My Husband and I Disagree on How Long to Leave a Box Out for the Cats


My husband John and I love our cats like crazy. They have so many toys, store-bought as well as homemade. When they demand snuggles or the occasional treat, we usually drop everything and obey … just like good cat parents. When bags, boxes, or baskets become available, we make them accessible to our kitties. We agree on almost everything when it comes to serving our family felines. The one point of contention is what “rules” govern how long a basket, bag, or box remains on the floor for the cats.

And one note to everyone: We supervise all play with handled bags or we tear off the handles if they’re going to stick around awhile — we don’t want anyone getting hurt.

Me: “The cats love it when we come home from the grocery store with bags. What cat doesn’t? I’ll usually scatter them around the kitchen and sprinkle the insides with catnip. They dive right in.”

John: “I agree. The cats love the bags for about half an hour, and then they go sleep off the catnip buzz somewhere else.”

This is true. Sometimes. But who am I to know whether they’ll return later? How sad would they be if they woke up and remembered the awesome bags in the kitchen, then went back only to find them gone?

Me: “You’d feel terrible, wouldn’t you?”

John: “They wouldn’t remember. They had their fun and moved on.”

Me: “How do you know?”

John: “They told me.”

So it’s not that he is against bags on the floor — he’s pro-bag — he just doesn’t want the bags there forever.

Me: “How long is forever?”

John: “When they’re finished playing in them.”

Me: “Agree to disagree.”

Next up is the laundry basket — the holy grail of cat comfort! Our Phoebe has a magical laundry magnet for a nose. She can be on the other side of the house and sense when a fresh basket of warm laundry is within a five-room radius. She immediately pounces in the basket, preventing us from folding clothes. Darn. She’ll snuggle up in the basket bed for hours.

John: “Too long in the baskets.”

Me: “Okay, what are the basket regulations?”

John: “When the clothes are no longer warm, we get to fold them.”

Me: “I think she can stay as long as she wants — I can fold clothes later.”

John: “You fold clothes?”

Me: “Touch├®.”

He says he believes cats should hand over the basket after the warmth has worn off, but I’ve seen cats lying in full laundry baskets all day. He talks a big talk.

John: “Well, they do look comfortable.”

Me: “Sucker.”

Boxes are probably the biggest subject of dispute. When we get something in the mail or visit Costco, the cats gather ’round to inspect the boxes. Then they vie for who gets to lie in them first — it’s usually Phoebe. Over the next hour or so, each cat has had a turn in the box and, although they may walk away for one reason or another, they always come back. Boxes are prime real estate around here. Once a sweet little cardboard number is on the market, the paper bags are suddenly shantyville.

Me: “How long for a box?”

John: “Depends on the box.”

Me: “Explain.”

John: “If it’s out of the way, it can stay a week or even longer. I just don’t want to keep tripping over it.”

Me: “Like the trolley.”

John: “Like the trolley.”

Oh, the trolley. The trolley is still a sore subject. One day a few years ago, we returned from Costco with a rectangular purple box that once held “fresh cut fruit.” It was love at first sight for Phoebe, who immediately plopped inside and claimed it. She wouldn’t allow the other cats near it, and it became her little fort for slightly longer than the the “week or more.” It was parked in the kitchen for months. We called it “the trolley” because when Phoebe was loafed inside it, she looked like she was riding a little cable car.

Me: “Remember how we used to feed her in the trolley?”

John: “She demanded it. She got to a point where she wouldn’t eat unless we fed her in the trolley. It became a feeding station.”

Me: “She slept in it, ate in it, and played in it. It was adorable.”

John: “Until food and stuff kept falling off the counter and inside the box. It became kind of stained after a while.”

You see, the trolley lived against the end of the kitchen counter, so scraps would ocasionally fall inside the thing.

John: “It was flush against the counter, but it jutted out into an already narrow section of the kitchen.”

Me: “It was kind of tight, but we managed — she just loved it. And I thought the placement was great. Really, there was nowhere else it could have gone. Our kitchen isn’t that large.”

John: “After a week or two, it could have been recycled.”

Me: “True, and we eventually did recycle it.”

John: “After it got so dirty and all of us kept falling over it.”

Phoebe was a little sad at first, but we got her a smaller one and she made peace with the passing of the trolley.

Me: “Admit it — you kind of miss the trolley. It was kind of cute.”

John: “It was cute.”

Me: “I do have to go to Costco this week.”

John: “I don’t miss it that much.”

Do you and your partner or roommate disagree on anything cat-related? Tell us about it in the comments!

Read more posts by Angie Bailey:

ÔÇó 6 Ways My Cats Are WAY Cooler Than Me
ÔÇó 6 College Degrees for Cats
ÔÇó How to Speak Cat: Welcome to the Secret World of Cat Lingo

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