Saturday, 13 June 2009

I Have A Very Clever Cat

This is Tink. She is my cat.

She is a Balinese (a long-haired Siamese), and for several years she served as a breeding queen for a breeder who no longer wanted her once she was too old to reproduce. She came to me then: she was a bag of bones, scared of everything, and knew nothing of Other Rooms, let alone The Great Outdoors.

She has lived with us for three years now, but is very timid still. She never introduces herself to visitors, she can slalom higher than the light-switches if she feels she needs to avoid anything, and she has the most mournful meow that I’ve ever heard. To comfort herself, she chews plastic bags; and she collects all the rubber tyres from my sons’ toy cars and drowns them in her water-bowl.

Despite all this wimpishness, this week Tink has revealed herself as Super Cat. Because she has decided to start using the toilet.

Yep, you read that right. She has decided, all on her own, to use the toilet.

She was first spotted doing it last Sunday; we thought it was a fluke. On Tuesday she did it again; and since then, she’s been a regular visitor to the smallest room in the house. This morning she woke me up at six AM with her ablutions, and she’s used the toilet twice more already.

She's very neat in her approach. She jumps up onto the seat; faces the back and straddles; dips her elegant, furry bottom just a little below the seat; and wees. Once she’s finished she turns around, checks all is OK; and jumps off. She has never missed or left the seat wet, and I’m sure she’d flush if she could operate the lever.

I hope that she’ll teach the other three cats to do the same. I wonder if anyone else has a cat who has decided to do this, all on its own, without any training or encouragement; and I just wish that my children and my husband were so reliable.

Clever Tink.

(And here's another of our cats, especially for Lynn Price: not only do I have a very clever cat, I also have a very useful one. This is Mabel, our very slightly brain-damaged Siamese, who wouldn't pee in the toilet if you paid her but who will serve as a coaster if you ask her nicely.)


none said...

I've never had a cat learn to do this, but I have seen Actual Video Footage of other cats who have learnt it.

S'pretty neat, no?

Teresa Ashby said...

What a brilliant and beautiful cat she is!
I've never had a cat that could use the loo, but I had one, bless him, who used to hang his bum over the edge of the cat tray and poo all over the floor!
Then he'd spend ages covering up the empty hole in the cat litter before walking away all pleased with himself.

Loren Eaton said...

I. Am. In. AWE.

Precision Grace said...

Very clever cat. Sorry to hear she is wimpish, poor thing.

Mine have attempted to drink from the toilet. I wasn't very impressed.

Clever, clever girl deserves lots of cuddles.

Katy said...

Wonderful. She sounds like a truly talented cat.

I had a cat who learned to wee in the kitchen sink. Not quite as charming...

Chicklit Addict said...

Ha ha reminds me of the cat in meet the Fockers that also used the toilet - similar breed too, a long haired Siamese.
That cat flushed, but I suspect that's just camera trickery.
I would suggest getting a video of Tink and posting it on You Tube, but she looks like the kind of cat that wouldn't appreciate the violation of her dignity.

Jane Smith said...

She's just done it again. She is really rather wonderful!

I did want to take a photo of her in action, and thought of YouTube: but the bathroom she favours is the little en suite attached to our bedroom, and it has no natural light; so I'd have to set up lots of lights to capture a good recording of her; and I'm concerned that doing so would put her off and I really don't want to discourage her now!

I've also seen footage of other cats using toilets; and I've read accounts online of people who have trained their cats to do this, but it seems to take months of dedication to get them to consider it. Tink has just decided to do it, all on her own. I have no idea why.

Teresa, I've had cats just like yours; and Katy, at least your cat didn't just wee behind the TV like one of mine used to.

We're hoping Tink will now team up with Louie, another of our cats (a big, young Ragdoll) who DRINKS from the toilet, like Grace's cat did. He also routinely clambers into the shower with us while we're showering. He likes to lick the water off the shower curtain; he gets sopping wet every morning and as he's long-haired, he needs to dry off... which he does by rolling around on my bed. Bless him. Perhaps Tink can teach him a few nicer manners.

Nicola Slade said...

'Katy, at least your cat didn't just wee behind the TV like one of mine used to.'

Or on the bed. We went to bed Christmas Eve wondering what the odd smell was but to be honest I put it down to my husband's old trainers (as you do). Nope, Christmas morning was when we realised there was a connection between the smell and the suddenly visible (though not previously noticed) large damp patch on the duvet.
Dear little moggies.

Jan Jones said...

