by VINCENT CARDEGIN
AWARD WINNING COLUMNIST
The other week I watched a video on my phone about some guy who put aluminum foil on his kitchen counters to prevent his cat from hopping up there. I’ve spent my life with cats, recently reluctantly, so the brief recording was only mildly interesting; I’d seen cats react that way from many other situations. And I can assure the videographer (or should that be phoneographer?) that his cat will quickly learn to ignore and walk around, and even on, the foil.
But I certainly understand the desire to keep catbox paws off counters and tables and everything else. It’s tricky. I clap my hands and hiss. I can make the sounds of adult cats challenging each other, but I don’t want to scare my wife’s pets. They’ve never been outside and don’t know about such things. So I only hiss (more like a “fisst”) and occasionally slap my hands together. I’d rather not do that because my hands don’t like it, so I might get one of those Quaker Oats shaped house computers and program it to scare the cats for me:
“Alexa (I’d rename the device Dimtwit) remove the cats from the dining room table.”
“Okay, Vince, I will now hiss and clap.”
Of course, they would quickly learn to jump off any forbidden surface as soon as they hear me say Dimtwit. Cats only pretend to not understand human language.
Mainly I don’t want them sleeping in my easy chair. That’s my space. There should be no hint of them there, no hairs, no possibility of fleas, no warm spot—I want my chair at room temperature when I sit down. So I invented Cat Cardboard. It’s like Fly Paper but not as sticky.
I got the idea during one of my marathons of flattening and cutting boxes (mostly from my wife’s ongoing purchases from Amazon) to fit in the recycle tub. Bored one day from the chore that was too similar to my days at Exwork, I began experimenting with artistic box cutting techniques. I can tell you there are not many different ways to snuggly fit cardboard into a small container. During the end of that nonsense I noticed the top of a box I sliced off and tossed on my garage floor and instantly wondered: “Hmm?”
It was two flaps with original closing tape, and it looked like it would fit the seat of my chair. In my office, I covered it with strips of Scotch Double Sided Tape, which I call double sticky. Used up a good chunk of roll. I tucked it onto the seat of my recliner, and the cats have avoided it, as far as I know. When I sit in my chair I put the cat cardboard on the coffee table, and have forgotten to put it back when spending hours in the garage or my office or asleep in bed, and I’ve come out to find the male cat, Stirfry, defiantly sleeping there. Otherwise, I have never seen them try to walk on the cardboard. Maybe they don’t like the smell of Scotch brand, or perhaps they experimented when I wasn’t watching and don’t like their paws feeling stickiness—which is what I intended.
Both my youngest grandsons have mindlessly sat on it and didn’t know until they stood up from my chair with the cardboard stuck to their backsides. I’m proud to say I have not yet done that. But it’s now weathered with creases, and the tape is fuzzy with household lint, and so I need to replace it. I’ll use a whole piece of cardboard this time, trimmed to exactly fit.Be advised, however, that you cannot cover your entire house with double sticky cardboard (or aluminum foil). You have to choose the most sacred of your sanctuary sites.