2011-02-09 / Opinion

Thirsting for Answers

by Alex McRae

Ever since he became my sole surviving pet, I’ve tried to pay extra attention to my boy cat George. Attention is the only thing I can offer, since George has about as many unmet needs as a member of the Saudi royal family.

That doesn’t mean his life is perfect. We don’t mention it much, but George has a drinking problem.

For years he’s been finicky about his fluids. George goes out of his way to avoid tap water, filtered water and well water, no matter how tasty.

I don’t know why. He just prefers to walk on the watery wild side.

George can’t travel 20 feet without passing a bowl brimming with the finest water I can furnish. But on any given day, he’ll race past all those offerings to savor a few slurps from a rain puddle or the street gutters.

In a tight, he’ll drink from one of his outdoor bowls, but only if it’s been seasoned with a dose of rainwater and a scattering of bugs and yard clippings.

When this problem first surfaced, the vet suggested I could entice George to hydrate himself by purchasing an expensive fountain-like gizmo that circulated water in manner that allegedly imitated a babbling brook.

“Cats love it,” he said. “ They can’t stay away from that moving water.”

One could. As far as George was concerned, the bogus “brook” babbled in an unknown tongue. He took one look and took a nap. Ever since, I’ve let him get water wherever he wants.

In the spring and summer he makes regular visits to the creek behind the house. When winter breaks and his joints loosen up, we’ll see if he’s still up to creek drinking. Right now he’s more interested in staying inside and warm and whining for “flavored” water while I bust my brain for a solution we can both live with.

A few days ago, I thought I’d found it.

George doesn’t like bottled water, but during a recent web-surfing session, I came across a new product that looked promising. It’s bottled, but isn’t loaded with sugar and sodium. In fact, it might contain a hint of steak sauce. That would be appropriate for a product called “Meat Water.”

It’s made by a company called Liquid Innovations. The website bragged about its product in terms you’d expect to hear at a new age meditation center, claiming that Meat Water “… is a beautiful and heavenly experience because, in the absence of all else, the privileged consumers will be able to perfectly see the love and light they have cultivated within themselves.”

Whatever. I’ve heard worse babble on those PBS self- improvement shows. And I figured that as much as George likes fish he might savor a swig of a Meat Water favorite named Poached Salmon Salad.

He’ll never get it. Not long after I “discovered” Meat Water, I discovered it was a hoax.

My hopes for upping George’s liquid uptake sank like a stone. But not for long.

I recently left the laundry room door open by accident and George lumbered into the main house. A few minutes later I found him drinking gleefully from the toilet.

I’ve had dogs that could lap a commode bone dry, but this is the first time I’ve caught a cat at it.

Can’t say I’m happy, but desperate times call for desperate measures. For now, George gets all the toilet water he wants. As long as he doesn’t start demanding I change cleansers or get a better toilet brush.

If that happens, I might just “ forget” to flush. Once should be enough to convince George that tap water can be a real turn-on.

(Send your e-mail comments to: alex@newnan.com)

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