Friday, November 12, 2010

The Quest for Water, a Feline Adventure...

Our cats are always on the search for the Freshest Water Available.

This has led to some interesting conflicts with their humans, as you can imagine. When the Triplicats were kittens, the water dish was more than sufficient for their needs. I refilled it every morning and every evening, and all was well in their world.

However, as they got older, somehow... this did not satisfy any longer.

They started knocking the water dish around, as if they had to, I don't know, rough it up a bit before they could drink it. Nothing like freshly jostled water, you know? Only problem was, it tended to make the floor wet, and thus we were always getting our socks wet when we stepped in it, or the ballistic missile that is the Impossible Son would hit it and slip during one of his circuits of the house, resulting in howls of pain and indignation.

So, I started cleaning and refilling their water dish more frequently. I started with three times a day. Then four. Then five. Then I got to where I was pretty much refilling the water dish every time I walked by it.

It wasn't enough.

Then the cats started noticing that we drink water, too. In containers. Containers that we often set on tables and counters. Containers that the younger two tended to forget and leave sitting on tables, counters, and occasionally, the floor.

That's when we started holding our glasses in our hands almost constantly, because the moment you set the thing down, a cat would be there like a shot, either trying to shove their whole head into the glass to lap at the water, or dipping a paw in to drink daintily from their toes.

Until Yuki got too frustrated to do it that way and started knocking the glasses over so she could lap it straight from the table, or the floor.

And if the glass didn't have water in it, they'd knock it over just to be spiteful.

Damn cats.

Then Yuki started hanging around my feet when I washed dishes. She could hear me turning the water on. It... tantalized her. It sounded so... splashy, so liquid, so... fresh... And one day, she finally jumped up on the counter, and saw the water pouring from the faucet and unable to resist, she jumped into the dry side of the sink and tried to lap from the stream of water pouring down.


She didn't try that again for a while, though she would sit on the counter and watch me wash dishes with a disgruntled look on her face. And pretty soon, Calcifer and Muta joined her. It made me kind of paranoid, to tell you the truth, having three cats in various places on the counter, all eyes fixed resentfully on me while I played (in their view) with water too hot for them to drink! Even washing their water dish out while they were watching and refilling it and putting it back in its spot didn't help.

It didn't take Yuki long to discover that we use cold water when we brush our teeth.

Next thing we know, we're jockeying for space to spit the toothpaste out with a cat determined to get to the faucet and drink. I swear they were all but laying in the sink with their mouths open like a college kid on a bar, waiting for an open mouth tequila shot.

You'd think we never gave the damn cats any water!

You couldn't even wash your hands without three cats suddenly leaping up to the counter and crowding you out for a shot at the faucet! There was a time when they all had toothpaste spots on their heads from them slipping into the sink just as we were spitting out!

I drew the line when Muta started jumping into the shower with me. He won't let me bathe him, but he would jump in the shower to sit between my feet and bat at the water drops. He's a huge cat, with impressive claws. I do not relish the thought of trying to explain to an emergency room doctor how and why my legs got sliced up by my cat. "Well, you see, Doc, it was like this..."

No thanks.

So... we bought a cat water fountain and that solved our problem for about... two and a half years. They loved the cat water fountain. It circulated the water through a pump that took it through a charcoal filter, and then spilled it back out into a bowl where it went right back through the cycle. The cats drank very happily from the spill, and all was peaceful in Burrow-land.

Until Calcifer started the pawing thing.


First, he simply pawed at the floor. He would make scratching motions for a minute, then circle the fountain until he'd gotten it and himself at juuuuuust the right angle... and then he'd drink.

It was weird, but mostly harmless.

Until he started putting his paw in the fountain's bowl.

He didn't paw the water... yet. He simply put his paw in and then licked it, then put his paw in, then licked it, until he was satisfied and then... he'd circle the fountain until he'd gotten it and himself at juuuuuust the right angle... and then he'd drink.

This meant cleaning the bowl almost every day because... everything on his paw got into the water and thus would clog up the filter. But okay, fine, I did that.

Until Cal started pawing the water and the bowl, which resulted in water sloshing everywhere, and then the fountain wouldn't have enough water in it and the motor would start growling and grinding and I'd have to clean it and refill it and mop up the water that was all over the floor. The wood floor.

And then Yuki started doing it, too. And since she pawed even more energetically than Cal, this meant that water was spread even further around the floor, and there was the added bonus of the fountain sometimes becoming unplugged. Which would lead to them pawing the water even more enthusiastically, because now it wasn't being refreshed like it had been before, and... AAAAAAUUUGGGHHHH!!!!!

So... I resurrected Max's old water bowl. Max was the Labrador Retriever who is responsible for our having cats in the first place. The Husbandly One and I got him right after we got married, and had him for eleven wonderful, crazy years before we lost him to skin cancer. His water bowl was huge, because he was a big dog living in a hot climate and he drank insane amounts of water which he shared with his cats very lovingly. Yes, you read that right. They were his cats.

Anyway, I got out his old water bowl and filled it ... and put it in the bathtub. Why? Because I was tired of mopping up water. If the water bowl is in the bathtub, the cats can paw and slosh to their heart's content, and it won't hurt anything but their dignity. If they start acting like they're dying for water, I pour it out, and simply turn on the faucet and refill it. If someone wants to take a bath, they take the water bowl out of the tub and set it on the tile floor, which is easily mopped up. When they're done, the bowl goes back in the tub, or they face the Wrath of Mama.

I'm fine with it. At last, I can brush my teeth without fighting a cat for the faucet!

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