Who knew such a utilitarian tool could have such power?

By Leslie Yazel
amazon.com

When I got married a decade ago, two additional things happened as a result: I became a Dallas Cowboys Fan (I married a Texan), and I became the stepmother of my husband’s two cats.

Sadie and Roscoe were siblings, though that wasn’t always obvious. Sadie was a typical cat—pet me, don’t pet me; I’m-napping, I’m-running. Roscoe was more like a doggie, greeting us at the door after work and always happy to play fetch. Sadie loved cantaloupe and could eat the entire melon if left unmonitored. Roscoe loved chicken flavored toothpaste so much so that he looked forward to weekly cleanings. One passion they did share, however, was tipping over the kitchen garbage can to see what deliciousness might be inside.

We had a Dutch door, but that didn’t keep them out of the kitchen. I started taking the trash out each day on my way to work, but sometimes I forgot, and came home to a floor strewn with chicken bones and peach pits. I tried putting it on the deck when I left home, only to discover that raccoons and possums loved kitchen garbage even more than the cats did. My husband tried a variety of tactics, but they were either ineffective or turned throwing away trash into a hassle. I started to really wish we didn’t have cats.

This went on for weeks before I decided to hit The Container Store, where I found a floor display with a half-dozen kitchen cans, mostly stainless steel and nearly all over $100. Geez, $100? For garbage?

But then I saw the Butterfly, a stainless steel beauty with twin flaps that my husband immediately started calling “The DeLorean.” He still does, because we still own this can 11 years later. The Simple Human Butterfly is unlike regular cans where a foot pedal pops open the lid. Working together, our cats could open these—Roscoe would push on the foot lever and Sadie would jump inside the lid. (Evil geniuses!) The Butterfly is fully cat-proof. The lid is actually two metal pieces that lift up from the center. Sadie was smart enough to realize she could be stuck and trapped when the lids started to close. The foot pedal requires more force than a tabby’s front paws can muster, but was easy enough for most kids to handle.

So I foiled their garbage plans and perhaps saved my marriage in the process, since the arguments and tension of cats-and-trash ceased. The cats punished me, of course. Why does the bathtub smell like pee?, I wondered a couple days later. Luckily, Petco had a solution for that.

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