Well, what a VERY clever Tink!

Perhaps it's one-upmanship? A sort of "Ha - you may have learnt litter-tray-management from your parents but I have learnt it from my humans!".

I won't tell you where Smudge used to pee, but I suspect it is not unconnected with the black mould in the dining room. The one with all the books.

Anonymous said...

Jane, when it comes to your animals, nothing surprises me. Frankly, I think it has something to do with the water in your well. You really should put up that hysterical pic of your cat with the beer bottle on his head. That poor thing looks so patient, and I can just imagine the lot of you laughing hysterically.

karen wester newton said...

Well, after all, her name is Tink. Short for Tinkle, I assume?

Jane Smith said...

There, Lynn. I've added the photo of Mabel especially for you. Now you can see her in greater detail. And if you're not careful I'll post the photo of her in a popsock. She looks like a terrorist.

Diane J. said...

Oh my! Can I borrow Tink and have her teach my two beasts? We have a black cat with medium length hair (Spook) who is half kidding. If you get upset with him, he'll go hop on the Tv and hang his head and pout and once when my husband got quite angry with him (Spook gets a bit pushy with wanting love, he'll swipe you if you stop petting him because he's licking.) My husband (gently) tossed Spook off the counter, but he yelled at him to quit licking prior to the toss. Spook went right downstairs and weed in his work box. And he will get in a knock-down drag-out fight over Ritz crackers, he loves those crackers. You have to put him the garage or outside to stay safe if you plan on opening some Ritz.

I love to hear about cats and their different manners. Love Tink, and the name of the other escapes me right now...the coaster boy, what a sweetie! I would love to see a pic of the Ragdoll.

It's not on the same level, but I had to pay homage on my blog to a cat we just recently lost...Clyde. There are pictures of Spook and Sophie mixed in with Clyde. at (I guess you can just link through on my brain is slowwww today.) All three of the March entries are in regards to Clyde.

Sheila Norton said...

OMG - what an amazing cat you have! I've just told my Burmese, Charlie, about her, and he looked at me with disdain (as only cats can), flicked his tail and went back to perform his ablutions in my husband's vegetable patch as per normal. Obviously he only does this to achieve maximum annoyance from Himself. I identified, too, with previous comments about pooing over the edge of the litter tray (that was a cat, not me), and - drinking from the toilet? My dog used to do it - and made a hell of a mess all over the floor. For ages I blamed my husband, until I caught the dog in the act!

Anonymous said...

BWAHAHAHAHA! Oh dear, thank you, Jane. That Mabel is a kitteh after my heart.

catdownunder said...


Marion Gropen said...

I haven't had a cat do that (and you're absolutely right about her brilliance!), but my father had one that would flush the toilet. Repeatedly. In the middle of the night.

I understand that Siamese are some of the smartest cats. Perhaps she took a look at the litter box and then at the toilet, and decided that she liked the lack of smell and the clean feet better.

Alternatively, she may be copying the dominant animals in her pride: you folks. Cats do that, especially the timid ones. It's a survival strategy.

Whatever the explanation, she's a wonderful girl.

Unknown said...

My cat (a Tonkinese, which is a cross between Burmese and Siamese) uses the toilet from time to time. He also learned on his own. He surprised and startled us all with this trick of his He very much takes after the Siamese half of his heritage.

Bunny Hills said...

Maybe Tink learned this from her prior owners? Whatever the case may be, she's incredible!

theorist said...

Just when I thought this blog couldn't get any better...

Jane Smith said...

Olivia, Burmese cats are lovely: so beautiful, and so clever. I've never had one but covet them madly. I've been told they have a higher-than-average tendency to bite just a little bit, and to eat wool (and was once asked if I could rehome a Burmese who had a habit of sneaking into people's houses and stealing socks and jumpers, and taking them home: I had to turn him down but still wonder if he's still nicking jumpers).

Marion, it's a shame that your father's cat couldn't get together with Tink (who is lying across my arms as I try to type this). Between them, they have the whole package.

Carolyn, Tonkineses are extraordinarily pretty! I have a soft spot for all the oriental cats. Does he have a Siamese or a Burmese voice, do you think? I have often wondered how Tonks talk.

Bunny, Tink has lived with us for two or three years now, and couldn't have learned this with her previous owners as I don't think she had access to a bathroom--she was kept in a very restricted area, so I believe, as a breeding queen.

And Theorist: thank you. I find it funny that I work hard to write professional posts about publishing then this one gets more hits than all the others put together!