Behavioral Therapy, or, The Cat Sat On The Mat

Mr. Ferguson, a prim, correct cat, has undertaken a program of behavioral therapy with his wilful and random girlfriend. Miss Nickel Catmium, wild in ancestry and veteran of a three-month tour in rough country, shares with her breed the disturbing tendency to think outside the box. (This is why people should stop breeding and buying Bengal cats. Not all of them are as lucky as Nickel, who has only a mild palette of alarming traits and found a human who can put up with them; whenever I feel as if my heart hasn’t been broken enough, I read about the Bengals and Savannahs that wild cat sanctuaries have to turn away.)


For longer than I really care to admit, Nickel has been willing to take a whiz in one place and one place only, to wit, a bath mat at the foot of the guest bed. Actually her initial statements in this direction were made sans bath mat, but having a library of the things from Apricat’s senior years, I had a procedure in place and the mats went down; easy to throw in a double-bleach wash, no need to buckle to with a major cleaning project. Amusingly, every time Mr. Ferguson has witnessed this dismaying, but at least manageable, ritual in my presence, he’s immediately marched pointedly to the nearby litter box, dug to China, and shown her how it should be done. It just never took.

About a week ago I walked into the guest room and stopped short. Fergie was ensconced on the bath mat, paws tucked formally under his chest, radiating a Buddha-like serenity.

It happened several more times over the course of the week.

The bath mat remained pristine.

She’s been going somewhere, and it appears to have been, exclusively, the litter box. Does the mat smell like her buddy, whom she finds it rude to pee on? Is he just blocking it when she wants to anoint it? Do I care? It’s working.

Mr. Ferguson, C. S.W., Behavioral Therapist and Love Muffin. I’m having a shingle made.


11 thoughts on “Behavioral Therapy, or, The Cat Sat On The Mat

  1. Ooooo something I’ve been worrying about, actually. Some famous douchette on TV has a Bengal. The LAST thing moronic fashionistas need a a Bengal to match their Chiuahua. I love Spot, hated his mother, and wouldn’t wish a cat with this much personality on anyone who isn’t ready for it.

    Fascinating that Himself has taken on the burden of educating his love interest. I wonder if you can get his help with any other annoying traits?

  2. ….and I clicked your link. I absolutely can NOT tell my hubby about the fur coats. He can’t handle that sort of thing. I physically turned my head away from the screen like a child watching a scary movie.

    Not too many people in Ireland pay money for cats, so I can hope that any Bengals here are owned by good people. However I am about to start looking to see if there are rescue organisations here as I can’t let any Bengals be put down if I can help. You may have just set me on a crazy cat-lover mission.

      • Doesn’t seem to be an issue in Ireland, yet. In fact the biggest hit I got was someone who found a Bengal in Galway with a Fench microchip who did get back to his owner. But I saw a hell of a lot of Bengal kittens for free in Wales and England. Ireland ships greyhounds all over the world, maybe I should have Bengals shipped to me.

  3. When Thérèse was young, long ago, an aunt of hers was a cat lover. She scolded her kids for not flushing the toilet until she, one day, caught the cat doing his thing in the toilet bowl. They all had a good laugh at let the lid up for ever after.

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