Dear Tabby: Help me say “this stinks!”

Dear Tabby,

I love cats. I have one myself, along with a dog and three fish. I also love my Aunt Betty and her two cats. We’re all very close and we spend a lot of time together. Whenever possible, I suggest we go out for coffee or I invite her to my home for dinner. It’s inevitable, though, that sometimes we wind up at her house. And it stinks. I’m pretty sure the problem is that she’s not scooping the litter box enough. She’s very proud and her place looks clean. How can I tell her it smells like cat waste?

Signed:

Politely Unable To Raise Indelicate Discussion

Dear Politely Unable To Raise Indelicate Discussion,

No one likes hearing that some aspect of herself or her world is flawed. But like spinach in our teeth or toilet paper creeping out the back of our pants, ultimately we want to know, right? And better it come from someone who loves you unconditionally than a stranger, co-worker, or your neighbor with the perfect lawn and scratching-board abs.

So, in your best casual hey!-just-noticed-this voice, let Betty know you’ve caught a whiff of something you can’t quite put your finger on (don’t add that you wouldn’t want to). “Whew — is that Boris’s work in the litter box? He must be keeping you busy with such powerful-smelling deposits…” If you sense she’s receptive, you could even mention your favorite anti-odor product.

If Aunt Betty is truly proud, P.U.T.R.I.D., my guess is she’ll take care of the situation right away — and keep on it to avoid this topic ever raising its noxious head again.