soon he’ll learn to drive

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.

11 Replies to “soon he’ll learn to drive”

  1. Hi there,

    Been reading for quite a while, but this post finally forced me to delurk.

    I enjoy all of your posts, but the cat ones never fail to make me giggle! I got my cat at around the same time as you got your two, and he seems very similar to Marco.

    Anyway, just wanted to say hello. So…um…hello! And good luck with the cat-proofing.

  2. The image of Fat Boy lying in the cat food bag is just priceless. My cat likes to go in the cupboards just to nose around (she is not smart enough to open them, she sneaks in when I’m looking for something in there), but she immediately gets freaked out by the dark and turns around in a panic to escape. Ray sometimes shuts the door just to see what will happen. Most of the time she noses her way out with eyes like saucers – but one time she stayed in there and sat in a pot quite comfortably.

  3. The ravens have a “marching band” and from what I hear it’s not as cool as you might think. We have some alums in the band too.

  4. my cat can open cabinet doors like that, too. bump, bump, bump. but she does it from the bottom. and i try and keep her from the kitchen sink things, too. she doesn’t do it a lot, but i think she does it when she’s bored.

  5. Ginny: Chris said that the Ravens marching band is pretty laid back, but I don’t really see how getting to play 8 ravens games in purple uniforms on sunday afternoons could ever be any less cool than I might think (especially judging from the photos).

    You’re still in school, right? Wait until you’ve graduated 6 years ago like me. You’ll understand.

  6. My kitty also used to open cabinet doors, only she did it from the side. Bump, bump, bump with each try until she got it open. It got to where I’d hear her and yell, “Ellie!” She would then stop and pretend she wasn’t doing anything of the sort.

  7. Yeah i’m still in school, but I should have graduated like 3 years ago. And i guess it could be slightly cool… but it’s … the ravens…. and I already know full well what it’s like to play football games in a purple uniform :) so that doesn’t excite me much.

    Now.. if it was a Denver Broncos marching band? We’d be having a totally differnet conversation.

    I’m just a band snob… no one will ever be better in my mind then the MRDs.

  8. Dude, I’m a Bears fan all the way, myself. And I know Lorie from band, so I know the purple wearing–which is why I would want to do it again. I really do think it will change once you are away from the band a few more years.

    But see, I also want to do this:


  9. I also think that there was no idea here that the Ravens band would be better than NUMB. They have a pretty fluid membership and it’s a bunch of people who aren’t in school, who have adult lives.

    But the idea that you’d get to play for an NFL teamand be part of a rich history (that dates to the original colts band) is pretty rad.

  10. Oh this is freaking hilarious. Marco and my Tank are so much alike, which makes me love your cat posts even more.

    Tank likes to open up the cabinets from the side. I’m not sure how he started doing this, and why it’s only him (and not my other cat Kitty Burrito as well) that does this. The thing with our place is that we have PLENTY of cabinet space (in the kitchen, in the bedrooms, in the bathrooms) but nothing to in them, so when Scott and I get home from work in the evenings we walk around the entire apartment counting the number of cabinet doors that are open. The most I’ve counted is five. :)

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