, Derry, New Hampshire


January 23, 2014

Column: Strange addictions afflict humans and animals alike

I watched a woman in a news story recently confess, on camera, that she is addicted to drinking paint. She’s consumed about three gallons of the stuff over the past three years. She stressed that, as a single mom with two kids, she always satisfies her cravings in private, but would be “devastated” if her children somehow found out about her addiction and followed suit.

Has this 43-year-old ever heard of YouTube? Bet her kids have. And they’ve probably already made a beeline for their local Benjamin Moore dealer.

I have a story that I suppose could be considered a “stupid pet trick,” but is almost as bizarre as the lady who claims a gallon of White Wisp goes down just like a tall glass of warm milk, “except for the chemical taste, which is perfect for me.”

I’ve used this space before to describe the antics of one of my cats, Max, who, as a kitten, enjoyed a warm morning shower as much as I did. As Max has gotten older -- 56 in human years -- he prefers his species-appropriate tongue bath to a soak in the tub. But over time, he’s developed an equally eccentric habit.

Max attacks his kitty kibble like a great white shark feasts on seal. He has to be fed in the bathroom so as not to scarf down the food of his fellow felines, Mookie and Lily. When the coast is clear, I release Max from solitary confinement and he motors through the kitchen like a self-propelled vacuum cleaner, sucking up every crumb in his path. Next he leaps into the sink to lap up remnants of the previous night’s dinner, as they float in a bowl of soapy water.

Now that the nights have grown darker and colder, I have a fire blazing on a regular basis. I use a screen, of course, but the occasional ember breaks through and dies a slow death on the hearth. What happens next must be seen to be believed.

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