Thursday, May 04, 2006


We have a weird cat. Which statement, I know, is a redundancy. If you have a cat, it is weird. Cats are weird. The weirdness of our cat, well, one of his weirdnesses, focusses on the bathroom. Ever since we moved to this house, two years ago, the cat is completely fixated on the sink in the bathroom. Whenever anyone heads to the bathroom, the cat races ahead and leaps into the sink. What you're to do, see, is turn the water on a trickle so he can drink from the stream. Front paws in the sink, rear paws on the rim, head under the tap so that the trickle runs over his head, he laps the water from the rim of the drain. It does not matter how many times a day he does this, he is always ready to do it again. If the tap is still trickling from the last time he drank, he'll still do this. (Because, though beautiful, he's brainless. He's a cat.) He did not do this in our last home. His water bowl, washed and refilled daily, was perfectly sufficient. That, or puddles outside. Because he's fastidious that way. This quirk has not been a huge problem. I do get tired of peeing with a cat's butt in my face, but I can - and do! - just shut him out. This quirk has not been a huge problem, that is, until about six or seven weeks ago. Darcy, after a year of happy and uneventful toilet usage, is suddenly having pee accidents all over the place. Once a day, sometimes twice. I don't understand. He says he has to pee, he heads up to the toilet. He's going just as often as ever. Does he have a bladder infection, perhaps? Nothing so dire. Darcy has suddenly decided he's afraid of the cat. Has the cat ever bitten or scratched him? He says not. But now, whenever the cat precedes him to the bathroom, poor Darcy stands, frozen in undecided anxiety in the hallway. Eventually he would give up, intending, I suppose, to try again later. Did he TELL me about this? Noooo... This is one of the downsides to his quiet, unassuming sweetness. Poor baby. But it's a problem for me, because I can't be leaving the other children downstairs alone to trot up the stairs with Darcy as often as he'll want to pee. The real problem is baby Nigel. I take him with me when I go, but I don't want to have to lug him up the stairs umpteen times a day each and every time Darcy has to go as well. And I can't keep the damned cat out of the bathroom. He's fast, and he's obsessed. What to do? I mull it over for a day or two, then have an inspiration. George has no trouble going to the toilet! George isn't afraid of the cat! Let George go with him! They are the same age, they have roughly the same bladder capacity. George can be big, brave, and capable, and Darcy can learn that there's nothing to fear. I'm so brilliant. "I have to pee, George," Darcy will announce, and the two little boys tromp up the stairs together for a communal pee. Or George will declare "I'm going up to have a pee. You want to come, Darcy?" It's kind of sweet, really, all this toddler solidarity. For a month, this works like a charm. No accidents, and Darcy will surely regain his former fearlessness from George's good example. Brilliant, I tell you! This week, George started having pee accidents. Guess why? That toddler solidarity drew in the wrong kid! Now George is afraid of the cat.


Blogger kittenpie said...

My in-laws' cat does the same thing. Mine likes to sit on the ledge beside my toilet so he can get some pats while I'm not moving.

That was a great solution... sorry it totally backfired! You just have the one bathroom, right? Any way you can put the cat in another room when the boys announce they are headed to the bathroom?

5/04/2006 02:01:00 p.m.  
Anonymous MJH said...

Have you thought to arm the boys with squirt guns or spray bottles? I only have one boy, and it works great with the dogs. Somehow I think you might end up with a huge mess though! I once had a cat that would join you in the tub if you didn't latch the door. He loved a bubble bath!

5/04/2006 02:42:00 p.m.  
Blogger jw said...

I'd say it is time to dussuade the cat. Maybe put mustard into the sink. If that doesn't work maybe move up to cayenne pepper (of course, that might be too dangerous for the children).

Yes, as mjh said, squirt guns are usually quite effective against cat intruders!

5/04/2006 02:52:00 p.m.  
Blogger Andi said...

I have not laughed that hard in longer than I care to remember. The squirt gun (or spray bottle depending on how you feel about toy guns) method sounds like a good solution. Or you could try to disuade the cat from that behavior by placing double stick tape on the rim of the sink where he usually stands. You might also introduce, at the same time, a watering fountain so that the water dish cascades and the sink is no longer so attractive.

5/04/2006 03:09:00 p.m.  
Blogger Angela said...

I like the spray bottle solution - perhaps you can leave one next the sink, that the boys have permission to use only a couple times to shoo the cat? Or else, you're going to have to send George, Darcy and Arthur to the bathroom at the same time which may cause more problems!

5/04/2006 03:40:00 p.m.  
Blogger AverageMom said...

Oh, the poor boys! I've seen cats do this's actually fairly common for some breeds. The spray bottle works really good for my cat. It keeps her from getting into a lot a trouble. The sticky tape, she just steps around. Tabasco sauce keeps her away from the Christmas tree.

5/04/2006 04:50:00 p.m.  
Blogger Peter said...

Smart boys, cats scare me too.

5/04/2006 06:49:00 p.m.  
Blogger Kristen said...

OH no!! But it's so funny...

5/04/2006 11:30:00 p.m.  
Anonymous BeckaJo said...

Huh. Um, maybe you could send a third party? Someone to stand guard at the door?

I love the idea, and find the consequnces hilarious.

