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Cat doesn't know how to shit

Aoi TsukiAoi Tsuki Registered User regular
edited January 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
This is Kaien.
000apdha

Kaien is sweet, even-tempered, playful, affectionate, and so inept at using the litter box that it's wrecking our little household.

First, he perches on the side of the box (a big, high-walled one we got in an effort to keep his turds corralled) and will drop his dookey over the side, or piled high against the back of the box, where there's no litter to control the smell. Then he inspects it, turns away, makes scooping motions away from his butt-babies so that he tears the bag lining the box, and then walks away, satisfied in a job well done.

Sometimes we will then notice a foul odor coming from him, and I will have to pry soft turdage right out of him. This is about as much fun for both of us as you would expect.

We tried switching to Felidae, which is supposed to be higher-quality than the crappy, corn-first-ingredient Special Diet we were getting at the store, but it's been a week without improvement.

Every other night, we come home to find turds on the floor, OR uncovered ones in the box reeking up the place, or some combination thereof. My boyfriend is a strict housekeeper, and this is understandably taking its toll on his patience (and mine). Scooping every day only goes so far, especially when you have to play "where's the turd?" around the box (or in the bedroom). D:

We've had the cat two years; he was a stray, but his age is probably still fairly young, judging by his energy levels. The vet didn't know what might be up last time we got him a checkup for his puking habit (a few months ago). I'm afraid that if we get a covered box, it'll get so stinky so quickly that they'll refuse to use it. Any other ideas? An even newer, fancier food? Beatings? (Not beatings. The bf gets so annoyed that I have to prevent him from punishing the cat after the fact.)

tl;dr Cat won't shit properly, poop too soft--not helping, vet dun know why, ready to make tiny fluffy fur coat

Aoi Tsuki on

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    dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Try a different litter imo. One that he wants to dig in, ours like Tidy Cat. Don't get that crystal shit or anything, that stuff is sharp and I wouldn't want to dig a hole to shit in it either.

    dispatch.o on
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    Aoi TsukiAoi Tsuki Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    Try a different litter imo. One that he wants to dig in, ours like Tidy Cat. Don't get that crystal shit or anything, that stuff is sharp and I wouldn't want to dig a hole to shit in it either.

    It's not that he's not digging, he just doesn't dig properly and never has--he seems to think that so long as he's scratching something (such as the bag intended to keep all the goddamn litter inside when we change it), he's done his part. If it was our other cat, we could possibly train her to do something differently, but Kaien is really goddamned stupid. :?

    At this rate, I might as well try another litter. Maybe piling it all at the back of the box would cut down on a fraction of the smell.

    Aoi Tsuki on
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    oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    You could try teaching him to poop in the toilet.

    oldsak on
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    ServoServo Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2010
    there really shouldn't be any area of the litterbox that doesn't have some sand or whatever in it. i can't tell if that's actually the case from the way you worded it, but it sounds like it might be. cats like to dig.

    the soft poop thing does (in my non-professional opinion) sound like a diet issue. if you've been using specifically wet food, you might try switching to dry or vice versa?

    Servo on
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    Aoi TsukiAoi Tsuki Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    oldsak wrote: »
    You could try teaching him to poop in the toilet.

    He's timid around new things, and functionally retarded when it comes to retaining information. This would not end well.
    Servo wrote:
    there really shouldn't be any area of the litterbox that doesn't have some sand or whatever in it. i can't tell if that's actually the case from the way you worded it, but it sounds like it might be. cats like to dig.

    the soft poop thing does (in my non-professional opinion) sound like a diet issue. if you've been using specifically wet food, you might try switching to dry or vice versa?

    There's some litter at the back, and it might be a little shallow because of the way the other, normal cat covers her crap like a normal goddamn cat; the way his turds stack, though, and the way he doesn't ever actually bury them, I'm pretty sure more litter =/= less smell. Again, I'll experiment with new stuff.

