It’s Not All Mary Poppins


We have a weird cat. Which statement, I know, is a redundancy. If you have a cat, it is weird. Cats are weird.

The weirdness of our cat, well, one of his weirdnesses, focusses on the bathroom. Ever since we moved to this house, two years ago, the cat is completely fixated on the sink in the bathroom. Whenever anyone heads to the bathroom, the cat races ahead and leaps into the sink. What you’re to do, see, is turn the water on a trickle so he can drink from the stream. Front paws in the sink, rear paws on the rim, head under the tap so that the trickle runs over his head, he laps the water from the rim of the drain. It does not matter how many times a day he does this, he is always ready to do it again. If the tap is still trickling from the last time he drank, he’ll still do this. (Because, though beautiful, he’s brainless. He’s a cat.)

He did not do this in our last home. His water bowl, washed and refilled daily, was perfectly sufficient. That, or puddles outside. Because he’s fastidious that way.

This quirk has not been a huge problem. I do get tired of peeing with a cat’s butt in my face, but I can – and do! – just shut him out. This quirk has not been a huge problem, that is, until about six or seven weeks ago.

Darcy, after a year of happy and uneventful toilet usage, is suddenly having pee accidents all over the place. Once a day, sometimes twice. I don’t understand. He says he has to pee, he heads up to the toilet. He’s going just as often as ever. Does he have a bladder infection, perhaps?

Nothing so dire. Darcy has suddenly decided he’s afraid of the cat. Has the cat ever bitten or scratched him? He says not. But now, whenever the cat precedes him to the bathroom, poor Darcy stands, frozen in undecided anxiety in the hallway. Eventually he would give up, intending, I suppose, to try again later.

Did he TELL me about this? Noooo… This is one of the downsides to his quiet, unassuming sweetness. Poor baby.

But it’s a problem for me, because I can’t be leaving the other children downstairs alone to trot up the stairs with Darcy as often as he’ll want to pee. The real problem is baby Nigel. I take him with me when I go, but I don’t want to have to lug him up the stairs umpteen times a day each and every time Darcy has to go as well. And I can’t keep the damned cat out of the bathroom. He’s fast, and he’s obsessed.

What to do? I mull it over for a day or two, then have an inspiration. George has no trouble going to the toilet! George isn’t afraid of the cat! Let George go with him! They are the same age, they have roughly the same bladder capacity. George can be big, brave, and capable, and Darcy can learn that there’s nothing to fear. I’m so brilliant.

“I have to pee, George,” Darcy will announce, and the two little boys tromp up the stairs together for a communal pee. Or George will declare “I’m going up to have a pee. You want to come, Darcy?” It’s kind of sweet, really, all this toddler solidarity. For a month, this works like a charm. No accidents, and Darcy will surely regain his former fearlessness from George’s good example. Brilliant, I tell you!

This week, George started having pee accidents. Guess why? That toddler solidarity drew in the wrong kid!

Now George is afraid of the cat.

May 4, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 17 Comments