Frankie Muniz’s cat turned on the faucet, flooded house: ‘Everything I own, destroyed’

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Jeri just thinks she owns the place!!!

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I have had cats who loved drinking from the faucet, even though I had one of those fancy cat water fountains that had constantly circulating water. I’ve never had a cat who knew how to turn on the faucet, but that may be because of the design of my faucets. Frankie Muniz’s cat figured out how to turn on the faucet, and the cat did it when he was overseas at a funeral. When he got home his house was flooded in three feet of water. He posted really heartfelt messages to Twitter about it, saying he lost everything from the flooding. He had to stay in a hotel due to the damage to his home but then the hotel was evacuated due to the terrible fires in California. Here are his tweets, in order from oldest to newest.

I arrived home from my uncle’s funeral to find 4 of my 5 story brownstone home under 3 feet of water. Everything I own, destroyed. Every wall, piece of artwork, personal photos, furniture… All because my cat accidentally turned on a sink a few days ago while we were gone. – Nov 15

I’m devastated and exhausted from a tough week with the loss of my Uncle Skip, 45 hours of travel to and from France to walk in to find this disaster. I’ve cried more yesterday and today then my whole life combined. Forgive me for venting.. I just need some support. – Nov 15

Thank God I have @paigey_price to help me get through this. I’d be lost without her. She’s so strong and exactly what I need. – Nov 15

I know this sounds ridiculous, but I swear it’s true. You wouldn’t believe the destruction. – Nov 15

Just woke up to fire alarms and had to evacuate the hotel we are staying in because of what happened to our house. This has been an eventful week. - Nov 17

[From Twitter via People]

I hope he’s ok, and I’m also thinking of all the people who lost their homes to the fires in California. I can’t imagine what that’s like. What do you do about a cat who knows how to turn on a faucet? Also, how is he sure the cat did it? Was anyone else in his home and does he have video surveillance? He’s going to have to replace everything anyway so he shouldn’t buy that type of faucet ever again. He presumably has the money to replace his home, but you can’t replace sentimental items and it all sounds devastating.

Also I don’t follow Dancing With the Stars and didn’t realize Frankie finished third last year and that he’s currently a co-host on Dancing with the Stars: Juniors. He also does steady acting work.

After I wrote all this, I saw that Frankie proposed to his girlfriend, Paige, on Sunday. They got engaged at the Lantern Festival in Casa Grande, Arizona. Paige posted to Instagram with the news.

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When you’re a little girl, you dream of marrying the man of your dreams. You think of all these extravagant things from the way he asks you, to the dress you’re going to wear, to the music you’re going to dance to with your father. Sometimes, reality has a tendency to overstep your dreams and really surprise you. Francisco Muniz IV, you’re more than a dream to me. You teach me every day, you compliment me when I’m at my worst, and you push me past the edge but you’re there to pick me up when I start showing signs of falling. I love every piece of you, and I appreciate you more and more every single day. I truly cannot wait to be your wife ♥️ P.S. You’re officially the master of proposals. 143. P.P.S. I ugly cried so hard that I can’t even post the pictures so… there’s that..

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Today, I reminisced on the race track about my past…

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Photos credit: WENN, Getty and via Instagram

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60 Responses to “Frankie Muniz’s cat turned on the faucet, flooded house: ‘Everything I own, destroyed’”

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  1. Claree says:

    Eh, I feel a weird amount of affection for him. I just see the nerdy kid from Malcolm in the middle.

    Water can cause serious damage…my parents house had a small leak in a bathroom a few years ago, which basically destroyed everything down to the basement. The whole house had to be gutted. Check your pipes and spend the extra $3 on replacing seals etc!

  2. Zee says:

    Did nobody take care of the cat while he was gone? Who fed her and cleaned the litter? And there must be house personal or gardeners who have access to the mansion. Somebody who would have noticed that 3 stories of the house were flooded. This seems like such an out there story. It’s still tragic that he lost everything though. At least he can afford a new house and furniture even though the sentimental loss can’t be replaced.

