Life in a Cat house

Stan Johnson - Life in a Cat House

Our cat Ozrow got caught out in the rain one morning last week. To him that pretty much tops the horror of horrors list.

It was nothing more than a light shower to me. To him it was only a notch below the end of the world.

He was under the roof overhang so he really wasn’t getting the full force of the shower.

It would be a major understatement to say Ozrow doesn’t like water for any reason other than to drink it. My wife, Vivian, says the cat is afraid he will melt if he gets even slightly damp. I pointed out to him that our dog, Homerbucky, was sitting in the rain and not even noticing it. He did not care about what a dog was doing. He was into self-preservation and that meant avoiding any chance of getting wet.

I let him in and he stood in the middle of the kitchen floor shaking off the few small drops of water that hit him. He actually looked dry but must have gotten a tiny amount of water on him.

Most cats have a serious aversion to water, although there are exceptions. We once had a big white and black cat named Spanky that loved getting wet. He’d sit in the rain just like the dog was doing and he enjoyed every drop that fell. We had to give him a flea bath one time and he loved it. He also wanted to get in the shower with people.

You don’t see many cats like Spanky. Most of them are more like Ozrow and run for cover at the slightest hint of moisture that might get on them.

Because so many of them seem to dislike water, people assume cats can’t swim. That isn’t true. Cats can swim just fine if they want to, or if they fall into water and have to do it. In hot climates, cats often intentionally go into streams to cool off.

Cat experts say the dislike of water is probably learned instead of being a natural instinct. A lot of people spray kittens with water bottles to teach them not to do things the owners don’t want them doing, like clawing curtains. That teaches them to associate water with punishment and it’s a lesson they never forget.

I am not a cat expert but I have lived with a lot of them and I think it’s just part of their nature to have a dislike of water. At least it appears that way to me.

What is odd about Ozrow is he doesn’t seem to mind snow. There can be several inches of snow on the ground and he will leap right of the deck and into it. I still remember the first time he saw snow one morning. He wanted to go outside and when Vivian opened the door to show him the snow he only paused a moment before he waded right into it.

When he comes inside after a romp in the snow he’ll shake a couple of times and that’s it. He doesn’t act like he is being tortured the way he does if he is rained on.

I didn’t mean to leave him out in the rain the other morning. I didn’t know Vivian had let him out. I suppose he will eventually forgive me for leaving him to suffer. He made it plain it better not happen again, though.