Finished the job, let out the cat, and we made up.

After several minutes of panic and thinking of how I was going to explain this if I didn’t find the cat, I had calmed down and began to laugh. I lost about a half hour of time, meaning it was going to be bologna for lunch now, but lesson learned. Never underestimate what animals can do, and always ask in advance about client pets if you know the homeowner won’t be home.


Kelly Doles is the owner and operator of Ultimate Carpet Care in Chillicothe, OH.

Stuff I HATE!” is a public venue that allows you to get some therapy through venting, laugh a little, and at the same time, share and learn something. Send in what bothers you the most about cleaning and restoration jobs, along with what you feel is a solution to the issue. Photographs about the issue(s) are always appreciated. Send your submissions to Amanda Hosey, managing editor of Cleanfax, at amandah@issa.com.