    • Veronica S. says:

      If he was gone briefly, nobody probably had to, honestly. If the cat prefers dry food, you can get one of those automatic dispensers that slowly empties from the top down, same with the water (particularly if you have a fountain fixture). The only thing you’d really need to worry about is the litter box, but if it’s a big house, you likely have several, and there only seems to be one cat there. Otherwise, they’re fairly independent animals and will survive a few days alone.

      I’m more curious where the cat turned on the faucet that it wasn’t in an area that could drain properly. We had our downstairs get partially flooded from a sink that was left on, but that’s because the sink had a clogging issue and needed the pipe replaced.

      • Erinn says:

        You can even get litter boxes that hook into a water line and self-clean.

        I’m wondering if the stopper got left in a sink or something. I know some are just press-down stoppers, and my cats like to stand in the bathroom sink and tub. I suppose it could have been blocked off before the cat bailed.

      • Kitten says:

        My girl kitty will ONLY drink out of the faucet. We got rid of bowls after my BF got them a water fountain. Alas, my boy kitty loves the fountain but my girl just won’t give up the sink. She has to get a drink of water every morning and afternoon after she eats. Some mornings (like today) she gets both upstairs sink and downstairs sink. She’s spoiled.

        She DID manage to turn the water on once when I was at work and it made a mess but yeah, didn’t flood the whole house because it was draining into the sink. So yes, I’m curious how this could happen also. BTW, I think she turned the sink on by accident or I guess, happy luck for her. My theory is that she was rubbing her head against the fixture (her way of saying she wants water) and accidentally lifted the handle with a headbutt.

      • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

        It also depends on the cat. My brother’s cat is a grazer……so every hour or two, she will go to her bowl and maybe spend a minute taking a few bites of food and move on. We just keep it full.

    • Megan says:

      I was wondering the same thing. Surely he can afford a cat sitter.

  3. OriginalLala says:

    I know cats are independent, but how long did he leave his cat alone for the water to cause such extensive damage? we usually won’t go more than 24 hours without someone checking in on our cats and our home because things like this do happen. Cat sitter Frankie!!!

    joking aside, that sucks, I hope the cat was ok

  4. Lightpurple says:

    My cat is in the sink right now. Thank God she doesn’t know how to turn on the faucet.

    • Esmom says:

      Mine loves the sink, too, and she once turned the faucet on inadvertently as she scrambled to get to it. My faucets are pretty simple to turn on so I could actually see her figuring it out eventually. His story seems plausible to me, lol.

    • Kitten says:

      Bathrooms are really special places for kitties. Also, sinks make great beds ;)

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        Both of mine hate sinks and bathtub. They are terrified by all the taps. Maybe I am lucky lol
        It took them over 10 days to go from the water bowl to the new fountain.

        Poor Frankie! However strange nobody was there with the cat, mine are never left alone for long (furthermore, we never leave the kitchen door of bathroom door open at all times).

  5. Beth says:

    How long did he leave his cat home alone? Didn’t someone stop by to feed it? I wonder if there was a broken pipe or something, because he must’ve been gone for quite a while for the house to flood so much with just a faucet being turned on

  6. Chef Grace says:

    Poor dude. But you can’t leave a cat alone or any fur baby in my opinion. Get a sitter.
    My 12 year old cat, Chef Rooster dumps his bowl of water out because he loves playing in water. I have water fountains and he still dumps his bowl. LOL

    • Kitten says:

      The absolute max for me without a sitter is two days and two nights. I have friends who are comfortable with three days but that’s a bit too much for me. I’m lucky in that if I’m going away for more than a couple days, I can just take them to my parents’ house and they watch them.

      • Light Purple says:

        Two days for me or I can expect deliberate damage. I must be punished. Spent a week in the hospital a year ago. My great aunt was in the house. She fed the cat and had people check the second floor every day to check on the cat’s well-being. My sister, who doesn’t like cats, worried that our aunt would forget to feed the cat, and sent her husband, who hates cats, to check that my aunt had fed the cat every day. Didn’t matter. I came home to find the blankets had all been pulled off the bed into a pile, every object on my kitchen table and counters had been knocked to the floor, the rugs in the front hall had been pushed against the door, making it difficult to enter, and she had gone into a closet and vomited repeatedly on my shoes. I had left and deserved punishment. To make up for it, she spent the two weeks I was home recovering by my side, purring loudly.

