My cat Pooter is very intelligent. I’m sure anyone who has a cat can say the same, as they all tend to be smart in their own way, but I’ve had cats my whole life and he is by far the smartest. I was hoping he would grow up and use his brains for good (I’m Jewish so I wanted him to aspire to be a lawyer or a doctor). Sadly, he took a bad turn somewhere and is now an accomplished terrorist. This career path is useful when it comes to pests in my apartment and watching him catch and eat a live fly is quite thrilling, but at all other times, the dog and I live in fear. In spite of his hostility towards me I adore him and forgive him for his indiscretions because he has one very useful skill that I can’t ignore… he uses the toilet.
No, Pooter did not teach himself this after observing my habits, obviously there was some training involved, but he was a fast learner and getting rid of the litter box was one of the best moments I can remember. Things went smoothly after that for a while and then after one long weekend away I came home to pee… not in the toilet. Since then there have been a few “accidents” around the apartment, but then he goes right back to the toilet the next time, just to remind me that, “Oh yes, I still know how to use it, I just wanted to make the point that I don’t have to.” I try to figure out what triggers this behavior and recently I think I figured it out. He will always use the toilet when it has been recently cleaned. I’m not talking about quick wipe down with the scary stinky bathroom brush, he likes a bowl that is freshly scrubbed, and Comet is his product of choice. He will only use a freshly cleaned toilet, which feels to me like the entitled college roommate who doesn’t know how to clean themselves, but they expect the shared space to always be spotless.
I knew that cats were clean, but he actually knows when one toilet in the apartment is a little bit cleaner than the other and if neither is fresh, my bed is his target. I think he knows that it is the worst possible place to go. It’s hard to describe how it feels to go into your bedroom at night sleepy and ready for some z’s only to find pee on the duvet… and the comforter… and the top sheet… and the fitted sheet… and the bed pad. Every layer you peel back allows for a moment of prayer that the stinky yellow WMD didn’t get through, but he is a pro and he doesn’t leave loose ends.
This has now led to the game I play with him daily, Guess When Pooter Has to Potty. The rules involve figuring out his exact bathroom schedule and then trapping him in the bathroom for short bouts. Does he poop once or twice in a day usually? Does he pee in the morning or early afternoon? Where will he pee if he is mad and doesn’t have access to the bed? These are now questions that I can answer, and I think my life is banal because of it.
This activity works most of the time; when it doesn’t, he poops in the shower.