How our kittens civilized us

Our previous cats were barn cats and alley cats. I would have thought that being somewhat wild, they would have required us to change our lifestyle a lot to accommodate them. Surpringly, it has been our hand-raised kittens that have required the most changes.

I think our kittens are so comfortable with people and houses that they think nothing of getting into whatever they want. The other cats were always still a bit uncertain about indoor life, so kept to a few known places and behaviors.

For instance, after years of asking my husband to keep our bedroom closet doors closed, once one of the kittens peed on his backpack laying on the closet floor, the closet doors suddenly are always closed. (I guess my clothes being covered in cat hair by one of our previous cats who used to like to hide in the closet wasn’t motivating enough to him…)

Our bed, while not perfectly madeup every morning, gets a brief putting together – no more comforters or blankets hanging off at precarious angles and traling onto the floor. If the bed is relatively smooth, and the floor is clear, all is well. Otherwise, someone thinks, “I could pee on that.” New blankets and comforters are expensive!

Toilet lids must be put down. I don’t need a drowned cat or a sick cat. Their water dish is finally getting better use! I guess the previous cats had a fish tank to drink out of, and then a cat fountain when the fish died. Both of those are a lot of work to keep up, but our barn cat refused to drink still water, so I had no choice. Our kittens were fine with drinking from their water dish when we first got them. They are fine with it again.

All dirty dishes must be put in the kitchen, and put in the dishwasher or cleaned ASAP. I think our other cats, for sure our barn cat, also got into dirty dishes, but they were much quieter about it, so got by with it easily. These kittens have not yet learned to be so stealthy.

All savory foods, including potato chips, bread, etc. must be properly stored in something sturdier than a plastic bag. Our other cats would go after unattended meat or dairy products, but didn’t care about anything else. One of our kittens, in particular, loves bread, chips, crackers. We have lost many a hamburger bun to her little claws and teeth ripping through the bread bag.

All dirty clothes must be safely stored in clothes hampers. The kids don’t always follow this rule, but they keep their bedroom doors closed, so at least the dirt is out of public view. But I added a lidded dirty clothes hamper to the top of the dryer, as I was concerned that the cats would think, “oooh, a smelly pile of damp stuff – I could pee on that.”

All shoes, coats, backpacks, really, any cloth-like substance must be properly stored in a closet or on a hook. Anything on the ground that can soak up pee, will be peed on. It is so nice walking through the house and not seeing coats, music bags, dance bags, swim bags, backpacks, lunch bags and numerous pairs of shoes, mittens, socks, hats, etc, strewn about.

Because, as you may have noticed, one of our cats did not like going all the way down to the basement to use the litter box, the guest bathroom on the main floor is cleaner than usual. I have to regularly vacuum the floor to contain the litter that gets tracked out of the box that is now also in that upstairs bathroom.

So, thank you, kittens, for helping me civilize my family!

Published by

Heather Holbrook

I found out that I have Autism upon having a son with the same "disorder." Ironically, I was voted, "Most Likely to Succeed," by my high school classmates. But had I been born now, instead of 40+ years ago, I would have been considered a different sort of special. This site was started to encourage other Autistics and the people who love them .

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