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My Cats Are Addicts: 5 Reasons They Would Land in Rehab

Catnip abuse gets the most publicity, but my cats could 12-step their way off numerous things.

 |  Aug 19th 2013  |   73 Contributions


Just like people, cats are subject to addiction. Catnip receives the most publicity; however there many cats who are running around with lesser known monkeys on their backs. My cats put on a pretty good facade -- most addicts do -- but behind those purrs are cries for help. 

Cosmo's obsession with the bathroom has gotten out of hand.

I've known them long enough to see the patterns and behavior that go along with addiction. Because I care about the well-being of your cats, I'm going to share five of my own cats' fixations with you. Pay close attention and use this information as you examine your own cats' behavior and possible addictions. You're welcome.

1. Chewing tape and anything sticky

The frantic search for tape.

Phoebe is a fanatic over anything sticky. After a shopping trip, she'll watch carefully to see if we pull any stickers off of clothing and mindlessly toss them into the wastebasket. When we're not looking, she dives into the wastebasket, pulls out the sticker and takes off like she's running for her life. Last week, my son took the sticky band off a new pack of socks and she went crazy. I was working downstairs and I heard all kinds of commotion from above. My son shouted, "Grab Phoebe!" A split second later, she flew into the room with the sticky band in her mouth. I grabbed her before she could dive under the futon. It took a team to stop her from a fix that day. It's just that bad.

Packing tape is another favorite. Anytime a package is delivered, I immediately pull off the loose tape and place it in a garbage can with a lid. That doesn't stop her from madly examining every inch of the box, looking for a score. She definitely needs an intervention.

2. Stealing other cats' food 

Saffy: "Must resist."

Saffy is obsessed with any food that's not hers. In fact, she hardly pays attention to her own food because she's so focused on what everyone else is eating. I think she's convinced that they have something better than what's in her bowl. And when she's finished polishing off her own food, she stands behind Cosmo and Phoebe, hoping to intimidate them so they'll scurry off and leave the remains for her. We try to distract her, but she's so manically driven that she's unable to switch gears. Even after the other cats clean their bowls, she swoops in for an inspection.

She needs to spend some time in rehabilitation so she can discover the root of this obsessive behavior. She came to us as a kitten, so she never was a stray. There must be something there. Once she finds closure, she'll be able to find some peace and satisfaction in her own bowl of food.

3. Bathroom obsession

Cosmo: "Where is she???"

Speaking of obsessions, Cosmo is fascinated with all things bathroom. He loves watching me bathe, shower, brush my teeth and take care of business during potty time. He even likes hanging out in there when I'm in another room. And heaven forbid I try to close the door to the bathroom to enjoy a little privacy. He'll have none of it. He could be on the opposite side of the house, crouched in mid-poo position in the litter box and know I've closed the bathroom door. 

During rehabilitation, a therapist will help him see that life does go on ... even outside the loo.

4. Counter-cruising

Saffy: "My precious."

Saffy is a total opportunist when it comes to the kitchen counter. If she can't see us, she's up there in a matter of seconds, scoping out the goods. On a slow day, she might lick a plate that once held a piece of sandwich. On a banner day, she'll find a stick of butter or maybe some leftover pizza. When she hears us coming, she jumps to the floor with a giant thud (she's not a small girl) and acts as if she'd been lying on the kitchen floor the entire time. 

Secrecy is certainly a sign of addiction. She wants to enjoy her fix privately and is embarrassed about her habit. I think rehab, followed by a nice 12-step program would be helpful.

5. Printer 

Phoebe: "Just one more piece ..."

Some cats struggle with an addiction that's fairly easy to feed; however, Phoebe's printer preoccupation is only satisfied when a human clicks the magical "print" button. She sometimes goes days without hearing the sweet sound of the printer warming up. Other times, the machine will continually spit out paper.

It's not just the sound she finds fascinating -- she also gets high on grabbing freshly printed paper from the tray and taking off with it in her mouth. On days when lots of printing is happening, she doesn't sleep, barely eats, and runs on pure adrenaline. Thankfully, at the rehab center, there is an entire wing that is printer-free. 

Why would your cat land in rehab? Tell us about it in the comments! 

About the Author: Angie Bailey is a goofy girl with freckles and giant smile who wants everyone to be her friend. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, and thinking about cats doing people things. Writes Catladyland, a cat humor blog, and authored whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds, a silly book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in comedy web series that may or may not offend people. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food.

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