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Cat Wisdom Sought

Okay… my cat has recently lost her mind. Olive (aka “Owlie” and “Knucklehead” )has become convinced that a very small trickle of water from the bathroom sink’s tap is actually some sort of silver water trickle snake that needs to be killed with paw swipes. She will swipe and swipe to kill this thing and go so far as to stick her head under the trickle and paw at the runoff from her jaw. She will, at any time I make a move towards the bathroom, dash ahead, make two quick laps around the tub, spring out onto the toilet tank and then sit expectantly by the sink waiting for the silver snaky thing. If that doesn’t happen and I am standing next to the sink easing my (ahem) bladder she starts to eye that stream with serious intent and start to hunch her body as if to make the leap towards the bowl as I mumble “Don’t you dare. Don’t you dare.”

Of late I’ve taken to kicking her out of the bathroom but she sulks and pouts about the apartment afterward. Yesterday, just as a test, I left the silver water trickle snake slithering on as I went out to the store for an hour. When I came back she was still on swiping at it and her head was soaked. Clearly a case of felinesanity. How can I break her of this cat cul-de-sac? We can’t possibly do years of her sitting by the sink. Please advise.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • JiminAlaska April 6, 2019, 8:38 AM

    Leave the hot water tap running?

  • Tom Hyland April 6, 2019, 8:38 AM

    The critters develop a notion of a looming threat and it’s a duel to the death. I had a sparrow sitting outside a window flying into his reflection hundreds of times a day. Firing my 22. into the air, one shot would have him fleeing over the horizon, finally spooked him and he didn’t return. Possibly yelling, “NO!” really loud might freak the kitty enough to finally understand her exercise is not permitted. Then… this breaking news has just shattered our delusions of seeming happiness!


  • Patvann April 6, 2019, 8:45 AM

    Nerf gun. 3/4″ dia ammo.
    It’s changed my life, as I live with 10 cats…
    -Which were increasingly at risk of becoming 0 (and dead) as they started f**king with my very expensive sound system, and all I had at the time was *ahem* “higher velocity armaments”.

    They now know fear.

  • Monty James April 6, 2019, 8:59 AM

    Shoot amusing cat videos with your phone, and post them on YouTube. Add content to the videos which subverts the reigning progressive orthodoxy which oppresses the ordinary tradtional American population at all levels and in all power centers and institutions. Make Olive into a symbol of our determination to survive, and prevail against the Left.

    But that’s just me. She sure is a little sweetie!

  • Ten April 6, 2019, 9:00 AM

    Those fantastically unique, individual, and immutable personalities are what make them endearing. I’d just enjoy it.

  • An Appreciative Reader April 6, 2019, 9:14 AM

    They are known as “Sink-Cats.” Churchill had one. Be glad she has something that’s amusing for her! Ours helped with the dishes every night until he was about a year old…now, very occasionally. You could get her a bubbling/splashing cat water-bowl for distraction.
    Since Olive is young, it’s possible she could be toilet-trained (see youtube), dispensing with the litter box. In the wild, cats are known to eliminate over a flowing stream/creek to hide their scent….

  • Julie near Chicago April 6, 2019, 9:22 AM

    Gerard, I think your kitty has been reading Fritz Leiber’s excellent short story, “Space-Time for Springers,” printed originally by Galaxy as “Kreativity for Kats.” Do you know it?

    Read it at Baen Books,


    or at Project Gutenberg.

  • Frisco Scooter Trash April 6, 2019, 9:24 AM

    A temporary mend for an annoying drip you can’t fix yet. Tie a washcloth or even a string around the faucet outlet to catch the drip and let it soak down the cloth or string to the drain. This effectively silences the drip but should also hide it from your cat.

  • Vanderleun April 6, 2019, 9:25 AM

    Only at this page can I ask about my cat and get a hot link to a Lieber story.

  • butch April 6, 2019, 10:02 AM

    Frisco, I think Gerard is concerned about a different fluid flow stream than a faucet drip.

  • Bones April 6, 2019, 10:08 AM

    Fix your plumbing.

  • Bones April 6, 2019, 10:34 AM

    1. You are doomed. The cat will always associate the bathroom with her new toy.
    2. You are now a sitzpinkler. Someone who sits to pee. (If you know what’s good for you).
    3. You are doomed. (Did I mention that?) .

    Enjoy the funny.

  • Phil in Englewood April 6, 2019, 11:46 AM

    Olive is in good or at least numerous company

    She could have worse hobbies

  • ghostsniper April 6, 2019, 11:59 AM

    Fix the faucet. Close the door.

