Why Mr. Bean Won’t Win the Local Spelling Bee by Jessica McColl

Mr. Bean, Beanie, Bean Bag, BEAN [in Young Miss’ baby speak] is a large, goofy, loveable silver tabby. This is so fortunate. In most other aspects of his life he is a total dunce.

I often exclaim ‘there is just something not quite right about him’ to which my family laughs and my vet shrugs and says he is perfectly healthy.

But he does silly things. VERY silly things.

Let me enlighten you, he falls off the back of the couch, he consistently thinks my bookmark [which sports the eyes of a tabby cat] is an actual real cat, he fights the mark on the wall every few days, tries to hide in places far too small for his frame – resulting in him becoming stuck, the list goes on.

When we first got him as a nine-week-old kitten, he wasn’t totally litter trained. He was the product of an unwanted litter belonging to a family cat [read: DESEX YOUR PETS] and was therefore dropped off at the local shelter with all of his siblings. The whole litter was adopted in the first weekend, they tell me. Mr. Bean’s second family were looking for a cat to accompany their six-year-old cat. They introduced them by letting them romp together all weekend. The issue with this slap bang approach to introducing a new feline family member resulted in poor baby Beanie being attacked all weekend. He was promptly re-surrendered on Monday, as it was “too disturbing” for his new family to witness. Fast forward a week, and I went to the shelter on my day off. I often visited to cuddle the shelter cats. On this occasion I wanted to discuss getting a friend for Macy.

As I sat in the kitten room, Mr. Bean jumped straight on my lap, onto my shoulder and when he tried to follow me out the room, I knew he had chosen me. A quick call to the ever-obliging new husband and Bean came home with me. I followed the book exactly in terms of introductions. Mr. Bean was isolated for ten days while I slowly introduced them. Problem was, the stress of being in his third home took its toll on the wee boy. He began to poop outside his litter box; he even pooped blood, a sign of extreme stress in cats.

Once we got that sorted he has been pretty good about using the litter box. I no longer use multiple litter boxes because both Macy and Mr. Bean prefer to use the same one. I also always use hooded litter trays. When we first got Macy she was tiny and couldn’t use the door flap of the tray so I have always been in the habit of removing the door when I get a new tray.

Mr. Bean developed a truly charming habit recently. I first noticed it when I walked into the dark laundry one night and stepped into a puddle. Yes. He peed on the floor next to the litter box. I couldn’t work out why, nothing had changed that I could think of, and he didn’t show signs of stress, and the litter and box were the same. I googled, I consulted the Feline Foundation’s own Sarah, my dear friend and unofficial consultant on all things cat. It was truly baffling.

Then one day I caught him in the act. He was actually standing in the litter box and peeing straight out the door. I had a real life cat fountain in my house.

Joy.

Inappropriate toileting is completely different to having bad aim.

 I googled again, all these solutions: cut up a storage container so it is deeper [a ‘see through toilet’ – Pristine Macy will love that] a really deep tray, a bigger tray [bigger than our pre existing extra large?!], a puppy wee mat outside the litter door – it all made my head spin.

I actually used the most unremarkable solution. I bought a new hooded litter tray and decided it was time they both learnt to use the door. That way Mr. Bean’s urine would hit the door at worst. 

Macy went straight in, used it and came out like she had been doing it all her life. Macy has that cluey feline nature. I always think to myself that if she were on the mean streets again, she would have a fantastic set of survival skills that would emerge and she would be stealthy and unfathomable.

I showed Beanie how to use it initially, as it totally baffled him. After using it for about a week or so there have been no waterworks out the door, I am pleased to announce.

However yesterday, Beanie went in and couldn’t work out how to get back out.  If he were to be a street cat, he wouldn’t last five seconds.

This my feline loving friends, is why he won’t be willing a spelling bee.

Mr. Bean checking the mark on the wall is staying put while the rest of the family relaxes.

Mr. Bean checking the mark on the wall is staying put while the rest of the family relaxes.

Sarah MenziesComment