      • Harryg says:

        I think you cat had a great time, plotting and doing all that, Light Purple :)

      • lucy2 says:

        Same for me. I have 2 now, and if I’m gone more than one night, I call the cat sitter. She’s awesome, takes care of them and checks over the house too. She’s really helped me out numerous times.

        Mine haven’t turned on faucets, but I’ve it happen. I’m confused as to how this all happened though – if he’s in a ‘brownstone apartment” wouldn’t some of the neighboring apartments noticed something?

      • Mel M says:

        That’s how I was when i had my cats. My parents have had a cat my entire life and they took a kitten I was fostering because I couldn’t give him up and their other cat had just past. If they come and visit for the weekend they leave him alone but if it a three day weekend or longer they board him in a fancy cat hotel and pay extra for a room with a window. He’s so spoiled.

      • Ange says:

        I will only leave them overnight. It costs a fortune because I travel a lot for work but there’s no way I’d let them use dirty litterboxes or not have fresh food and water. A day can squeak through but after that they need caring for.

      • Parigo says:

        Yea, if it’s more than 2 nights we get someone to take care of our big guy. Not because I don’t think he can’t take care of himself but more for his solitude. We have a very friendly cat that just gets lonely when we’re not there.

        And our cat can open doors so I could totally picture him turning on the faucet. 😹

    • Veronica S. says:

      Eh, depends on the animal, honestly. My mother’s cats can’t be left alone because they can’t take dry food, so somebody has to serve them wet twice a day. On the other hand, my friends’ cats were just fine going 4-5 days with minimal to no care because they had a manual feeder and fountain and weren’t mischievous – which was a good thing when their son was born was born with a severe heart defect that put him in the hospital in the first year of his life until he got a heart transplant, keeping them outside the house at least 75% of the time.

  7. greenmonster says:

    I know this might not be the space to ask, but is the cat ok? Sure I would be gutted to come home and find everything destroyed, but my cat’s well-being would be most important.

    • Dq says:

      Same, I’m more concerned about the cat. Where is he?

      • Elise says:

        That’s the same reaction I had… if the house was flooded, was the cat okay?

        Also… If this is a five-story brownstone, and there was 3 feet of water… how could everything be destroyed? Water flows downhill. Even if the faucet was on the top floor, it would wind up on the bottom, and it’s not going to sheet down all four walls on every story.

        How long was he gone? If he was out of the country, it was more than just a couple of days. He should have had someone checking.

    • Veronica S. says:

      It’s a cat, so rest assured it was somewhere completely safe and dry after wreaking its typical havoc, lol. The most it likely suffered was having to get wet to eat. You know, an OUTRAGE.

      • Esmom says:

        So true. The “nine lives” trope definitely is rooted in truth.

        My basement once flooded really quickly and my kitten was trapped on the toilet tank as the water rose up. Before I could grab her she dove in and paddled like a fast little motorboat to the staircase, not a short distance. It was astonishing, lol!

      • Kitten says:

        @ Esmom lol that’s amazing.

        They really are such stoic creatures.

      • greenmonster says:

        I guess. He probably would have mentioned his cat if she wasn’t ok. Now I imagine the cat sitting on top of a cupboard as he comes home telling him: ” Your floors are flooded and SO IS MY FOOD. Explain that to me and you better think hard about what you have to say for yourself young man!”

    • Catlady says:

      it’s always the space to ask about the well-being of an animal who can’t help themselves. I’m pretty disgusted by all the people that think they can just drive away and leave their cats alone for days on end without supervision or anyone checking on them. the whole automatic feeder thing is a big problem. I hear reports all the time of them breaking down. A power outage might even cause them to not come back on if there’s a surge. and that very well could mean a cat that does not eat for days and develops fatty liver disease, treatment of which cost well over $1,000, often means placement of a feeding tube, and only has a 50% survival rate. So there’s that. It is the ultimate example of irresponsible pet ownership. There’s always the excuse put out there that cats are not dogs, but it doesn’t matter. They’re living beings that can suffer the same types of medical emergencies that any other pet does. They deserve the same consideration.