5/05/2006 12:08:00 a.m.  
Blogger Granny said...

I spend half my life moving cats from one place to another.

We had one who was a pervert. He'd follow all of us into the bathroom and sit and stare. He is now over at my son's - still a pervert.

Spunk likes the sink - she even takes naps there occasionally but my girls have always loved all our cats so it's never been an issue. Their thing is spiders, even the harmless ones.

5/05/2006 12:57:00 a.m.  
Blogger Queen Bee said...

Maybe it's time Darcy says what it is so scary about the cat that is preventing him from going near ;P George may be able to second that.

5/05/2006 02:34:00 a.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Kittenpie: I could scoop the cat and move him if I ever had any idea where he was. He tends to stay well out of the tots' way, so I rarely see him during the daytime - except when he appears out of nowhere to race into the bathroom!

MJH: Hello! Thanks for dropping by. I like the idea of squirt guns... Yes, it could get messy, but it's only water. Water at the top of the stairs isn't good, though. Hmmm... I'll have to think on that.

(Personally, I'm wondering if it's time for the boys to get over this.)

I once knew a cat who would creep into the shower with you, put his front paws against your leg so as to stand on his back paws with his face in the spray. Now I've heard of two non-water-phobic cats!

JW: Mustard would stain, wouldn't it? If it were down at the bottom, cayenne wouldn't affect the toddlers: their short arms can't reach that far in!

Andi: There is a firm "no gun" rule at Mary's house. Squirt guns, though I don't have any, don't bother me. Why? Well, I've noted that when kids play with squirt guns, they're never trying to "kill" anyone, only get them wet! It's been a long time since I've seen a squirt gun, a little, one-hand job, I mean. Can you find anything but SuperSoakers these days?

I've seen cascading cat dishes in a mail-order catalogue years ago. I wonder if he'd choose one of those over the bathroom? I'd hunt one up if I thought it would work: it would be worth the money to spare me the aggravation.

Angela: Oh, no. Arthur does not get to go, too. That would cause far more problems than it would solve! The mind boggles...

I think I could teach George and Darcy to keep it to two or three squirts, just so long as there was only one squirt gun. (Give two little boys a squirt gun apiece inside the house, and you're just asking for trouble!)

AverageMom: You know, after all this chat back and forth about this, I'm beginning to feel sorry for the cat! Yes, he's weird, but he's doing no harm, just getting a drink. Is it time to give the boys a stern look and tell them to "Suck it up"?

Peter: Suck it up, Peter. ;-)

Sorry, after my comment to AverageMom above you, I couldn't resist. But why are they suddenly afraid? WHY, why, why?

Kristen: I've quizzed them on this. Has the cat ever bitten or scratched you? Has he ever done anything scary? Has he ever made a funny noise? Anything at all? No, no, no and no. Urgh.

Beckajo: No, no threesomes in the bathroom. It would get noisy and disorganized. They'd spill the shampoo and pee in the tub and wake the baby and someone would fall down the stairs on the way back, I know it.

I had the same reaction to the story, though for me the hilarity has a desperate edge!

Granny: Cats are decorative, they are nice lap-companions of an evening, and if they purr (which Patches does, but inaudibly), they're comforting.

They can also be a damned nuisance! At the moment, he's solidly in the nuisance category, though part of me is aware that the nuisance factor of this behaviour is being grossly exaggerated by the sudden and thus far inexplicable fear the boys have developed. Kids and cats! What a combination!

QueenBee: Nope, if they know, they're not telling. With Darcy, I'm now wondering if he's had a bad experience with a different cat, somewhere else, and it's transferring here. I'll have to ask his parents. With George, well, it's clear that the learning I'd hoped would occur simply went the wrong way, and he's absorbed Darcy's fear with no reason whatsoever. *sigh*

5/05/2006 07:59:00 a.m.  
Blogger kittenpie said...

Mary, I think you can still get the little squirt models in the dollar stores. But, I jsut remembered - my in-laws crazy cat has been weaned off the sink by putting a little cup for her to drink from in the bathtub, and they refill it a couple of times a day. Maybe she can have a little cup in some inocuous corner of the house near but not right beside the bathroom? They never turn on the tap for her anymore, so she stopped bothering with the sink.

5/05/2006 09:20:00 a.m.  
Anonymous Lisa said...

I have a cat that follows me to the bathroom every time I go and he eats at that time. (This is where we keep the food dish.) Now that I am 6 months pregnant and I go to the bathroom a lot more, the cat is getting as big as me!

5/05/2006 12:54:00 p.m.  
Blogger CINDY said...

Mary borrowed a pic of MY CAT. Oh - no she didn't, that's hers.
BUT my fixed boy cat loves the faucet water too!!! He also RUNS ahead of us when he thinkgs we are going toward the bathroom sink, or he will cry/call for me to come turn the faucet on for him. He drinks the running water, not the pooled water.

Sorry to hear about Darcy and George, truely!

5/05/2006 10:05:00 p.m.  
Blogger CINDY said...

Mary, see MY cat on MY BLOG post of May 8th. to see the similarity in our black cats. Have a good day!

5/09/2006 08:57:00 a.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

It's true! Cindy's cat does the exact same thing. You can find him here.

5/09/2006 09:32:00 p.m.  

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