Behind the piano


What are cat beds for? Does anyone actually know?

It is my contention that cats beds are, like gym club memberships, a conspiracy. A means to relieve those who have allowed themselves grandiose fantasies, of their cash. I have never actually seen a cat in  a cat bed. Mine have always used my bed. Or the airing cupboard. Or the most advantageous pile-carpeted stair. Or the kitchen working surface.

The conspiracy works like this: one feels a void in the household. And to fill the void one decides the perfect thing would be to get a cat.

But you can rarely have your cat straight away. This is part of the conspiracy, for while you wait, you fantasise and plan. What does the ideal kitten’s lair include? You ask yourself. And you turn to the text books, which, of course, are generally full of rubbish. And they send you to Reputable Pet Shop Supply Merchants. Reputable means the shop smells better, but they charge you twice as much.

Oh, the things on the shelves of the Reputable Pet Dealers. Great babel-tower scratching posts; water fountains; deerskin collapsible cat houses which are not made of deerskin.

And you fill your house with foolishness. Expensive, fantastical foolishness.

Come the day the kitten arrives, you turn up and bundle the little skew-tailed condensed chaos receptacle into a cat box. It mews, outraged, but what it doesn’t realise is that this is nothing to what is about to happen.

The moment the car engine starts it becomes clear to the kitten that they are in the roaring belly of some great mythical beast and all reason goes out of the window. Outrage turns to fight- or – flight, and since neither is really possible, it settles for a very, very small corner of the cat box. And sits, big eyed, shouting its small head off at the beast and anyone else who will listen.

When your kitten finally reaches  your self-styled kitten paradise they are freaked. A little bit terrified. And when the beast stops roaring, and the cat box swaying, and when everything comes to rest and becomes still in a place which smells and looks nothing like home, there is only one place to go, and it’s not the cat bed.

It is behind the piano.

Our new arrivals slipped out of the cat box on Friday night, and no-one saw them again that day.

My daughter sat in her room, the designated Safe Room, gazing glumly at the cat-paradise, wondering if having a kitten was going to be all it was cracked up to be.

The next morning, my mother in law arrived with a wonder toy, half mouse, half octopus, filled with kitty irresistibleness. The mouse-octopus was dragged furtively into the lair behind the piano.

And then they began to venture out. Small excursions after the mouse-octupus first, and gradually bolder explorations. Finally, even Columbus would have had to hand it to them. They were venturing out into a new world, sniffing duvets, turning over water bowls, scaling chairs, falling off shelves, chasing cat toys. Millie, the tiniest tiger-tabby, permitted herself to be stroked.

But when the land of nod beckoned, so did Behind The Piano.

They’re there now, as I type. Very happy in a small dark dusty corridor, encamped safely where no beast, mythical or otherwise, friend or foe, could possibly find them.

Cat beds. They’re a waste of space.



30 thoughts on “Behind the piano

  1. So well observed. This happened with our cats exactly as described. I think one of them disappeared behind a boiler for about 2 months, only venturing out to eat or drink when no one was in the house…I think. They do look great, however, particularly in pictures;)

  2. It can’t be said of all the cats I’ve owned, or been owned by, but the current feline loves his bed. Luck of the draw, I guess. In the past, beds I’ve purchased have been ignored. Two kittens. Oh the fun you’re going to have!

  3. a cat bed is created, not manufactured. Cloth of some sort, bundled down behind the piano with a kitten sized indentation is probably what is needed, this will then drive them out to search for some other place to roost

  4. When Tinson1 Skyped us on his first night in the house in Galway he’ll be sharing for a year while he’s at college, he mentioned disgustedly that there was a cat in the house that they were stuck with while its owner was in the UK for a few months.
    When he Skyped us the next day the cat was on his lap, and he stroked it throughout the conversation, like Blofeld.
    I read one that “dogs have owners, while cats have staff”.