      • Some chick says:

        Fatty liver is not a death sentence. Not even 50%. You may have to force your cat to eat – which is horrible – but can totally turn it around.

        I do agree that cats should be minded and cared for, but they really can do ok for days on end without it.

  8. Loopy says:

    Damn,is his house isolated,no neighbours to see anything suspicious or the power flickering due to the water. Anyways it’s always so hear breaking when something like your property being damaged happens,I was once burgled of a few materialistic things and cried for days can’t imagine a whole house burning down or being flooded.

  9. Bunny says:

    Our sheepdog can turn on the faucets, and does when he’s thirsty. We’re careful about making sure his nowl has water when we go out.

    Also, you know those flexible hoses that go from your washing machine to the water hookups?

    We once came home from two weeks away to discover that the hot water hose had started leaking a few minutes before we walked through the door. Seriously. We dodged a huge flood. If the leak had started a day or two before, we’d have lost everything.

    Those hoses are under constant pressure, and should be replaced every few years. They’re only $10.00 or so.

    • manda says:

      Omg!! Thank you for the advice! I had no idea about that. Home ownership is stressful!

      My mother’s furnace/air conditioner had some drainage cord come loose and it didn’t even flood that badly, but the floors were ruined, and my mom got brand new floors! It was definitely the kind of flood to have. Literally, nothing but the floor got messed up

  10. Digital Unicorn says:

    The cat may have been thirsty and he should have had someone check on cat and house if it was home alone. Sorry to hear about the damage but pets should not be left home alone.

  11. CharliePenn says:

    People calm down about the cat being home alone. A cat is not a dog. Cats can be home alone for a few days. We leave our cats with tons of extra food and water, and two clean litter boxes, and can be gone for 2-3 nights.

    We come home, they come say hello, all is well. They aren’t upset, they aren’t harmed, they were in no danger. They probably slept more than usual without humans around to wake them. Cats are very independent.

    If we are gone longer we have someone come tend to them, and that actually upsets them more than being alone. A change in the home! An unknown person coming in alone! These are the things that bug the cats out lol. After we have someone tend to them, they are much more agitated when we get home than when they are simply alone. Seriously. Cats is cray and they are totally fine alone for a while. Some probably even like the quiet.

    • Lumbina says:

      Ditto. We actually leave ours five nights. They have a feeder, they go outside and they’re botb rescue cats who hate catteries and strangers. We used to pay someone to come in, but they just used to hide.

      They’re perfectly content when we get home.

      Our neighbours do have a key and keep an eye out though.

    • Nicole(the Cdn one) says:

      Sure cats are not dogs but if a cat’s food and litter gets flooded then their independence hardly helps them not suffer.

      People can differ on the limits of responsible pet ownership, but then its up to the individual to own the consequences.

      And if he did not have anyone looking in on the house, he may have violated his insurance policies. Most policies that I am aware of require someone to be in the house every 48 – 72 hours (depending on the policy – ours is 72 if the main water valve is turned off. You can also get “vacant” policies but this usually doesn’t apply to a trip).

    • Tania says:

      Yep, the only time we’ve had a “sitter” is when we were gone for 2 weeks just in case they dumped over their water or ate all the food from their feeder. We have a litter box that self cleans. I’d get texts saying they haven’t seen the cats so I started freaking out thinking one of them died under our bed or got locked in a room. After that trip we bought in-house security cameras so we can see them and know they’re okay and all our notifications are of them just walking around the house or licking themselves.

      They’re rescue and they hate people so they hid every time they heard the front door open (we only ever use the garage door so the front door opening is foreign to them) so our friends never heard them.

