Toilet paper capers: cat-proofing the bathroom

Joan Fieldstone

July 9, 2014

By: Joan Fieldstone, Home Improv Advocate

In: Interior Home Improvement

Kittens get into everything. That's where they got the expression, "Curiosity killed the cat." I'm not sure death-by-curiosity was a direct result of the cat getting into something dangerous -- or the result of the frazzled owner doing the unthinkable. Either way, it is best to prevent "cat-astrophes" before they occur.

Bathrooms are a favorite place for kittens to get into trouble. They love to drink from the toilet bowl, for example, even if their water bowl is inches away. A falling toilet lid could critically injure a kitten, so I keep the lids closed at all times. My three little kittens enjoy hiding behind (and ripping) the shower curtains. They also enjoy splashing the entire contents of their water dishes onto the floor, which was why I put their water bowls in the bathroom. I eventually had to move the water bowls into the tub so I would not have to use up my towels mopping water off the floor all day.

Granted that not everyone has kittens to contend with, but home improv is about thinking outside the box, so this is just another example. You might, instead, have dogs, toddlers, teens, or a significant other. Actually, in the case of the toilet paper capers, it was about thinking inside the box -- as in putting the toilet paper rolls inside something the cats could not penetrate so that I wouldn't find this mess blocking the front door again:

shredded toilet paper

I had already removed the toilet paper rolls from the fixtures that came with the house, which were logically located where the paper would still be accessible to someone sitting on the commode.

When I originally found that the cats enjoyed unrolling the paper, I moved the roll from the dispenser in the master bathroom to the top of the toilet tank, partially hiding it from their view inside an empty tissue box. In the powder room by my front entry, I relocated the TP to a shelf not-quite-within-reach from the toilet, but that proved inconvenient and no match for a determined kitten. I came downstairs one day to find her in a torrid embrace with what was left of the roll. The rest was shredded all over the living room.

I puzzled for weeks over solutions. I combed the Internet for supposed cat-proof toilet paper dispensers. I consulted online forums. I drew prototypes of Rube Goldberg machines. I dreamed of how I could invent something that I could sell to other harried cat-owners and that would make me a fortune overnight. I did everything besides the obvious -- close the bathroom doors -- because the kittens need access to their water bowls.

And then I went shopping. At Ross I found the purr-fect solution -- canisters.

toilet paper canister

The clear, plastic canister with locking lid was a clearance item, part of a set that was missing one canister, and the remaining two were priced at $6 for both. One was too small for toilet paper, but the other was just right, and I put that on the back of the commode in the powder room so guests can spy the roll as they enter.

The second was laminated cardboard and had a snug, attached lid. It cost $2.99. The cats don't even know what's inside. That one I put on a shelf next to the toilet in my master bathroom. When I get around to decorating in there, I can recover the box in a different print.

toilet paper canister

Hopefully, these measures are only temporary. One day my three kittens will be lazy cats with no interest in turning my home inside out. Until then, I must make accommodations because as every feline lover knows…

Cats rule.


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