  5. Agreed. Not self respecting cat ever uses a cat bed. They want your bed, you body to lie on, or a box. Some unsuspecting box that some bit of trifle arrived it – like a new pair of shoes. And then they leap into the box, stare out at the world over its edge, and claim it for their own. All the better if the box is actually on a table or bed. Or some other surface you really need.

    Love my cats. Hope you love yours. And the mouse-topus. Good luck.

  6. My kittens used to sleep behind books on the shelf. They would cleverly push them out, sneak behind, and nobody could tell they were back there. Little scamps.

    But…my husband would find them and deposit them in their little bed right before we fed them. Soon, as we headed down the hallway with cans of disgusting kitty chow, we could hear them run and pile into the bed ready for dinner! Not exactly what we intended the bed for, but at least it got some use. For awhile, anyway.

  7. Hahaha, not over here! I have 4 cat beds on my kitchen counter and 3 of my 4 cats sleep in them during the day–all lined up, 1-2-3. The trick is where you put them (I think).

  8. That very much described the arrival of our first two cats ~ Jazz and Cayenne. Only they hid behind the stove, not the piano.

    Tigger was more adventurous from Day One. But he’d been living outside, on his own before joining our household.

    P.S. We’ve never purchased a cat bed . . .

  9. Ah, you say that now. But MasterB has inherited a doughnut shaped bed from Cat, bought second hand at the cattery Christmas fair (now that is the bst place to buy your cat stuff;50p handmade catnip toys the other year, superior catnip and extrememly popular with the recipients). Cat slept in the bed, MasterB seeks it out and sleeps there sometimes during the day. Night time he sleeps on the end of my bed, relocating to a favoured drawer undernreath for his morning nap. While he has been ill, the doughnut bed has been a little bit of comfort for him.
    When I first got him he hid behind my bed.
    I don’t have a piano.

  10. Welcome to your new kitty. She’s beautiful. Her car ride sounds familiar. 🙂

    We do have a cat bed. Two, actually. Our cats love the snugness of the round cloth bed. But both also enjoy our bed. Reggie loves to hang out in the corner of our office and nap under the computer desk, or curl up in the sink. Jean-Louis is less creative. He’ll hang out on the sofa overlooking the lanai and watch the birds that flock to our pond.

  11. Cats decide what they going to do, not their owners. And if it’s sleeping behind the piano, or in a basket with hats and glove up on a shelf, that’s where they’re going to be having their catnap. Give in and throw a blanket over their preferred bed: that’s what we did.

  12. Oh what fun this is going to be …
    Au contraire, cat beds are quite essential to a cat’s wellbeing. They provide somewhere to be considered and rejected. Without them, how could a cat be properly contrary?

  13. I am sure you’re completely accurate about this. It’s true I’ve never actually seen a cat enjoying their sleeping accoutrements! LOL! I wish you all many years of happiness with the elusive little darlings! We all know they’ll settle in and love you! And as I read this, I’m sitting here waiting for my son to “deliver” our new little doggie family member, and I’m feeling both excited and nervous. It’s a life commitment taking in these pets and at this point, for me, there’s no turning back. I simply hope she doesn’t try to hide behind the piano!

  14. I agree, Kate – guffaw! Safe, warm, sunny, small…? We humans have no idea the priorities at any given time where a cat is to be.

    It really was only a matter of time before your family was once more graced. Congrats.

  15. My twelve year old sister saw a very cool dog bed at a store and tried to convince me the dog really, really needed it, and I should buy it for her for Christmas. Despite her plea, I declined. The dog seems content with hanging out under the trampoline outside, and then hanging out on old sleeping bags inside. As long as she has something cave-like to hang out in, she seems all right.

  16. Alfie ignores the cat bed and sleeps on wicker baskets in the bathroom, a chair under the dining table, the window ledges…anywhere except his bed! He is however getting us very well trained…to meet his every need. Slaves in training.

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