Thursday, April 21, 2016

Little Houses on the Prairie

I don’t study my cats the way Renn studies his world, but I do notice things about them. It occurred to me that the beasts’ washroom habits are as individual as everything else about them.


Understand that I don’t make it a habit to spy on the cats as they use the litter-boxes. But circumstances, and the beasts' characteristics, make certain discoveries unavoidable. Josie, for instance, is very matter-of-fact about visiting the ‘little houses’, very business-like when it comes to her business. She will go whenever she needs to, regardless of events. I have been scoping a litter-box when my Chubs has come in and has stepped into the neighbouring box. I’ve been scooping a litter-box when she has stepped into the one I was scooping. Just recently, I watched her enter the store-room where the boxes are kept, look from one receptacle to the other - probably smelling more than looking - and then choose one. She probably has the same attitude humans have when entering a public lavatory and deciding upon which stall the maintenance staff have kept cleaner. I hope she rates my work highly.


Renn appears largely indifferent to situations when it comes to visiting the litter-boxes. I rarely see him go in, and when I do, he is out again soon after. His bodily functions do not seem to require much time; when he eats, it is quickly over. The amount that my big boy consumes is small, especially for an animal of his size. Perhaps that’s why, as a consequence, his visits to the loo are equally brief.


Cammie has a strange habit. I initially noticed it when I heard her scratching at the plastic of the litter-box and thought that it did not sound as though she were scratching through litter, trying to cover or dig. I had occasion to watch her repeat the action later, and saw that she was scratching, not the bottom of the box, but the sides, high up and no where near the litter. Her claws were obviously not far out, so she was not attempting to make marks in the walls. It was as if she were perpetuating a residual memory of bringing down dirt from the sides of a hole.


And Tucker. The roly poly one makes me laugh with his method. I have sometimes caught him when I enter the store-room to clean the boxes and find him using one. I of course back out and give him privacy; aside from simply being polite, causing any creature to stop such a procedure in its midst cannot be good. But what I see is just his big melon head and his shoulders sticking out; the rest is lost in the shadow of the hooded box. The expression on his face is one of mortification at having been caught in such an embarrassing position. It’s the same look he wears much of the time, but in this context, it is very amusing - to me, if not to him. I feel bad for the little fellow, since I would feel the same way in a similar situation.


I confess that I have clean pets, even for cats. If I must wash a bum now and then, it isn’t for lack of its owner trying to keep hygienic. The beasts have had no issue with litter-boxes equipped with hoods - no small concession to a reduced cleaning time on my part, particularly in a small apartment - and if they dislike the arrangement of the boxes in the store-room, they haven’t complained through the results. It may be that I have fortuitously managed things in a way acceptable to both man and cats. I have, perhaps, stumbled on to the essential feng shui of cat litter-boxes…

14 comments:

  1. we switched over to high sided storage containers since Tim liked to pee standing up. sigh.... mom thinks it is funnier watching kittens when they first learn to use boxes - they get this far off look on their faces :)

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    1. A couple of my foster-cats liked to stand up to do that, but both made it in the box, thank goodness. Good old Tim.

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  2. Love your title for this post! My first smile for the day.your description of Tucker's demeanor sounds so human.I do believe our pets have more human characteristics than we realize. Thanks for this topic which I have observed with my own cats.

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    1. It's gotten pretty bad when the cats' litter-box habits becomes my entertainment. It is, however, of better quality than most of what is found on tv these days. Better quality, same substance...

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  3. I always find it amazing that no matter how many cats you have, each one will have different personality traits and habits. Each one is unique in his or her own way.

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  4. guys...with yur litter box feng shui.... & R ...itz all in de mindz... eye master peeces....we shuld rent a spot in de Louvre !!! ☺☺☺

    we iz out til monday; sew heerz two an arrowtooth eel kinda week oh end ♥♥♥

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  5. As long as everyone does their business IN one of the litter boxes, it's all good. :-)

    Purrs and peace.

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  6. I agree every cat is unique in all ways including the litter box. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving words of comfort on the loss of our Spooky.

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  7. Jessie was like Josie in her box habits. She had non problems visiting it as needed.Once we had another kitty stay (found wandering) Jessie took over his litter tray as well as her box within minutes of me putting a try out for him.

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    1. She had to show the new boy who the boss was.

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  8. Only Saku will occasionally use one of the boxes when I'm cleaning another. But Sasha is like your Cammie; I often hear him scratching the side of the box. He also does that around the food dishes and the water bowl and has done so since he was a kitten. I have no idea what he is trying to do.

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    1. I think the scratching around food may reflect an attempt to bury unfinished meals. My Tungsten would do that when she didn't want to eat any more. Primevally, it would have helped hide from enemies evidence of a cat's presence. I guess that doing it near water-bowls is an instinctive extension. Or they may be trying to tip the contents out and annoy us. Probably that.

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  9. Your descriptions of Tucker always make me laugh. Flynn always listens for me to scoop, then hops right in. When we had Kit she would never cover and leave it for all to see. The boys always came along behind and would both get in the box together and cover it for her.

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  10. Both of the boys do the same as Cammie. I am not sure why either. They are funny and use one box first and then the other. Always the left one then the right, who knows?

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