Chester is a well-put-together dude - a young adult male, fanatical in his personal grooming. For a while we would have called him a “metrosexual”, but I don’t know if that term is cool anymore. Sharp and tight, dressed black and white, he’s sophisticated, overconfident, athletic, extroverted, smart - a classic Alpha. He’s the one to be around for a good time as he easily shifts from focused to playful to slightly dangerous. And, he pees in the sink.
We brought Chester into our home almost two years ago to serve a specific function. MSL had become jealous that every time I sat down, one of our cats would immediately make its home upon my lap - soft, warm and purring - while she sat empty lapped just two feet away. She wanted her own cat.
One immensely cold January day, we found ourselves working on a project very near the humane society, so on our way home we stopped at what they call “the most adorable place on earth” - the kitten room.
The kitten room is the most adorable place on earth, full of small fuzzy things with bottle-brush tails and over-sized heads tumbling all over each other. As we stood at the door and watched the activity, one kitten, runty in size but enormous in attitude marched over to us, shoving others out of the way, and pawed at the glass. “I think we just got chosen”.
Cocky, dominant, and a bit of a bully, Chester entered our home with an air of manifest destiny. What was already owned and occupied was now his to explore and exploit.
As a kitten, it was impossible to take a picture of him when he wasn’t asleep because he was always in motion. Every single picture I have of young Chester is blurred. Now, at two years of age, he’ll actually pause and pose for me, but he’s still busy and unpredictable - there’s no guessing what he’ll do next.
Jumpy and twitchy, energy builds up inside him and it comes out in sparks of running, and leaping. At dinner time, when the evening light comes into our west window and glints on our forks, the reflections drive him crazy and he throws himself at the walls to catch them. He hunts spiders and dustbunnies. He gets his toys out of the basket and carries them around the house. He chases everything and he chases nothing at all.
Harassment of the other cats is his specialty. They can hardly move about the house without being pounced upon, and he has taken it as his life’s mission to irritate our big female. Figg can be stretched out on the floor, napping peacefully in a sunbeam or in front of the fireplace and Chester will quietly lie down close by. He’ll casually stretch out a leg until he pokes her with his foot, pushing harder until she finally gets up, gives him a swat, and stomps off to nap somewhere else.
The human occupants of Chester’s house are not exempt from his persecutions. If MSL doesn’t give him the attention he requires in the middle of the night, he’ll start knocking things off her nightstand: books, eyeglasses, the alarm clock.
There’s no shelf he can’t jump onto, and no cupboard he can’t open - no secure place to keep wristwatches, medicine, or loose change. I thought my wallet was safe on top of the fridge, and then I found it on the floor one morning - at least he didn’t take my credit card. There’s no predicting what he’ll get into next, and it isn’t strange at all for lamps and plant stands to be found on their sides. He has figured out how to open the metal can we keep his food in, and he helps himself. This is something that none of the other three animals have managed to do.
But for all that, he is kind of cute, and mischief is an endearing quality in a cat. Speak directly to him and he returns a quizzical look, with his face all triangles and circles. He’s like a teenage human, you’re sure he is hearing what you’re saying, but he’s not going to give you the satisfaction of acknowledging understanding.
For the first year or so, I remained a bit distant so that Chester would bond with MSL, not me, and it has worked - he’s a mamma’s boy. Meanwhile, I’ve put much effort into reassuring our other male, a sensitive orange gentleman named George, that he is still my favorite.
I don’t know what to do about the peeing in the sink. Cats will do what cats will do. One of the things that makes cats so interesting is that they remain basically wild animals who simply adapt to the human environment, and training them is not really an option.
I think Chester just mistakes the shape of the sink for a litterbox. There are worse places he could pee - like just about anywhere else. He doesn’t pee on the rugs or the floor or in the plants. He doesn’t pee on the sofa or the chairs or the beds. He pees in the litter box, and occasionally he pees in other things that are shaped like a litter box - the kitchen sink, laundry baskets, etc. I don’t believe he is marking territory, or being a jerk - I just don’t think he understands that the litter box is the thing with sand in it, and those other things that are about the same size and shape, but don’t have sand in them, are not litter boxes. I think he thinks he’s doing the right thing.
The peeing in the sink is not a reason to get rid of him - I mean - I’ve done it. It doesn’t really hurt anything. Chester’s other qualities are charming enough and his bond with MSL is too strong and I’m kind of a softie toward furry animals. After almost two years, Chester is entrenched as a member of the family, and we squirt the sink with bleach a couple times a week.