Curiousity didn’t Kill the Cat … But I Might

This is Meisie. She’s one of my two cats. Isn’t she adorable? Meisie, for the record, means “Little Girl” in Afrikaans. I got her from South African family in Saudi Arabia so I thought an Afrikaans name would be fitting. And yes, I paid to have her travel with me to Dubai rather than try and re-home her in Saudi. I couldn’t leave her or any of my other cats behind at the time.

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Meisie resting on her Princess pillow when she was one

Pets become a part of the family don’t they? And my two, Meisie and her sister Liefie (which means Darling in Afrikaans) are unlike most cats I know. These two genuinely love people and will even attempt to snuggle strangers or people they have just met. And for the most part, they have been as good as gold since they moved with me to Dubai. Until recently.

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Liefie looking all cute

Genuinely, my only concern is watching them when I’m hanging my laundry on the balcony. I let them outside with me, but since my balcony has cat-sized access to the neighbor’s balcony, I need to make sure they don’t jimmy their way onto someone else’s property. And I need to hope that no birds fly by or I might lose them over the railing. I’m only on the first floor and there is a pretty big ledge about 5 foot below so they wouldn’t have too far to fall should that happen. But it would be a pain to get them down from there.

Last month my hot water tank burst so I had to get maintenance in to replace it. My cats, particularly Meisie, must have a little velociraptor in her from Jurassic Park as she appears to have the ability to learn, to adapt and overcome. She noticed that the ceiling in the kitchen can be opened, and this might lead to a magical land of tuna, pillows, or whatever else goes through her head when she’s dreaming. In my one-bedroom apartment, my living area is open plan, so I do not have a door to close to keep cats out of my kitchen! And of course, the refrigerator makes an easy launch pad for forays onto the cupboards that are only inches from the ceiling tiles.

When the hot water tank burst, it damaged a couple of the tiles to the point where they are nearly falling apart. The corner of one is practically just the paper covering and very easy for a cat the size of Meisie to push herself through. Two weeks ago I heard the rustling sound of trouble and peered over from the couch to see a tail disappear into the ceiling. She’s smart enough to get in, but not smart enough to get out. Also, and my major concern, has to do with what is up there and where she could go. I’m not sure how connected this area is with other apartments! I think for fire safety purposes it has to be pretty contained, but with water pipes throughout the ceiling, there may be holes big enough for her to wander over anyone’s apartment and start mewing from fear! I don’t want or need that. Also, there might be all sorts of wiring up there she could try and play with, nibble on, pee on. Who knows what kind of damage that could cause? In my worst case scenario mind, that could be a lot!

I managed to block the access point by the refrigerator with a yoga mat and a large heavy box. Several times I have had to put the yoga mat back up as she’s managed to paw it away. And when I came home from work on Sunday, I saw the box on my kitchen floor. And then I saw the shattered edge of my kitchen counter top! I’ll need to get it replaced. Thankfully it looks like they installed the counter top in sections, so I won’t have to replace the whole thing. Unless of course, which is always possible and highly likely, they don’t have the matching counters anymore. If that happens, I’ll have to replace the counter top in the whole kitchen. And no, I’m not insured for this.

I wedged some cushions up there nice and tight (after smacking her butt and ignoring her desperate pleas for attention). This seemed to work. I went out and bought some more spray that is supposed to keep cats away from things. I sprayed all my cupboards with it, the cushions, and the top of the cupboards. This seemed to work. Until this morning.

When my alarm went off and I woke, I heard the noise I dreaded. I looked into the kitchen and the cushions hadn’t moved, but I could hear the mew coming from the ceiling. Meisie must have leapt from the counter onto the top of the cupboards I hadn’t blocked as it wasn’t an issue. She must have pushed the tile up and climbed inside. The ceiling tile dropped back into place. With no hole in it, she was effectively stuck up there until I got her down. I removed two tiles to give me better access and she sat, just out of reach, watching me, mewing at me like she was scared. She wandered a bit further away, and I could see her walking on the water pipes, but could do nothing about it. I grabbed a flashlight, as she does like to follow light. She finally came over and was within grabbing distance. Several squeals, squirms, scratches, and few hisses later, I had her down. Her butt might still be sore from the wallop she got. I grabbed her by the scruff of the neck and told her how bad she was. I tossed her on my bed while I put the tiles back in place and found more stuff to block the top of the cupboards. I re-sprayed the entire area.

Meisie stay laying on my bed as I showered and got ready for work. I came out of the shower and Liefie had got onto the fridge and was pawing at the cushions there. A quick salvo from the water bottle got her down and scurrying into the bedroom. I decided to bring a litter tray, and food and water bowl in there and that is where they will stay all day today while I am at work. There isn’t much room in there for them to run around, but I feel I don’t have an option.

I’m just glad Meisie did this while I was at home. If it happened now, at 10 am and I’m still at work for several hours, who knows what could have happened. I’ve got dozens of thoughts and ideas going through my head right now about how to fix this. I don’t want to have to get rid of my cats, that is my last option. But at 5:15 am this morning, it was looking like it might be the only thing to do!

16 thoughts on “Curiousity didn’t Kill the Cat … But I Might

  1. Hmm.. I wouldn’t want to wake up to that kind of action that early in the morning.
    She looks cute. For some strange reason, cats don’t like me as much as the dogs love me.

  2. Perhaps, in the future, you may consider canines. We who own them have stories, too, but none (in my case) as frustrating. And apparently, curiosity may kill the cat. This is not an outcome you desire.

  3. As I’ve stated in previous posts; I’m terrified of (most cats). They just seem to know too much! They’re your babies and you won’t get rid of them. When all else fails-try Pinterest.

    • Currently have them locked up in my bedroom so they can’t try and undo the makeshift defences I have set up. Maintenance and I will look at ways to nullify ceiling tile access!

  4. Cats definitely have minds and personalities of their own, and they’re endlessly entertaining… until they’re annoying. I remember one neighbor cat who constantly kept using the flowerbed next to my front door as her litter box. I tried everything I could think of to keep the cat out, but she kept coming back. Finally, I resorted to cayenne pepper. I don’t know what inspired me to use it, but I sprinkled the area she used as her bathroom and then forgot about it. That afternoon I heard a bunch of sneezing outside of my door, and when I opened it to see what was going on, I saw the cat running away, still sneezing and shaking her head. She never returned.

    Sooooo…. if the spray doesn’t work while waiting for a permanent solution, cayenne pepper just may do the trick. 🙂

  5. Hi Geraint. I’m sorry to hear about your catastrophic problem (you can inwardly pronounce that adjective in the voice of the narrator from the old Batman TV series, with the emphasis on the first syllable), especially considering what lovable companions your cats have been to you. I hope you’re able to find a way to prevent them from getting themselves into further trouble. That’s also too bad about your water heater. What a nuisance! Finally, thanks for liking my latest post. I always appreciate your readership (if that’s a word), along with your great writing.

    • Glad to read and will keep reading. Thank you as well for your readership and comments.
      I did a DIY project on my ceiling tiles so they now resemble Frankenstein’s Monster. Nothing industrial strength tape couldn’t fix. The cats have tried to force their way into the ceiling and can’t do it so they seem to have lost interest for the time being.

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