    He only gets dry food. When his "sister" was getting some supplementary wet food for tummy troubles, he initially got a few mouthfuls of it as a treat, and when I woke up the next morning, I thought something had died in the litter box. It smelled like a race of little shit-critters were using the cat's rectum as a conduit through time and space to commit mass suicide. It was really, really unbearable, SO, no wet food for him.

    Aoi Tsuki on
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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Try one of those high walled Tupperware containers. He definitely can't perch on the side of that.

    Esh on
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    ElinElin Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    My cat doesn't really bury his shit either, he pretend digs on the carpet outside of his box. He's also a huge fucker and barely fits in his box. We just scoop frequently.

    Elin on
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    Aoi TsukiAoi Tsuki Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Esh wrote: »
    Try one of those high walled Tupperware containers. He definitely can't perch on the side of that.

    Cut a hole in the side for them to get through? That's actually tempting.

    Aoi Tsuki on
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    BobCescaBobCesca Is a girl Birmingham, UKRegistered User regular
    edited January 2010
    We tried those litter liner things when we first had our cats and they just scratched through them. So we stopped using them. Most of the problems we were having with the litter box stopped after that.

    Regular scooping and using the showerhead to wash out the box when emptying seem to work fine.

    BobCesca on
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    SelnerSelner Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    My cat doesn't really bury his shit either, he pretend digs on the carpet outside of his box. He's also a huge fucker and barely fits in his box. We just scoop frequently.

    One of my cats rarely digs in the litter box too. He does the pretend did thing outside the box, or sometimes on the wall next to the box. Then his brother will visit the box and actually bury the stuff. It's kind of funny actually.

    And you mentioned a 2nd cat. How many litter boxes do you have? From what I've read, standard guidance is to have one more box than cat. I'm more a fan of one box per cat, so in your case is sounds like you should have at least two boxes.
    I went for the longest time with a single box for my two, and adding a 2nd box has actually made a difference.

    What litter are you actually using? I use Feline Pine, and find it very nice for killing odors.

    As for the food, I recently switched to Wellness CORE dry and Wellness wet food. I leave a bit of the CORE out as continous feeding, and put a bit of wet food out in the mornings and evenings.
    The change in the litter box is amazing. It's not nearly as stinky, and it's solid.

    Selner on
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    Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    edited January 2010
    We have 2 cats and they don't really bury their crap, either. They do the same "going through the motions" scratching thing. We also had to quit using the liners because they would get scratched all to hell. We have a covered box and they have no problem with it. I change it about once a week.

    Sir Carcass on
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    EntriechEntriech ? ? ? ? ? Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2010
    The liners might be what's fucking him up. I know some cats don't deal with them well at all. I'm honestly not sure what the point of having one in there is, because your litter should be deep enough that the box is not getting filthed up just through regular use and burying. Also it sounds like you're cleaning it frequently, but just to stress the point, make sure that sucker's cleaned frequently. Nothing'll put a cat off more than attempting to bury one turd and getting a pawful of another one.

    Also switch your cats over to a good quality wet food. Wellness was mentioned above, and their grain-free wet food is all that I feed my cat. Better nutritionally, will keep them better hydrated, and will result in less of a persistent odor. Don't get me wrong, when my cat takes a dump it smells briefly, but that goes away within 10 to 20 minutes so long as he's covered it, which 99.9% of the time he has. And my guy even likes to perch on the sides too.

    Entriech on
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    RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    How about one of those domed litter boxes? It would probably prevent the perching on the side.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
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    ArminasArminas Student of Life SF, CARegistered User regular
    edited January 2010
    What're you feeding your cats? I found this post to be really helpful for cat food quality. When I adopted my cat, she was eating science diet so I kept her on that and her poop is pretty great. Well, you know, as great as cat poop goes. I use a (mostly) odorless Ever Clean cat litter that clumps up and is a little dusty.

