Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"That's What You Think!" said The Cats

Cats are sneaky. No great revelation there. There are wheels constantly turning in their little triangular heads and if we could just decipher what goes on in there, I feel certain we'd have a cure for cancer, world peace, and people in Florida could grow tulips.

You think dogs are smart? Cats are smarter. I'm pretty sure that they can do anything a dog can do - except bark - it's just that they don't want to. That would be giving in and they're far too independent to waste their time doing what you want them to. I have managed to train Baby to come when called though.

We cater to our kitties just a little bit. Romie is much more accommodating to them than I am though. (Perhaps that's why Simon likes him better than me.) We have a kitty dish in the kitchen, which is kept full of fresh drinking water for them, so they don't have to go down to the basement, where their main food and water (and litter box) are located. But this dish had become somewhat of an annoyance.

Oh, the dish is cute enough. It's got a cat's face on it, whiskers and all. It holds just the right amount of water to keep them supplied during the day.
That is, if someone (not naming names, but a black and white bundle of fur was observed running from the scene) doesn't keep tipping the bowl over. I don't really enjoy walking into the kitchen in my stocking feet and stepping into a puddle of water.

We didn't know which of the kitties was the culprit, but we narrowed it down to two. This started happening before Jilly, our Russian Blue wannabe, was allowed to stay in the house all winter, so it was either Simon or Baby.

Like a good detective, I kept my eyes and ears open for clues that the crime was being committed. I watched as each of them walked into the kitchen, hiding behind the cupboards so my spying self would not be detected. First Simon...no, it wasn't him. Then Baby...no, she didn't do it either. Both just lingered for a short sip then went on their way.

Then I heard the telltale sound of a bowl scraping across the floor. Romie was at work, so I knew it wasn't him puttering around in the kitchen. I tiptoed out, just in time to see Baby with her paw in the bowl, pulling it towards her, spilling the water. BUSTED!

This went on for months and simply knowing who was doing this didn't help at all. I could talk to Baby until I was blue in the face and she continued to spill the water. There's that independence thing I was talking about. The simple solution would be to remove the bowl, wouldn't it? But that would be mean and there must be a simpler solution.

A few weeks ago, I was shopping with my mom in Steinmart and found a lovely iron food and water dish holder with nice stainless steel dishes. The dishes were held at a level of a few inches off the floor and while I thought it was pretty, the first thought that came to my mind was that this would solve our spilled water dish dilemma.

I brought it home, washed the dishes, and filled them both with water. (No food, because gosh darn it, they have to get a little exercise going up and down the stairs to the basement. Our cats are fat enough already.) The cute little white kitty dish was put in the cupboard and I rejoiced in knowing I'd never again have soggy socks.


Here we go again. I stepped in a puddle, looked into the water dishes, and noticed that one was completely empty. NOW who? And how? No one is fessing up to it, but I have some theories as to both who and how.

As I mentioned earlier, Jilly somehow charmed us into letting her stay in the house all winter. For the most part, she's been fairly well-behaved. Very little claw-sharpening (which is actually a territory-marking trait) and she gets along well with both Baby and Simon. Most of the time.

She's quite vocal, which we love, unless it's 4:00 in the morning and she decides there is an issue she just has to discuss right away. She won't be denied and after having our faces walked over numerous times and listening to her plead her case, one of us has to put her outside the bedroom door and close it. Another five minutes of beating a dead horse, and she gives up. Yeah, we love her.

So now, there are three suspects. I don't think it's Simon, because he actually prefers to get his water from the bathroom sink. He's gotten so big that it's difficult for him to jump up there on his own, so he stands by the sink cupboard until one of us lifts him up. He and I have a ritual, whereby he knows he has to give me a "kiss" before I'll turn the water on. Simon's kisses are a lick on the chin and he always obliges. Romie just gives him what he wants straight away.

It could be Baby. Since she seems to get a kick out of spilling the old water dish, perhaps she has learned a way to tip the new dish out of the holder. But because of something I've seen before, I have a feeling it's not Baby, but Jilly.

Cats can do strange things, which is part of what endears them to their owners. You just never know what quirky behavior will erupt from them at any given moment. Jilly is no exception.
When Jilly drinks water from a dish, she assumes a peculiar stance.

Yeah, that's her right paw sticking out...

She sits, balances on one front paw and tucks the other front one all the way under her, keeping it elevated from the floor the entire time. She always does it. It's kind of like on Everybody Loves Raymond, where Robert has to touch his chin with the spoon first when he takes a bite of food. Just one of those things.

Now just suppose that Jilly were to drink from the dish, and she were to accidentally lift the water dish with that wayward paw just enough to spill some water? I've not actually seen her do it, but it could happen.

I'll keep working on the case, but I might have to enlist the help of
Secret Agent 007.5, otherwise known as Harley. At least he speaks the same language as Jilly. Perhaps he has ways to make her talk. On the other hand, Jilly probably knows how to use her feminine wiles to get Harley to keep a secret.

We may never know.


F Cameron said...

I had cats my entire life until the last few years. They can do some amazing things. I once had a cat who loved to sit at the back of the bathtub whenever anyone was showering. Another loved to open the kitchen cupboards to sleep in a mixing bowl. Another would fetch and bring back the ball for another round. I had two cats who disappeared (we moved and it showed up at the old house); another who slept in the back of the truck and ended up in town, only to return home 6 weeks later, all skin and bones but lived happily for another 8 years.

