When I was a kid, we had a black cat who was originally named Butterball, and then Rascal, and finally Fat Boy, which is the name he hung onto until he mysteriously disappeared sometime in the late 90s. Fat Boy was a heifer, weighing in somewhere around 23 pounds at the time of his disappearance, and one of the reasons he got that fat was because he learned how to open cabinet doors.
When Fat Boy was fed at his actual bowl, he was so lazy that he’d lie down on the floor and rest his head on the edge of the bowl, so as to binge with minimal effort. But he was always up for another meal. My parents used to keep the cat food in its bag under the kitchen sink. Fat Boy learned to open the cabinet door and spent many a blissful evening lying inside the cat food bag eating until he passed out. Mom and Dad put child locks on all the cabinet doors, and it was only a matter of time before Fat Boy figured out how to release the child lock and get into the cabinet anyway. Eventually he got a urinary tract blockage that nearly killed him, and had to go on this crazy expensive food that you could only get at the vet. That food came in a sealed plastic bucket, like DUH, and though this helped keep him from midnight snacking, he never lost the weight.
Until this week, I’d never seen another cat open a cabinet door. But now Marco has figured it out.
I think he discovered this little trick when he was locked in the bathroom overnight during Poopfest ’06, because when I went to let him out in the morning, both of the cabinet doors in the bathroom were wide open. I didn’t really think much of it because I knew he was desperate to escape, and whatever. So he opened the cabinet doors.
But then I kept noticing that the doors under the kitchen sink were open, and for a few days I thought I was just absentmindedly forgetting to close them all the way.
And then last night I was sitting on the couch when I heard a buBUMP buBUMP buBUMP coming from the other room. I went in to check it out, just in time to see Marco hook his paw around the cabinet door and pull it open.
The funniest thing is the way he goes about doing it. Whereas Fat Boy would lie on the floor and hook the door from the bottom, Marco opens it from the top like a person would. He’s a very large cat, so he stands on his hind legs and braces one paw on the top of the counter, and then with the other paw he pats the door until it bounces open enough for him to hook it and pull it all the way. It’s kind of fascinating to see how cleverly he accomplishes this. I tried for almost an hour last night to get a picture of him but never did.
He doesn’t seem to be getting in there on a specific mission for anything. I think he just thinks it’s fun. The problem is that I keep cleaners, chemicals, and the trash can under the sink. I can’t put the trash can anywhere else, but I’ve moved the chemicals and such to higher cabinets until I get child locks. Because now I have to get child locks.
If I had lever doors I feel certain that he’d be opening them at will. As it is, I fear he’s going to master doorknobs pretty soon, in which case I’m going to start sending him over to McDonald’s to get a me a shake now and then.