Too Much Information?
Behold the cat: Smart, agile, tidy, discerning, fastidious—all readily recognizable characteristics of the imperious feline. Having owned cats variously throughout my life, I can attest to all these traits, as well as their tenaciousness. All have, at one time or another, bent me to their will after besting me in a stare-down. One (a Siamese) learned to retrieve objects from a drawer and another (Siamese again) actually taught himself to use the toilet. Intelligence and talent wrapped up in one big hairball. Beneath the surface, however, is another, less obvious attribute, the ability to produce fluorescent urine.
I did an online search to substantiate what I read in one of my trivia books: that cat urine glows under a black light. Yahoo turned up 22,900 results! Who would have guessed that such an odious subject could generate a list on this scale? This research led me to more information than I expected, or even would have wanted, to know.
Give Me a P(ee)
It seems odor eliminator companies use black lights to detect cat urine stains in order to treat them. One company, BioFOG, Inc., manufactures the “Super Concentrated Odor Eliminator”, SCOE 10X (scoe10x.com) and sells a “professional grade blacklight our service division uses for large area urine residue inspection.” Cost: $36.95. They also sell a smaller, keychain LED black light for $9.95.
In my opinion just using your nose should be enough, and a lot cheaper, too. Anyone who’s ever cleaned a litter box knows the odor of cat urine can snap your head back. If someone ever faints in your house and you’re out of smelling salts, just pass the litter box by his nose and he’ll be revived in no time. Guaranteed.
For people like me, though, maybe investing in a black light would prove useful. I haven’t been able to smell any but the most pungent of things for years, no doubt the result of numerous horseback riding-, ice skating-, and wall-banging head thumps. (Whether I am predisposed genetically or am just carrying on a tradition, I’m not sure. My grandmother once fell off a ladder while painting the back stairway of her house, hit her head, and was never able to smell anything again.) Just the same, I’m really not interested enough to justify the expense of black lighting and inspecting my carpet that closely for pee stains.
But, back to my research. Another “odor control” company, Nature’s Secret Weapon™ (naturessecretweapon.com), sells black lights for $29.95; somewhat higher as part of an odor removal kit. This company goes on to explain that black lights are practical for other reasons: to detect counterfeit currency and identify antiques, for example. And as we all know, the CSI folks use them for identifying blood and semen stains. Oh, dear.
Also, Nature’s Secret Weapon™ asks, “Stay in Hotels?” According them, “The President of our parent company, Natural Brands, never leaves on a trip without one of our UV LED lights. Use it to inspect your hotel room one time and you’ll always bring one too!” Ew-w-w-w! If that means what I think it does, I just may sleep in the car.
A Little More Light on the Subject
Black lights, says the same ad, are good for scorpion hunting, too. I learned this while living in Arizona. Go out into the desert some night, I was told, and turn on a black light; you’ll see scorpions all over the place. I declined. These nasty creepy-crawlers freak me out in daylight; I certainly wasn’t going to risk rattlesnakes, tarantulas, and other freaky critters for a do-it-yourself horror show.
In, um, light of all this information I think I’ll leave the black lights to night club owners and crime scene investigators.
By the way: Should your cat get a little uppity because of his urinary “glow-in-the-dark” propensity, tell him that dogs are endowed with the same ability. Why should cats hog the spotlight?
©2012, The Wit’s End Scribbler