|Okay...It's usually just a bottle or two, but these guys must seriously mean business|
(photo from Tenace Concetto Blog)
Leaving the premises, I happened to ask casually, not truly expecting a real answer, what the bottles were doing there on the doorstep. And Giovanni's wife stated, "I know what they're for!!!". Incredibly, I discovered a superstition that never made its way into my book (look out for a new print run...!)...Drum Roll, please....
Turns out...it's to ward off kitty cats (or their pee, to be more precise).
As an unbridled cynic, of course, I couldn't just let that simple explanation stand for itself. I mean, really. Twenty-plus years, and that's all there is? [Cue Peggy Lee here]. So off to google I went.
To lighten my dismay at not googling it in the first place, I was heartened to find that the question is debated as vigorously by Italians as what the best cut from a pig is or whether or not you should add oil to your pasta water (you shouldn't). So, not even Italians knew what was up with the cat bottles. But, you can't blame them. After all, plastic water bottles haven't been around all that long (and they gotta compete with the 10 million- plus other superstitions already on file).
In my search I found that many vets thought it was a silly waste of time. And...I gotta admit, I'm pretty much on their side. I have had cats my whole life, and I have never seen a cat want to pee on a doorway - like never ever. I mean, how would they cover their tracks? But hey, ask anyone who side-steps a ladder or a black cat...What can a few bottles outside the door hurt? Right?