March 25, 2010


Why do cats like litter boxes?

A question that has been on my mind for quite a while now. Six cats. Three litter boxes. One on the 4th floor, one on the 3rd floor, and one on the staircase BETWEEN the 3rd and 4th floors. But for some reason, my cats, not just one or two, but ALL of them, love to play in the one on the 3rd floor.

Granted, this box just happens to be in my office. When I’m working, they are always here somewhere, sitting on the shelves, beside the coffee machine, next to the window, in my lap… but as soon as one decides he (or she) has to use the box, they all have to use it! Kind of reminds me of my Junior High School… I’ll get to that one in a few minutes.

Arabela and Cornelia love to get in there, and just lay down. Yuck. With all the other cat poo-poo and pee-pee, I cannot understand this reason. Then again, I’m not a cat! Eloise on the other hand, loves to sit on top, or rather ‘perch’ on top watching the little door for when Arabela or Cornelia exit. Then she attacks! She sits on it like Snoopy sits on his dog house in the Peanuts cartoons. He acts like a vulture or something?? Well, picture that, and you’ll see Eloise.

Simba… he is another weird one. When he does his duty, he’s got to dig and dig and dig. We used to say as kids something about digging a hole to China. Well, I swear he’s trying to dig a hole to CANADA! I wish he’d hurry up and finish so I can go see my family! But he will spend at least 10 minutes digging and digging. Drives me crazy sometimes.

Gabriel. Well, Gabriel ALWAYS has to be the first one to use the litter box when it’s been emptied, or when new litter is added or changed. The other cats seem to understand this ‘unwritten’ rule. They will not, even if I put them in it, will run out and not do anything until after Gabriel has ‘christened’ it! About once a week (usually), I change all three boxes whether they need it or not. Then, as each one is refilled, Gabriel goes in. Whether or not he does anything, once he’s been in, sniffed around, dug a bit, and out, then there’s a mad dash by the others. Actually kind of funny to watch.

Back to Junior High. What I find most interesting about teaching these kids, is their bathroom practices. Where shall I start. Okay, let’s take today as an example.

The students in the first class, come from the 2nd floor. As they come up to my classroom on the 4th floor, as I found out, they have to pass by AT LEAST three washrooms. They also have a choice of which staircase to come up, which means they could actually be passing upwards of six washrooms. That is, six washrooms for boys, and six for girls, since they are next door to each other. Okay.

Class begins at 8:20. They meander their way from class at about 8:10 to go up to the 4th floor. Now, I’m 48 years old. I’m not young anymore, even though I may look and WANT to feel it, but I can climb those two sets of stairs in less than 2 minutes. And by the way, I’m at the age now where I don’t run! So, if an old fart like me can climb upstairs in less than 3 minutes, then I would assume that 12 and 13 year old kids can do it in less time.

They come into my classroom, drop off their books, chit chat for the next 7 minutes, and then, just before the bell rings, come over to me and ask if they can go to the washroom. Are you mad? You passed by six washrooms and you couldn’t remember or think to use at least ONE of them? No, sit down!

Then I proceed to tell them a somewhat over-exaggerated story of when I was a kid.

When we go on a trip, and in particular the one that comes to mind, is gramma and granpa Ellis, the trip would basically be an all day adventure. I won’t go into all the ‘fun’ we had, but I will tell you about the beginnings.

I can clearly hear, as if it happened yesterday, my father telling my two brothers and me to “GO PEE!” Of course, the answer was always, “But I don’t have to go.” Dad would then say, “GO PEE! We won’t be stopping until we get to the Quebec border.” Like that would ever happen. I realize now the absurdity in that statement, because that would mean mom and dad would have to ‘hold it’ for a good 8 hours!

Nonetheless, we’d go into the bathroom, putter around, play with the water, and then flush the toilet, just to make mom and dad think that we had gone. Okay, they weren’t stupid. They knew what was going on.

We’d get in the car at 5:00 am or something like that, and within a half hour, one of us would be asking when we’d be stopping because, “I really have to go.” Dad would tell us we’d have to wait, and told us that we should have gone when he told us. Mom would say something like, “Cross your legs,” or something to that effect. However, at the first rest stop, after tears practically pushing themselves out of our eyes, and the taste of, well, you know, in the back of our throats (not really, but it sounds good, huh?), dad would pull into the rest stop, and we’d make a mad dash to the bathroom.

So this is the story I tell the class, but I tell it would enthusiasm, slowly, so they understand each and every word. Just as I see that the student who asked to go is practically gagging on the, well you know (not really, but it sounds good, huh?), I tell them to go.

Now the second part to this is that two girls always have to go together. Their reason? They might be attacked in the washroom. I asked one time, has this ever happened at this school. No, but they have heard stories. Yeah, urban legends! So, I’ve begun a rule. If a girl has to go, and she MUST take someone with her, then the same rule applies for the boys! Great laughter, but NOT ONE BOY has asked to go to the bathroom since the first day of class!

Hmmm… I wonder why?

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