Eddie and the Big Bucket

I’ve mentioned that we use a charcoal burning barbecue.  Doing so, we have to be careful as they can become a fire hazard on a wooden deck.  Of course we never leave it unattended, but as an extra precaution, we keep a source of water close at hand while using it.

So with the first barbeque of the summer, Nick filled a dirty old bucket that we used around the yard transporting compost and such. It first entered our home as the container of a new kind of kitty litter we were trying out.

Well, I’m telling you … you should have seen BoyCat’s excitement over this new and abundant source of water!  He got more excited about it than I’ve ever seen him before. This bucket had him talking! He squawked and chirped about it for a week, as if he was trying to tell us, “Hey everybody, did you see all this water? Come on … get some, there’s plenty for all of us!”

Now, that’s a dirty bucket, right?! The next day I got out the hose, scrub brush and rubber gloves to clean it, out in the yard. Ed was very interested in what was happening to his bucket so stood by to watch the whole thing. So close that he would get sprayed and run away! And come back again. Then, when it was all nice and clean, he would NOT drink from it. I thought I had ruined it. It took him a day or two to decide it was still good stuff but he eventually did! [phew .. thought I had ruined it. Bad bucket karma.]

This chit chatting of his made us laugh, as he’s not usually a very vocal cat.  When he’s hungry he just sits quietly near his bowl until one of us notices him.  Really the only time that he vocalizes is when we open the door to let him in from being outside.  He never fails to say hello upon entering the house.

We have only ever seen this degree of excitement from him a couple of times when he had found the bathtub filled.  There seems to be something about a large amount of water that he finds worth discussing. (And in case you’re wondering if he might like an actual bath now and again, the answer is no. He really does not like that!)

Since we got Eddie from the street, during his hard living days, he is bound to have gone through periods when he was unable to get a drink of clean water.  I imagine this is where this behavior stems from.

Now he drinks from the big bucket with relish. As soon as we open the door to let him out he makes a beeline for it. While we’re hanging out on the deck he has a big drink every half hour or so, with his tongue flapping away to lap it up.

We are happy about this, as it is very important to a cat’s health to get them to drink a lot of water. Without going into excess detail, it helps stave off the most common cause of death to felines. Just over a year ago, we got a big scare when Ed became ill with what appeared to be this problem. He had to spend 2 nights at the animal hospital!  At the time I read everything I could find on the health problems of cats and discovered that any problem related to their plumbing was quite serious. I prepared for the worse as it seemed unlikely that he would get better. My close friends knew that things were not good and were so sweet about asking about him. And one day, my boss at the time, Dan, called me at home to find out how he was, which was so considerate.

Eddie endured two rounds of antibiotics, another afternoon stay at the hospital and many pain pills. We were sad.

But you know how this all turned out because I’m able to write about him a year later! He seems to be in fine health these days. He must have had an infection for a while that we just didn’t know about, until it became absolutely obvious that something was wrong. Another thing I discovered about cats in my research is that they have an extremely high tolerance to pain. So, while his symptoms were the same as the more serious and fatal problem, he must have been healed by the antibiotics.

Since this ordeal we’ve known that we have to try to get him to drink plenty of water. Before the Big Bucket, we had become quite creative in our attempts to entice him, with a variety of bowls, made of different materials in different sizes, in case that effected how much he would take. One thing we found that worked was the ‘secret’ water bowl, which involved putting it in new and unusual places for him to find. It seemed that if he hunted it down, he would drink it!

Winter will be here soon enough and water left outdoors will freeze, so we have been discussing what to do about the Big Bucket. We have decided that it will come indoors, and live in the shower stall in our guest bathroom. So guests, please don’t be alarmed when Eddie comes knocking at the door!