Dear Agony Aunt – my cat loves cleaning, should I be worried?
We have a cat we call Simba. He arrived uninvited over a year ago and seems to have employed us as his hotel staff. We provide simple B&B – food and water and a warm bed for the night – he pays us… nothing. But today he did stand by me in a mini crisis.
Many of our visiting guests have found his strange ways amusing – one describing him as ‘more dog than cat’ and others have been surprised, almost choking on their drinks, when he pokes his head through a flap in the top of the gazebo, which he illegally uses as a hammock in the summer.
Last night he excelled himself by waking me up in the early hours. I ignored him at first, but eventually gave in by about 6am. Padding in to put the kettle on and cat food out, I realised my feet were wet. There was a flood in the kitchen and it might have been what all the crying was about. Hearing the wind outside I assumed water had blown in under the back door and so I spent some time laying out newspapers to soak it up. Strangely, when I looked outside the terrace wasn’t very wet at all, but I carried on with the newspapers, still half asleep, thinking the wind must have dried up the rain!
I didn’t think cats were supposed to like water – but Simba seems to break all the rules. In fact he loves to sit or lie in it and get his tail wet. Rather than drink out of his water bowl sedately, he climbs into an old bucket partly filled with rainwater to drink, or dips his paws into the swimming pool. His favourite games are flicking the water from the water hose or sitting on the laundry basket to push open the doors of the shower when it’s running. If you are in the shower it’s an annoying game. Oh, and another watery pastime is trying to catch the mop when anyone is cleaning the floor.
Back to the flood. The more newspaper went down, the more water appeared. Eventually I thought, I’ll have to get the mop out. Opening the cupboard door I was greeted by a mini tsunami, as water was pouring from the boiler into an empty cat litter tray and flowing over onto the floor. So not rain after all. Before I could get the mop out, Simba was in the cupboard, paddling in the water, shaking his paws and then swiping anything that moved. There were quite of a lot of soaked objects to be removed and as I went to pick up a drenched half empty bag of cat litter, it split, spewing the contents into the floor. Unlike the more expensive brands, it’s main ingredient turns out to be mud. There was now a lovely slippery mud bath in the entrance to the cupboard. Never fear, Simba was there skidding around in the brown gunge and as fast as I tried to scoop it up with a cloth, he was catching the cloth in his claws and spaying the mud even further. At 6.30am I was struggling to see the funny side of this, being slightly concerned about the boiler and the amount of water everywhere. Words like ‘floody hell’ or worse were being muttered frequently. Still, on my morning of mopping I was never alone and at least there was someone else to laugh at. My feline helper was always by my side, trying to catch the mop, trying his hand/paw with a cloth or simply running in and out across the wet floor, back legs skidding out behind him – a soft landing guaranteed on his enormous fluffy tale.
By the time an electrician, two plumbers and a boiler technician (significant Cypriot labour forces) had arrived, the two of us had attempted to hang wet materials outside or upstairs and most of the mud had been cleaned away, bar a few paw prints here and there.
Come to think of it, Simba isn’t the only eccentric pet we’ve had… I once had a cat that turned a bit mad when I moved him to live in a flat in the East End of London from rural Kent. He used the back of our toilet as a urinal and had a habit of smacking people that he didn’t like. An ex-boyfriend, who will remain anonymous, was sitting on the carpet one evening by the slightly ajar lounge door, having just made an uncharitable remark about the absent cat. A second later a black and white paw shot round the edge of the door and dealt him a punishing swipe. Our first dog, a golden retriever, was a canine Houdini. He used to escape through the cat flap to go begging scraps at the local abattoir. Our second dog, Copper …where do I start? Because that requires a whole new post!