    Our Tawny Autumn sits for hours waiting for bird shadows on the wall from the birds at the feeders/houses on the front porch. Even if there are no shadows she sits and waits for them. She has programmed herself. Speaking of self programming. My wife has baskets sitting around. The real wicker type stuff. When Tawny Autumn was a baby she made a small basket her own and now 8 years later it is still her own but she is about 8 times bigger and too big for the basket, but she still gets in it. But most of her is hanging over all sides. That can’t be comfortable, but her baby programming tells her it is. Because of her constant use of that basket it has become a little tattered and I told my wife she needs to off load it. She said she can’t because Tawny Autumn would be crestfallen and possibly suffer from PTSD.

    Can cats be herded? Yes indeed. Come over to our house and you’ll see how it’s done. Every day, all day long. My wife runs our 5 cats like a well oiled machine. She has installed a series of these accordion like things, no that’s not right. I don’t know how to describe them. They are made out of 1/4″ dia wicker sticks about 4′ long and they criss-cross. Straightened up to it’s smallest size it is about 1 foot wide and 4′ tall. Stretched out to it’s full length it is about 2′ tall and 6′ long. So my wife puts these things up around the house to keep the cats from going in certain rooms. The kitchen for example. Cats are strictly prohibited from going in there. But, the corridor from the dining room to the kitchen is about 5′ wide, thus, the wicker fence goes there. One of them. There are others, in strategic locations. Large vases, about 3′ tall, prevent the wickers from folding up on their own. So every time I want to go in the kitchen I have to retract the wicker, go in, and put the wicker back. Yeah, it’s a pain, but I got used to it. Programming.

    Today is nice so the cats are on the back porch doing what cats do. At suppertime the back doors will be opened and they will drag race to the kitchen wicker to watch my wife prepare their suppers. She’ll take their suppers on a tray to their 2nd floor bedroom and all of them will doing figure 8 around her legs trying to trip her up and fall down the stairs so they can then have a freefall with the cat supper smorgasboard on the stairs.

    I don’t do clocks or calendars but the wicker is sort of a clock. If I go in the house in the afternoon and the wicker to the kitchen is folded back and wide open I know it is after 2pm cause that’s when she puts the cats in the room for their nap and gives them a snack. If I come in at 4pm the wicker is back in place blocking the kitchen. If I come in at 6pm the wicker is folded back cause the cats are eating their supper and now it’s time to prepare people supper.

    When a friend comes over he can’t believe we have cats cause he never sees them. Unless they are on the back porch, they stay on the 2nd floor mostly. My wife has created a haven for them up there. Sparkle, our youngest, at 4 years old, hardly ever comes downstairs. The rear deck on the 2nd floor has a pipe railing and the birds love to stand and walk on it. Early on Sparkle noticed this so she sits for hours at the french doors leading to the deck and stares at them. If there are more than a few birds she hunkers down close to the floor and starts to chatter nervously. It’s a funny thing to see. If she chatters for more than a couple minutes Caramel will come see what the commotion is and then she’ll start chattering too.

    As far as controlling cats goes only one method works. Routine food. Do not miss, not even once. Once the cat(s) have been programmed they will let you know what time it is. Cept when DLST happens and skews them for a few days. Taking care of cats is a full time job so I’m glad I have a wife that does that stuff.

  • Geoff C. the Saltine April 6, 2019, 12:32 PM

    Mr. V Get another cat to help her take her mind off of the sink,
    That should do the trick.

  • Rob De Witt April 6, 2019, 12:33 PM

    The best advice you’ve been given here is “Just enjoy it, and laugh at her.” That’s her job, after all – and you’re big enough to close the door and man up when she whines. If you’re a total sucker for tears, remember why you’re not married. Ring a bell?

    She ain’t gonna change until she decides to; in the meantime, positive reinforcement is your only path. I raise mine on praise, and it’s surprising how well that’s worked.

  • Lance de Boyle April 6, 2019, 12:58 PM

    My cat does the same thing. Swats the stream, jams his paw down the hole, gives me an “I almost got it” LOOK, cleans up, and starts over.

    Toss a ping pong ball in the tub for some fun.

  • Roy Lofquist April 6, 2019, 1:06 PM

    The operative word is “her”.

  • Sam L. April 6, 2019, 1:17 PM

    Get it on tape, and put it on YouTube!!!!!

