Ask Ambrose – Puzzling Pets

Cat Has Toilet Problem

Dear Ambrose

My cat won’t flush. I have taught Shady Jim how to use the toilet with not much difficulty, but for some reason I can’t seem to get him to flush it. Is this some inherent problem with cats, or is he playing some sort of silly power game?

Too Cheap To Buy Kitty Litter

This is a common problem amongst house cats, who generally speaking have no problem going to the toilet in front of humans, but who feel very self conscious about flushing. I suspect that he does in fact flush, just not when you’re standing there with a camera in your hands and a weird look on your face. Try secreting a motion-activated camera in the bathroom, as this will soon tell you whether or not he is flushing. If the footage shows that the cat is not flushing even when not being watched, he may be refusing to do so as a protest against the fact that you don’t seem to have any toilet paper in your toilet.

Yours, Ambrose


Horizontal Dog Puzzles Owner

Dear Ambrose

My dog “Treacle” has for the last few days been lying in this unusual position. Is there anything wrong or is he just trying to irritate me?

Prone Dog Owner
New Mexico

Dear Prone Dog Owner,

I see three possibilities here. The first is that you find yourself in possession of an unusually lazy dog, in which case the solution is to prick him with a pin. If that does not work, show him a photo of Lady Gaga in her underwear. If neither of those things shocks him into action, I suspect you are stuck with what will no doubt grow up to be a city councilman. The second possibility is that your pooch is doing an impression of a bearskin rug, probably because he saw some similar action on one of his favorite TV shows. The solution to this is to tell him sternly “Stop it! You are not a bearskin rug! You are a dog! Repeat after me – a dog!” The third possibility is that your dog has been flattened by a truck. If this is the case, the only remedy is to place a large cardboard box over him and not remove it till the smell goes away — it should take about two months.



Cat Reluctant to Socialize

Dear Ambrose,

My cat has become very shy around people. Whenever we have visitors over he hides in the drawers and looks at us with suspicion. This seems an unusual degree of unsociability, even for a cat. What is wrong with him?

Owner of Antisocial Cat
Rhode Island

I’m afraid the only possible explanation is that your cat has developed some sort of social phobia. He has come to regard all humans outside of his own circle as possible predators who may wish to cook him or turn him into a nice pair of slippers. If this condition is left untreated it may escalate to a case of full-blown paranoia, and he may start suspecting everyone he lives with of wanting to stuff him into an oven. I suggest you get the distrustful feline off to a cat psychologist as soon as possible. Cat psychologists can be quite costly, but not as costly as waking up to find out your cat has decided to get you before you get him.

Yours, Ambrose