We arrived home from Muncie a little over a week ago. Elaine, our 16-year-old calico cat, was waiting for us in her box. Eww, not her litter box. What would be the fun of writing about a cat in a litter box? No, she was waiting for us in the cardboard box at the top of the stairs. This box has become her super-de-dooper cat bed, and while it adds nothing to the general décor of the house, it shall not be removed. It has a history.
Previously Elaine’s furniture consisted of a scratching post. It stood by the sliding glass door and got sprinkled regularly with catnip. She was always very good about using it until the past couple of years when the arthritis in her rear hips and legs made it uncomfortable. We have a sort of split level house, and Elaine always slept at the side of the top of the stairs, too, behind the railing where she could look out over the entry hall and through the tall windows on either side of the door.
One day we emptied out our box from Costco. It was pretty useless as a groceries box, having all four sides cut down to the bottom one and a half inches. I put the groceries away and set the box at the top of the stairs to go down to recycling. The next thing I knew, Elaine was in the box, eyes closed with a blissful expression on her furry snout. Not only did she rest in that box every day, but she scratched the bottom too. Cheapest cat bed/scratching post combo ever. Until . . .
Until that dark day that the cleaners came. They took that box and threw it in the garbage. That evening, Steve took the garbage down to the curb. Oh, no! Too late! I have subsequently fired the cleaners (although not for tossing out the box), but I had to set about finding a new bed for Elaine. I put box after box in the same location, but she was not interested. Then it struck me: she wasn’t interested in a box with high sides, which, let’s face it, most boxes have. Aren’t cats supposed to prefer feeling safely enclosed? I guess she wanted to be able to survey her territory. I took a pair of sturdy scissors to the box and voila! Elaine was happy again.
A couple of months and another trip to Costco, and Steve set down a flat box with 2-inch-high sides next to the kitty bed so that next trip down, we’d take it. Next thing we knew, Elaine was sitting in that box looking very pleased with herself. She never set foot in her customized box again. It’s the new box all the way.