    Also, how large is your litter box? Getting a large one for a cat to use is pretty nice for your feline. Like, one large enough that you could probably cram in 3 cats into the litter box. I say it like that only for size comparison since my cat has a huge amount of room to use in the litter box. Also, there's enough litter in there that it's about 2-4 inches deep depending on how recently I filled it and how she's pawed at the litter. The walls of said litter box are also pretty tall, but not thick enough for a cat to easily or balance at all on the edge of it. She pees on the inside wall and covers her messes regularly with no hitches. Although, on occasion, she is terrible at aiming and will pee outside the box on accident. (like this happened once in the last year)

    And as emphasized earlier, you should be cleaning the litter box regularly. I clean mine up everyday for one cat, or if I'm really lazy (or she hasn't used it much) I might skip a day. But since you have two cats, you'd probably have to scoop more often than I.

    Without a proper diet & litter and a clean pooping area, I wouldn't expect a cat to crap properly. I just don't really know what your conditions are like, but it seems like the container is a strange size/shape and that there isn't enough litter. The litter liners are kind of a waste as my cat tears hers up and I usually just add more litter until I notice the box is stained and then clean it up and replace all the litter.

    EDIT:
    I also remember the cat ladies at the shelter asking me about multiple cats as they recommended a litter box per cat. But well, I only have one. I have something really similar to this. But PetCo has a bunch of domed litter boxes if you prefer those.

    Arminas on
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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Aoi Tsuki wrote: »
    Esh wrote: »
    Try one of those high walled Tupperware containers. He definitely can't perch on the side of that.

    Cut a hole in the side for them to get through? That's actually tempting.

    Oh wait, you're just using the "standard litter box"? Christ. Get a domed box. There's most of your problems solved right there. I don't remember the last time I saw someone using one of those...

    Esh on
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    witch_iewitch_ie Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    When we first got our kitty, she had trouble going inside her litter box...she kept missing and was actually pretty embarassed about it. I went ahead and got her a different litter box - one of those ones that has a second piece that slants inward. This makes it so that she can't really sit on the side and use it and it also keeps the litter in a bit better.

    witch_ie on
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    Aoi TsukiAoi Tsuki Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    I actually ordered Felidae based on that cat-food thread. Might try the Wellness wet food, if Kaien's ass cooperates.

    There is indeed one standard, open litter box for both cats; in my defense, we've had two cats use one box for several years without problems. Now that there ARE problems, I'll try--two domed boxes? A dome and the regular one?

    My sister also recommends a covered box with Fresh Step litter.

    Thanks, guys. I have stuff to try! Kaien may live through the winter yet!

    Aoi Tsuki on
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    ServoServo Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2010
    there weren't any problems for years? what did you change recently?

    Servo on
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    Aoi TsukiAoi Tsuki Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Servo wrote: »
    there weren't any problems for years? what did you change recently?

    That's the weird thing--we've been in this apartment for over a year, had both cats longer than that, and nothing in their diet or environment has changed to a degree that could explain this. He had a fairly thorough internal checkup at the vet's, too, so I really have no idea why his crap has gotten so soft. The consistency is the main problem; I don't think he's shitting outside the box to express unhappiness or illness, so much as it's just dropping out at random intervals after he's tried to poop and walked off.

    Aoi Tsuki on
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    SkyCaptainSkyCaptain IndianaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Did the vet give the cat a full body xray?

    SkyCaptain on
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    Aoi TsukiAoi Tsuki Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    SkyCaptain wrote: »
    Did the vet give the cat a full body xray?

    Nope. It didn't seem to be warranted at the time (the pooping's gotten worse the past few weeks).

    Aoi Tsuki on
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    GihgehlsGihgehls Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    How about one of those domed litter boxes? It would probably prevent the perching on the side.

    We have one of these for two cats and it works great.

    Gihgehls on
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    LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Litter liners are crap for the reason you've already discovered . . . they tear when the cat tries to bury its stuff. Stop using them and just "refresh" the litter by adding new litter every once in a while, and occasionally tossing out all the litter and washing the litterbox.

    You didn't mention what brand of litter you used, but I go with Arm & Hammer (any variety except the unscented.) It's terrific at conquering odors. However, if the cat doesn't cover his poop, there will still be some smell. I wish I could offer some fix for that, but I don't know of any . . . I have had cats that, while sweet, are just not skilled at covering their poop (or who don't care about covering it.) It's just something you have to live with.

