20: Flushing His Issues Away

20: Flushing His Issues Away

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Cat

Flushing His Issues Away

Fun fact: Moving to a new home is stressful for cats because it means they’re losing their territory and must adapt to a new one.

The move into our new home had been stressful, and each of our four cats reacted in different ways. Bobby Cat needed lots of evening cuddles. DP and Cable hung out under the bed most days, and Chai, our black-and-white tuxedo cat, had taken to following us around like a puppy. No matter which room we entered, he was not content unless he was in the middle of whatever we were doing. So when the toilet in the laundry room needed to have a leak fixed, it was no surprise to us when he insisted on sitting on the seat, peering into the tank, and watching intently as my husband took the mechanicals out and replaced them.

After repairing the leak, we expected a little relief from our higher-than-expected water bills and were baffled when the next month rolled around. The cost had inched up. We replaced a seeping faucet, lectured our teenager about shortening her shower, and made sure our laundry loads were completely full before washing. We only ran the dishwasher when it was full and didn’t leave the faucets running. Another month passed, and the bill crept up even higher. We began to worry that perhaps there was a leak somewhere in the system that was going to turn into a very large problem.

My husband promised to consult with a plumber and get ideas on what steps we could take to fix our excessive water consumption. I had come down with a summer cold and was home sick, but there were a few design jobs that simply couldn’t wait. As I walked to the studio, I waved to Chai, who was soaking up some sun on a windowsill. Bobby Cat hopped into my lap. DP and Cable were curled up under my work desk. I sighed and opened my computer, ready to get to work. Our daughter was at school, my husband at work, and with any luck, I would be able to crawl back into bed in a couple of hours.

I was finishing up the first print ad when an odd sound caught my attention. I paused to listen. It sounded faintly like flushing and running water. Was someone in the house? The garage door had not opened, so it wasn’t kids or my husband. I shook my head. Probably just noise from my stopped-up ears.

It happened again!

Bobby Cat, DP, and Cable didn’t seem bothered or nervous, but I was! I grabbed my cell phone and began to creep back toward the laundry room. I dialed “9-1-1,” but didn’t press Send. Bracing myself, I slowly peeked around the doorframe into the laundry room. No one was there. Then it happened again. That was definitely a toilet flush.

I inched toward the open bathroom door, thumb on the Send button, and cautiously peered around the doorframe… just in time to see Chai place both paws on the lever and pull. He quickly shifted to the right so he could watch the water swirl and bubble as it exited the bowl. After all the water motion was gone and the bowl refilled, he moved back to the lever with both paws. It all clicked into place, and I began to laugh, startling him. He ran from the bathroom, looking as embarrassed as a cat can look.

We immediately implemented a “closed lid” policy. To this day, we don’t know if it was the closed lid or sheer embarrassment that stopped his compulsive flushing. But our water bills were at a manageable level the very next month.

~Lois Bradley

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