  • ghostsniper April 6, 2019, 2:22 PM

    “Swats the stream, jams his paw down the hole…”

    Reminds me of that korean gonorrhea cure…..
    “Hold on, we’re goin’ around the bend!”

  • PA Cat April 6, 2019, 5:30 PM

    Gerard, please don’t assume that Miss Olive is being difficult or demented. There’s a reason for her interest in running water. While cats in the wild get most of the moisture they need from their prey, house cats, on the other hand, need to get their hydration from somewhere else, usually a water bowl, running faucet, or pet fountain. If you’re feeding Miss Olive mostly dry food, her interest in running fresh water indicates that she needs to drink more. Even if you feed her wet food, she still needs more water than she would if she were eating mice and other varmints. My vet suggested buying a pet fountain for my kitties to make sure they drink enough water to stay hydrated. I’ve had one for ten years now and all the cats I’ve had during that time enjoyed using it and never bothered investigating the sink faucets.

    Yes, you have to change the filter every so often, keep the reservoir topped off, and make sure the prefilter is keeping cat fur from getting into the pump, but it’s not that time-consuming, and I bet Miss Olive will thank you. Here is a link to the manufacturer of my cats’ fountain: https://www.petsafe.net/drinkwell

    The main page mentions cats’ love of running water and why it is important for them to drink plenty of water to stay healthy. The model I bought in 2009 is the Drinkwell Platinum® Pet Fountain PWW00-13703. Ten years later, it’s still working well; the only part I ever had to replace was the reservoir, and that was only because I dropped it on the kitchen floor.

    Hope this info. is helpful.

  • Jeff Brokaw April 6, 2019, 5:32 PM

    You’re lucky he’s got some personality – enjoy it!

  • AesopFan April 6, 2019, 5:55 PM

    Vanderleun April 6, 2019, 9:25 AM
    “Only at this page can I ask about my cat and get a hot link to a Lieber story.”

    Well, Sarah Hoyt’s blog might have come up to scratch on that.
    Or Neo’s, since the link came from Julie.
    Gotta love the webz.

    PS do read the story, but not late at night with your cats looking at you….

  • Patvann April 6, 2019, 6:06 PM

    Or maybe she identifies as an aquatic being.
    Give her the Stream Of Happiness she deserves.

  • H April 6, 2019, 6:59 PM

    It has been said once and endlessly repeated ever after that “dogs have owners; cats have staff” and the sooner you accept the whole “Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea” as postulated by Robert Heinlein, the better.

  • AbigailAdams April 6, 2019, 9:45 PM

    Our little “Nicky” has always been happiest in the bathroom. Things happen there. There are sinks and shower basins to explore. But his favorite is hearing the toilet flush and then racing over to place his front paws on the rim in order to watch the water swirl away down the bowl. It’s always the little things in life. Far be it from me to deprive him of the highlights. Every cat owner has their own level of tolerance for certain of their pet’s behaviors. Cats are exceedingly trainable. Just don’t let her figure out how to turn the water on by herself.

  • Nobody Atall April 7, 2019, 8:18 AM

    I second PA Cat’s recommendation of a fountain. Our two cats share a fountain; it has a self-feed reservoir and goes not quite two weeks between refills. I scrub it (and the pump components) at that time to get lime off and run it through the dishwasher. If Olive has that going all the time, maybe she’ll get her fill of kicks. Also, it keeps the water fresher.

  • Jack April 7, 2019, 9:04 AM

    Personally I like cats but I don’t own one. Several years ago, after a divorce, I met a cute blond nurse that I thought I’d like to spend a little time with so I took her to a Moody Blues concert. I wanted to go for a drink and chat after the concert (which was great) but she was apparently bored with the entire evening and wanted a smoke or ten and she suggested I take her home.

    When we arrived at her home she invited me in and on the way to the door I noticed there were probably a couple of dozen cigarette butts in the driveway and sidewalk and when we got inside there
    were 5-6 completely overflowing ash trays in the den and kitchen area. I was repulsed but then 5-6 cats came ripping into the kitchen and all of them except one hopped up on the kitchen counters and the breakfast table and began eating from whatever had dried on the various plates and bowls that were just laying out, waiting on their own salvation.

    I was repulsed again and then the cat that had not flown up to the kitchen counter walked up to me and sunk his claws into my right pants leg and into my leg and then it pulled down like I was a human scratching post.

    She was a nurse and she tended to my wounds but I followed up with a visit to the doc. Thankfully she never called to see if I was all right. No cats in the house for me, thanks just the same.