    On the food issue, it's only been a week, give it more time. I switched from Science Diet to Kirkland's and it was a HUGE improvement. One of my cats had the most noxious smelling poop you can imagine on SD.

    Regarding covered litterboxes--they are great IMO and not stinky if you have a good litter and continue to clean it daily. (Well, aside from the uncovered poop stink, but I don't think it would be much worse than uncovered.) My method for introducing my cats to the covered litter box was to have two litter boxes out, an uncovered one and a covered one. I cleaned them both daily, but only added fresh litter to the covered litter box. I don't know about your cat, but mine loooove fresh litter. Whenever I dump new stuff in there, it's a mad race to pee in the box. Anyway, this made the covered litterbox very popular with them . . . but leaving the uncovered box out meant that if they really did hate it, I wouldn't be cleaning poop off the floor.

    I noticed your cat is a long-haired beast . . . Could these escapee turds be snagging a ride on his butt-fur? My long-haired cat had similar issues, and then she would try to get them off by RUBBING HER BUTT ON THE CARPET. (Thanks, cat.) One way to minimize this is to trim the fur on his butt so they're less likely to get stuck.

    LadyM on
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    SkyCaptainSkyCaptain IndianaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Aoi Tsuki wrote: »
    SkyCaptain wrote: »
    Did the vet give the cat a full body xray?

    Nope. It didn't seem to be warranted at the time (the pooping's gotten worse the past few weeks).

    If you have the money, have an x-ray done.

    SkyCaptain on
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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited January 2010
    One LARGE covered is good enough for two cats. Do you have three? Buy two covered. Leaving one uncovered box means there's still a chance that the "problem cat" will use that one. They're not very expensive.

    Esh on
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    lifeincognitolifeincognito Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    My parents had two cats and one of them started to have issues with using the litter box. The vet said that you need more litter boxes than you have cats and suggested something like 4 or 5 boxes for 2 or 3 cats. Currently they have 2 cats and 3 litter boxes which seems to work out well for them.

    Perhaps you just need more litter boxes?

    lifeincognito on
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    SkyCaptainSkyCaptain IndianaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2010
    It sounds like something more serious than a litter box issue based on the consistency of the poo and it falling out after he's "done".

    SkyCaptain on
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    Aoi TsukiAoi Tsuki Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    SkyCaptain wrote: »
    It sounds like something more serious than a litter box issue based on the consistency of the poo and it falling out after he's "done".

    Yeah, I'm gonna try a combination of different litter in a big covered box, and seeing if this food or a higher-quality wet food will help a bit. If things don't improve in another, say, two or three weeks, time for more drastic vet measures.

    Aoi Tsuki on
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    SelnerSelner Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Get a domed box. There's most of your problems solved right there. I don't remember the last time I saw someone using one of those...

    I had a Booda Dome for a long time, but one of my cats had an issue with peeing on the side of the thing. The pee would then seep out where the top connected to the bottom. So I have taken the top off, and now everything is mostly just fine. One of the cats will sometimes pee in a way that he misses the box almost completely, but that's a rare thing.
    It's even better now that in the new house the box is in the basement and there's no carpet.

    I am also a big fan of box liners. You just need to find the thickest ones they make. If you get a cheap thin one, the cat will tear it. I had this one brand for awhile that never tore. But then PetSmart stopped carrying it :( . Now've I've got a thinner liner that the cats tear nearly every time.
    It sounds like something more serious than a litter box issue based on the consistency of the poo and it falling out after he's "done".

    Yeah, that's my thought too. He may be having a digestive issue of some sort.