I enjoyed your story!


Marilyn Bott said...

I enjoyed your tale of the water bowl. One of our cats has a funny drinking habit, too. As he approaches the water bowl he stops to "scratch" the ground around it first. I figure he must be clearing all the leaves and sticks out of the way. Funny thing, though, is he's an indoor cat and has been since we got him at eight weeks old and he's always done this.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Cats are so much more interesting than dogs. Our two wrestle with each--like, REAL wrestling. Mine always comes in right after I get out of the shower wanting his cheeks scratched. After dinner, only after, he'll sit by me on the chair. Anywho, they are very ritualistic on their own terms, and your stories are cool to hear.

Anonymous said...

Well, they all have that innocent, heart-tugging "certainly not me!" look about them. Kitties are so funny! Jilly reminds me of a tabby we had several years ago who would only lie down and dip her paw in her water dish to drink. Ever. She never licked from the bowl, only her paw. Dip, lick...dip, lick. :)

Gail said...

I do believe that we are lucky they haven't that opposable thumb...or we would be in big trouble! gail

Randy Emmitt said...

Cute cats, we know too well what it is like to have a cat give a yelling fit at 4am. Our Valentine is a tuxedo much like yours, she is our mouser.

Sarah said...

Ah, the joys of wet socks. Or sliding across the kitchen floor in bare feet. :) One of our cats that we've had since she was a kitten loves to play in the water bowl. She's better now, but every once in a while, she can't seem to resist... She also likes to drink from the faucet. To avoid wasting water, my Mom gives her a tiny cup - if the water gets too low, she tips it over. ;)
Love your cat stories!

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Fun story about some members of your cat family and it all sounds so familiar. LOL Dolly, my red and white Maine Coon, often puts her paw in the water bowl and start stirring until not a lot is left. Puddles everywhere, of course. ;-) So there's no need for them to actually lift a water dish to get your kitchen floor wet.

In answer to your question: some Russian Blues have completely green eyes when they're 1 year old, others take about 3 years before their eyes are fully green. So it's very well possible that your Jilly will get her green eyes.

Nutty Gnome said...

Gorgeous cats - and a great post! I recognise so many features of Ceefer cat in what you said. I love his independence, but he also has his little rituals - and gets VERY cross with me if I'm not sitting down in an evening when he wants to sit on me. I'm less impressed by the bits of mouse he brings me though!

CanadianGardenJoy said...

I enjoyed this story so much ! We had a intensly intelligent Calico who loved to drink water from the bathroom fucet, and do the same thing with her arm when drinking from the water dish ..I guess we will never know why it is they do that ? .. present day we have a little 'madam" that drops her toys in her water .. plastic springs, fuzzy balls .. she is fixated ? on it. Why ? we have no idea .. but we are cat people and that will never change .. there is just something about cats : )

Anonymous said...

I have studied this mystery from every angle, and even looked it up in my Secret Agent Handbook. I know the answer to your mystery. However, I am afraid it is a secret to be kept amongst the cats. But, if you purchase 2 new cat beds, 15 new toys, a climbing tree, and 5 bags of delicious treats for them, your water problems will cease.

Brenda Pruitt said...

What a delightful and entertaining post this is! Loved it all the way. I'm heading to Steinmart; I adore that black food bowl. A suggestion: get a tabletop water fountain. My Bonnie spends much of her time sipping from it in ecstasy, as she loves running water. Makes her content. And I keep filling it!

tina said...

That is too cute. I know that feeling of soggy feet all too well with four dogs in the house so I can sympathize. Dogs are just simply sloppy though, cats sneaky like you said. I must say Simon is one very smart kitty to drink from the tap. Poor Jilly, she does have a peculiar stance when drinking. They are all just sweet. Loved your story about them.

Kerri said...

Our Molly does the same thing with the water bowl - drags it around with her paw and spills it every time. Very annoying! She also scatters her dry food all around the dish. Neatness is not her forte! For this reason I keep the dishes on a boot tray and that helps a little.
The new dish holder is lovely indeed. I hope it helps to solve the problem in the end, and can't wait to find out who the mystery spiller is :)
Love those kitty pics! Perfect illustrations :) Their quirks and different personalities help to make life interesting, don't they?

Lisa at Greenbow said...

It is fun to see your kitties and hear about their antics.

Kylee Baumle said...

Cameron ~ Cats are so amazing, aren't they? Jilly likes to play fetch with us. They all have their little personality quirks and that's what makes them so much fun, especially when you have several at once.

Marilyn ~ We have cats that scratch around the food and water bowls, too! It just looks funny when they do it.

Ben ~ Oh yeah...I love to watch the cats wrestle! Funny how they take one paw and put it on the other's chest and have a stare-down until one of them makes a move.
Yes...much more intriguing than dogs! But as I remind everyone now and then - a cat is not a dog and a dog is not a cat. They each have their own good and bad qualities.

Nancy ~ That's so funny! We have a couple that like to play in the water. And Jilly is the one who puts her toys in the water dish.

Gail ~ Isn't that the truth!

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