Adventures with Ashbutt – and toilets

You may recall that Ashbutt, our ‘new’ farm kitten, has fallen in love with little plastic-coated springs. Here he is with one, shortly after we brought him home.

He’s now much larger (bigger than our 5-year-old adult female cat), but still utterly kittenish at 5 months of age.  He carries his springs around, and ‘fetches’ them when thrown so that we can toss them for him again.  I’d say his Maine Coon ancestry is pretty much confirmed by this point.

Anyway, on Friday I noticed he was jumping up on the toilet seat to purr at me as I stood at the sink, performing my morning ablutions, holding his spring in his mouth in an obvious invitation to play.  Being otherwise engaged, I didn’t think any more of it.  Later that morning, I used the toilet for its intended purpose . . . but it clogged solid, more so than it’s ever done since we moved in here.  Baffled, I tried the usual remedies, but to no avail.  It was Miss D. who asked, eyes wide, “Do you suppose Ashbutt might have dropped his spring into the toilet?”  We looked at each other and winced, simultaneously!

I went to the hardware store and bought a big, heavy-duty rotary rooter (this model, if you’re interested).  It was expensive, so I asked the clerk with a sigh whether it was worth the money.  He merely grinned and said, “What’s an unclogged toilet worth to you?”  Sold!!!  I also bought a couple of packets of clog remover, ‘guaranteed’ to get rid of ‘organic matter’.  (Note to self:  those things are cheaper on than they are from the hardware store.  I should have bought them in advance, ‘just in case’, rather than pay emergency prices!)

The clog remover didn’t do much, even after being left overnight, so it was hi-ho for the rooter.  That cleared the block in short order – and retrieved the remains of the spring, too, tangled up in the wire ball at the end of it.  (Miss D. asked me, somewhat irreverently, what color it was.  I told her I hadn’t felt inclined to check, its odoriferous condition being a strong deterrent!)  Another packet of the clog remover helped to clean out the last of the detritus from the pipes, and a mopping with a strong bleach solution took care of the splashes on the bathroom floor.

Meanwhile, of course, Ashbutt was absolutely entranced by this new game, and the new toy I’d brought home for him.  “But, Daddy!  There’s a wire ball on the end of a three-foot coiled wire shaft, and it twangs when I bat at it!  More!  More!”  Then he went to fetch another spring . . .


Tell me again why we like cats???


(P.S.:  Our toilet seats are now left with the lid down . . . just in case.)

(P.P.S.:  Due to reader demand, I’ve created a category called ‘Ashbutt‘, and updated my posts since October to use it where appropriate.  Click on it, either here or in the sidebar, and it’ll bring up all blog entries mentioning our farm kitten.)


  1. Ah, them kittehs are mischievious little rascals and so unrrepetent , they casts those 'What – my fault ? I'm a cat !" looks too. I think that is why God made them so lovable.

    Good call on the lid, hope the toilet trouble is fixed.

  2. "Tell me again why we like cats???"

    For the amusement of other cat owners when you relate the stories. This is a pretty good one to tell.

    He IS a cute little rascal.

  3. (P.S.: Our toilet seats are now left with the lid down . . . just in case.)

    Too bad….

    It took me years to train the wife not to leave the toilet seat down after use. I'd hate to see all that effort nullified by a spring fed cat.

  4. Years ago, I had a young Siamese kitten we'd taken in after it was found as a stray. He took to sitting on the toilet and watching me shave and get ready for work.

    One day my wife and I were in bed and heard the distinctive sound of a water stream hitting the toilet. We both looked at each other with the recognition of what it sounded like, and then a simultaneous realization of "it's not you and it's not me"… and if someone is desperate enough to break in to use the bathroom, I'm not going to interrupt them. We went into bathroom to find this Siamese using the toilet for its intended purpose.

    We lavished praise on him, petted him, and gave him a slice of deli ham as a reward (his favorite food!). After that, he used the toilet for the rest of his life. I think he had used it before that point, but didn't really know.

    I thought this is where your story was going.

    A year or two later, the cat re-trained me. Rather than letting me use the toilet first in the morning, he'd be sleeping with me and race me to it. A race he always won. So he trained me to start brushing and shaving first.

  5. Utterly kittenish at 5 months? My Maine-Coon-mix cats are going on 4 years old, and still think they're kittens. I'm not sure they grow out of it.
    It can be very distracting to have 14 pounds of adorable little kitten standing on my desk wanting to play. Sounds like Ashbutt is destined to be quite a bit bigger than that, and even more playful, so you'd better start planning ways to keep him amused when you need to be productive.
    My toilet policy has been lid-down since forever, officially so things don't fall in (razor, contact lenses, hairbrush, whatever) but mostly for aesthetic reasons. I guess the downside is that the cats can't learn to use it.

  6. What those cable rooters won't retrieve is perfume and makeup bottles. Those typically require the removal of the toilet to knock it out from the underside. For a spring like that shown with Ashbutt, you might try a retrieval tool, the kind with the spring claws inside a cable housing.

    BTW, avoid the use of those in-tank "cleaners", often blue dyed. They tend to do bad things to seals and flappers. In addition, you don't want your cat to try to clean that stuff off their fur if they fall in, or just try to retrieve their toy.

  7. My toilet seats stay down for the same reason. For years I've also installed each roll of toilet paper "backward", i.e., rolling off from underneath. I dislike it, but the cats haven't figured out how to bat the roll upward. I discovered when the oldest was a kitten that she certainly knew how to roll it down (came home to an entire roll shredded on the floor or soaking in the toilet bowl).
    –Tennessee Budd

  8. Having "survived" many years of households that often-enough included indoor, indoor-outdoor and even outdoor cats of various sorts, my/our Mother maintained to the very end of her life that "truism" that holds that cats are the exemplar that serves to prove that not everything humans persistently choose to share their lives with has a reliably-detectible reason for existing…

  9. The device has a lid on it for a reason, so the lid should *always* be down unless it is in use. Cats or no, when you finish your business you close the lid. Full stop.

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