    Selner on
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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Before you drop cash on an expensive litterbox, check out some of these lifehacker posts - maybe you'll see something you can use. They're mostly for litter-tracking problems, but it might help for your cat's miniature pot-roasts.

    http://lifehacker.com/5159336/diy-under+sink-cat-litter-box
    http://lifehacker.com/5433450/repurpose-a-storage-bin-as-a-mess+free-litter-box
    http://lifehacker.com/5428459/disguise-your-cats-litter-box-in-furniture

    Delzhand on
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    stigweardstigweard Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    One of the biggest reason a cat goes on the edge, or outside the box is the box is too small. Cats don't like to step in their own feces anymore than anyone else.

    stigweard on
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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Delzhand wrote: »
    Before you drop cash on an expensive litterbox, check out some of these lifehacker posts - maybe you'll see something you can use. They're mostly for litter-tracking problems, but it might help for your cat's miniature pot-roasts.

    http://lifehacker.com/5159336/diy-under+sink-cat-litter-box
    http://lifehacker.com/5433450/repurpose-a-storage-bin-as-a-mess+free-litter-box
    http://lifehacker.com/5428459/disguise-your-cats-litter-box-in-furniture

    Covered boxes aren't "expensive".

    Esh on
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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    I didn't do a ton of research - I thought I remembered hearing that a Booda dome was $40 bucks or so, and I though that was pretty high for something you can make yourself.

    Then again, I also enjoy making things.

    Delzhand on
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    oncelingonceling Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Tons of great advice in this thread already but here's a few things I didn't see anyone else cover yet:

    1. Felidae is good, but it may just not suit your cat. I really wanted to feed my cats Evo, but my darn sensitive stomached Molly-cat can't handle high-protein (?! she's a CAT!) so I have to mix it with something crappier.

    2. However, give any new food at LEAST 3 weeks before you assume it's not working, check the consistency after 3 weeks and if its still too soft then its time to try something else for your guy. Orijen is great, even stupid Molly is doing awesome and her fur is lovely and soft on it. Wellness is good too, bit smelly in this household though.

    3. There might be a vet problem, try to pay attention to whether the cat is straining, or having any pee problems. Don't be afraid to insist the vet is more thorough or get a second opinion in such a young animal they should not be dismissive. The vet should be able to give you a rough age, too (??).

    4. A new, hugeass box will probably help as others have said. Don't be afraid to go covered, I was at first but with a good odor cleaner rinse once/week its a godsend.

    5. Cats that don't cover their leavings may either not enjoy the feeling of the litter brand you are using (what are you using? corn brands like World's Best are fun to dig in and not too dusty). OR your cat is asserting dominant behavior. Many cats in a household consider themselves underneath their owners and bury their poop but its possibly a sign of dominance (not very likely the primary issue given the other things you've mentioned though).

    6. There is a brand of litter that is scented to attract cats, Cat Attract. I hear its pricey but you could always just add one scoop to another brand on top to get the cat more interested?

    onceling on
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    Aoi TsukiAoi Tsuki Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    onceling wrote: »
    OR your cat is asserting dominant behavior.

    ...

    I have Kaien, another girl cat named Mayu, and three guinea pigs. Put any combination of any of these five animals near each other, and within moments, whatever else happens, I promise Kaien will get harassed/nudged/sniffed/chased in such a way as to upset him into running off. Then he'll forget about it and go over to headbutt the side of the tub (he wubs it, because the bathroom rug is a great spot for naps).

    He went just now, and I didn't see any particular straining or other effort. He did tear up the liner, though. *facepalm*

    Aoi Tsuki on
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    SelnerSelner Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    2. However, give any new food at LEAST 3 weeks before you assume it's not working, check the consistency after 3 weeks and if its still too soft then its time to try something else for your guy.

    Yeah, any time you change the food you can expect the poo to go soft and icky while the cat adjusts. So it could be a couple of weeks before things get back to normal.

    And you said you were feeding him Felidae? The normal stuff, or the grain-free stuff?
    I've read that it's possible for cats to have an allergy to wheat and other grains. I don't know if it's something that can spontaneously occur in a cat that had no problems previously though.

    The Wellness stuff I currently use is grain-free and my cats eat it just fine. No idea if they had a gluten issue before.
    From what I've read since cats are carnivores they really shouldn't be eating grains anyway. Corn, wheat and rice are all filler in cat food (at least that's what I've read).

    If you don't mind the Something Awful forums, the Pet Island sub-forum there can be educational. They have a pet nutrition Metathread.
    http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3169030

    Selner on
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