  • ghostsniper April 7, 2019, 9:07 AM

    “…to get lime off…”

    Indicative of hard water that will cause crystals in the cats kidney’s in short order.
    I’ll suggest a whole house water softener, or filtered water for the pets and people, a vet visit for crystals, and perhaps Science Diet CS in all meals for a period of 3 months.

    Lime in the water, as well as other nasty stuff, is destroying all of your plumbing system silently as well as collecting on your shower doors and wall/floor tiles, and it’s working on your innards too. Limes foulness is legend, and controllable.

  • ghostsniper April 7, 2019, 9:11 AM

    @Jack, nasty asses aren’t defined by the nursing industry or their pet preference.
    That “cute blonde nurse” has more issues than the obvious.

  • CC April 7, 2019, 9:28 AM

    I have a cat that is also fascinated by the small stream from the bathroom faucets – all I can say, is they are creatures that can exhibit obsessive behavior, that may or may not change.
    I let mine play with it while I’m drying my hands, then turn it off.
    with cats, if they’re not being destructive, I let them play.

  • Montefrío April 7, 2019, 10:01 AM

    I suggest you show your cat my patented Chinese food takeout box with a cat photo on its interior bottom captioned “Have You Seen [Name]?”

  • Nobody Atall April 7, 2019, 10:13 AM

    Thank you for your input, Dave.

  • theduchessofkitty April 7, 2019, 6:50 PM

    Gerard, the Drinkwell pet fountain works.

    My cats have had theirs for four or five years. It cleans easily – I mean, bowl, fountain, filter mechanism, the whole thing. As for the filters, you can find them at Amazon cheaper than the replacement ones for sale at PetSmart. The kitties love theirs. We bought the dog-sized one for them, and they love it.

  • Lance de Boyle April 7, 2019, 6:51 PM

    Yes, Ghostsniper, with a bore brush and Hoppe’s #9.

  • Quentin Rakestraw April 7, 2019, 8:56 PM

    That’s a nice looking cat.

  • pfsm April 7, 2019, 9:16 PM

    I’ve got a good sink-cat story for you. We had a little cat named Joe Peterson who loved to sit in the kitchen sink and watch my wife fix dinner. One afternoon she got frustrated with the cat’s presence in the sink – she must have needed to add water to something or rinse something – and hosed the cat down with the sprayer, lifted her out of the sink, and set her on the floor. Joe stalked about a foot onto the dining room carpet, turned and glared at my wife, and peed. My wife of course had to clean up the carpet, and when she was finished, there was Joe Peterson sitting in the sink.

  • Timothy Patterson April 8, 2019, 5:04 AM

    Olive is a good beast, a good kitty, and a good cat.

  • Phillipa Crawford April 8, 2019, 5:50 AM

    My cat likes water, too. She once fell in the tub when it was full and had to spend about an hour licking every spot of herself she could reach. She still likes water but is more careful around the tub.

    As for The Editor, I’d let her have the stream in the bathroom sink while you are making a contribution in the toilet. Distraction is the better part of valor, or something like that.

  • Larry Geiger April 8, 2019, 6:52 AM

    Get one of those wire screens that make the water sort of bubble. Put something flat in on part of the screen so that the water bubbles out and sprays a little out the sides where the air is supposed to go in. It will be a sort of fountain instead of a nice stream. Turn it on for her a few times. She’ll lose interest. Especially when it hits her right in the face.

  • PatriotUSA April 8, 2019, 10:12 PM

    Get a dog, it is much better than a cat. Go ahead and leave nasty comments, I am used to them.

  • Dick Summers April 9, 2019, 9:21 AM

    Olive is thirsty. Do you notice she drinks immediately when you refill her water bowl? Not so much later? Does she put her paw into the water bowl when she drinks? Is she older? I’ve seen the same thing and it seems like they can’t see the water very well. Moving water seems more appealing to them, maybe it’s easier to see.

  • BarbS April 9, 2019, 11:43 AM

    Give her a bath or two in that sink. She will never want to get close to that sink again. Also, make sure to wear protective clothing when you bathe her to protect yourself from your very upset cat.

  • Grizzly April 9, 2019, 4:36 PM

    @BarbS: That’s fine unless you have one of those few cats who actually enjoy baths and like to sit in water.

  • Suz April 11, 2019, 10:51 AM

    Spray water bottle. Spray her whenever she jumps up. Pretty soon all you have to do is plop the spray bottle on the counter and she won’t even dare jump up there. When my two cats see the spray water bottle they leave the room promptly.