It's Hip Tip Tuesday. I learned this next one the hard way. Recently, I fell for the hype of the Tidy Cats LightWeight Litter. It is indeed light enough to juggle, but I don't need it for a circus act, I need it to keep my boat from smelling like ass, After only one day, it needed to be changed. I dumped it in a bag and headed to the trash to get rid of it. In the meantime, the meanest cat in town, Oscar Brown decided he couldn't wait to take a piss. I know he did it out of spite.
I grabbed a gallon of Clorox to clean it. The minute I poured, the litter box made a hissing noise and began to bubble and spew. Noxious fumes rose from the angry chemicals.
The realization struck me--cat urine is essentially ammonia. Bleach and ammonia are about as compatible as Anne Coulter and Michael Moore. The two together form ammonium chlorine, which was used as chemical warfare during World War I. Mother of God, I'd made Mustard Gas!
My skin started to itch. My eyes burned. I couldn't breathe. I felt dizzy and nauseated. Hell, no, I was not about to go down like that.
Holding my breath, I ran outside and looked for a place to toss the box. I couldn't dispose of the toxins in the lake. My turtles were in there. I opted to just run up the abandoned dock and leave it as far from the boat as possible. I took several deep, deep breaths to clean my lungs. Then I went straight back and Googled, "Bleach and Ammonia, help." I felt a little relieved to find hundreds of search results. If people had perished from the poison they couldn't be commenting on About.com. I found a link as to what to do if you'd been exposed.
I’d already disposed of the chemicals and made certain to breathe fresh air. I was typing, which meant I wasn’t unconscious. That was a good sign. As instructed, I opened all the windows and washed the affected areas. I read on and found out that though death is rare, exposure can cause long term respiratory problems and massive cellular damage. As if my lifestyle hadn't already caused enough cellular damage.
It’s been two weeks since the incident and I’m breathing easy. But, cleaning a cat box with bleach is a mistake I will never make again.
Groovy image is from Cheezburger.com.
the bourbonistA, Promoting Debauchery and stamping out political-correctness one blog at a time.