Eight years ago my husband picked up two little kittens from the Washington Humane Society. At the time my husband, (then boyfriend), lived alone in a small two bedroom apartment. The kittens were prone to scratching, but we bought them two large scratching posts and for the most part they kept their claws off the furniture.

A few months after their first birthday my husband and I bought our first house. We transported the kittens from the apartment to the house very carefully. We read that cats can become very confused and fearful when confronted with new surroundings, so for the first couple of days we kept them locked up in one of the bedrooms with all of their favorite toys, scratching posts and kitty beds. After a few days when they seemed eager to venture out we gave them free reign of the house.

For the first few months in the house I didn’t notice anything unusual. Then one day the smell of cat urine began to waft through the living room. Sure enough one of the cats was using the corner of our living room as his own personal toilet. I immediately drove to the store and bought the household cleaners that suck up cat urine. I sprayed the carpets and let it soak in. Every time the cat sprayed I cleaned up his mess. I read every site on the Internet and followed all of the instructions, but the cat continued to spray in that corner. A few months later I discovered that the previous owners had a cat that urinated in that same exact spot. As soon as I heard this news I pulled up the carpeting.

In retrospect I should have acted more swiftly and decisively. I should have pulled up the carpeting immediately. Up until that point the cat only urinated in the litter pan and the corner of the living room, but when that carpet was removed he began to urinate all over the basement. After a few weeks there he began to urinate in other parts of our living room as well.

Now I realize that this is utterly disgusting and I would not wish this curse on my worst enemy. There is nothing more foul then the stench of cat urine. A lot of friends and co-workers told us to put the cat back up for adoption, but for better or worse we could not get rid of him.

The carpet was the first thing we threw out of our house, but it would not be the last. He unleashed his wrath on the downstairs bar, two dressers, two lamps and three living room chairs. Everyday I was forced to throw something else out of the house. If something accidentally fell on the floor he’d urinate on it, so various towels, blankets, and shirts also went out to the garbage.

I spent a ton of money on gadgets and devices to stop the cat from urinating outside of the litter pan, but none of them worked. One afternoon as I was walking yet another item out to the garbage I had an idea. I couldn’t bear to take another perfectly good item out to the trash because of this cat. I decided to donate the majority of the stuff in our house before the cat could destroy it.

I went on a mission. I removed clutter from every single room in our house. I cleared the counters and donated or discarded just about everything from the floor. Our house was not particularly cluttered to begin with, but after the cat’s indiscretions the house became sparser than ever.

After removing the majority of stuff from our house the cat miraculously stopped his bad behaviors. (I figure he simply didn’t have anything left to mark.) Since that time I have kept the house as clutter free as possible. I refuse to purchase anything that won’t fit in the closets or dressers. If I have to create additional storage downstairs I know he’ll urinate on it.

At first I cleared the house because I had no other choice, but after awhile I realized that I didn’t miss any of the stuff I had removed. What was originally forced simplicity has now become entirely voluntary.