Josie has a sensitive stomach. She always has had, and though most of the time it affects her not at all, now and then it results in her regurgitating her food, usually very soon after she eats it. I don’t feed her too much all at once for that reason, as too much too fast tends to encourage dietary movement in the wrong direction. I have consulted veterinarians about this in the past, and the verdict was, simply, that my Chubs has a sensitive stomach.
Though it is not a daily occurrence, nor even weekly, this periodic gastric disclaiming of nutrition is the reason I laid cheaper rugs over the carpets in my new apartment. In the old house, hardwood and linoleum flooring predominated. There was still plenty of fabric on which a cat might throw up: a rug in the sitting room, the bedspread, couches and chairs, and cat-trees. Herein lies the tale.
Josie developed the habit of hurrying to the nearest bare floor when she felt the need to discharge from the wrong end. It seems unlikely, but for years, when I could catch her in time, I had been depositing an explosive cat on hardwood or linoleum. After the event, I would console the beast to the best of my ability. The outcome, I imagine, was that Josie, in particular, came to believe that throwing up on hard floors was much preferred to doing so on beds or armchairs.
In numerous instances, I would hear the tell-tale heaving of a disgruntled belly and be in time to see my Chubs trundling quickly down the steps at the end of the bed, or attempting to reach the edge of the sitting room rug, all before she upped her chuck.
Now, we move forward chronologically to the new apartment. There is carpet in the majority of the new home, save the kitchen, dining area, bathroom and store-room. These spaces are small compared to those that are carpeted. So I laid down rugs over them. The trouble is, I believe, that Josie has conceived the notion that it is not so much throwing up on bare floor that is acceptable, but not throwing up on the first layer of floor-covering. In other words, if she can make it off the cheap rugs, she will find favour with the human. But the cheap rugs do not mask the entirety of the fitted carpets. So the Great White, following her habit in the house, seeks the edge of what she thinks is the no-go area, and then opens the valves.
Several times, she – or Tucker – has voided the gullet on to the rugs; they are serving their purpose. But almost as often, Josie appears to exert herself to leave the rugs and reach the carpet.
I have no idea if my theory is correct. I think it is. I of course cannot become angry at Josie, or any other cat, when she regurgitates, no matter where it is. But I am doubly reluctant to show annoyance when the beast performs what she thinks is the satisfactory drill in the case. My plan now is gently to seize the appropriately vomitous animal when I hear the wretching call and try to plant their wobbly feet on bare floor. They may eventually learn the intended lesson.
Until then, I must simply smile and know that with cats, as with people, good manners are sometimes a matter of trying, rather than achieving.