      We’re leaving for 5 days and a friend has the keys. If we see them knock over their water or eat all their food, we’ll activate Defcon 5 and have someone stop over. Until then, we’ll just leave them to their domain.

      • Stefanie says:

        Our cats are also rescues and as I have described below extremely socialized and love people. It is not normal for rescues to automatically avoid people – you know what causes such behavior – neglect, which you are very obviously doing. Why did you get them in the first place when you are not willing to provide adequate care for them?

  12. Hildog says:

    Yeah as I read this my cat, Monkey, is butt up, whining for me to turn on the sink. I never leave them for more than 24 hours. I have two kitties and the litter would be horrendous. And if I had that gorgeous house I would definitely want someone checking in. Aren’t brownstones connected? How would this not affect the neighbors? How is the cat?!? So many questions!

    • Esmom says:

      Brownstones aren’t necessarily connected but I wasn’t aware of any in CA. I thought they were more of a NY and Chicago thing.

      I feel like if the cat had not survived it would have been mentioned in his tweets.

      • Kitten says:

        Boston. Brownstones are really common out here and typically, they are attached rowhouse-style.

        I bet this guy has a litter genie. My friend has two of them for their three cats lol. They’re amazing but pretty expensive.

  13. Hmmm says:

    I love Malcom in the middle but he admits to having memory issues. How do we know he didn’t accidentally leave the faucet running and he’s just blaming the cat?

    Not sure if true but read in a different comment section that he’s a hardcore Trumpy. Sad.

    • Amelie says:

      We don’t really know exactly what are his memory issues though I think they were caused from a crash from his race car driving days (does he still do that?). Maybe their cat was known for turning the faucet on when they were home. If it was though, you would think they would get someone to watch it, or put the cat in a room without access to a sink.

  14. yiza says:

    What is this thing about whining for sympathy on social media, especially in a time when so many people with less have lost so much. Plus he’s a deplorable. Hard pass here.

  15. Cee says:

    How on earth did the water run for so long? It’s a miracle there wasn’t an electric disaster.
    Sentimental things can’t be replaced but thankfully the cat is OK.

  16. megs283 says:

    We have a touch faucet – it would be easy for a cat to turn it on. However, it has a shut-off after 30 seconds… (also, I don’t have a cat)

  17. Catlady says:

    There’s no excuse for leaving a cat unattended for that long without somebody checking on him or her. I cat sit for a living and I will not take job where people want me to come every other day. There’s a good reason for this. Medical emergencies can happen quickly and if no one’s there to see it you could very well end up with a dead cat. I have saved many lives of my clients pets exactly because I was there to see something going on and get them to an emergency clinic right away. This is especially true if you’re feeding dry food as it is the number one reason for cats developing urinary issues and blockages. A urinary blockage can kill a cat in 24 hours. There are many other medical conditions that can require immediate emergency vet care. There are also things that can happen in the house, such as break-ins, or things like flooding. This can cause trauma and stress to cats and, in the case of a break-in, could mean a cat that may have suffered abuse from the perpetrators, or an escaped cat who is less likely to be found the longer it takes to find out that it’s gotten out. There’s also the issue of the litter box. Litter boxes should be scooped twice a day and it is extremely unfair to force a cat to have to walk in the dirty box. Also consider that one that cat walks out of that filthy box they’re walking through your house and tracking that on your furniture in your bed. That’s not their fault. one of the top reasons cats stop using a litter box is because they don’t want to have to wade through urine and feces just to go to the bathroom. As far as I’m concerned if someone can’t be a responsible owner and to something so basic as make arrangements to have their cat checked on every day while they are gone they should just not have a cat.

    • Tania says:

      Thanks catlady. I guess I’ll just release my cats into the wild since you think I’m a terrible parent to them! As an aside, how much do you make cat sitting and is this the type of advertising you do to guilt people into leaving cats alone for 24 hours? Asking for a friend.

      • Catlady says:

        You don’t need to release your cats into the wild. The fact that that’s an option for you is very concerning. Why don’t you just have a cat sitter come in even once a day to make sure the cats are okay. My guess is you would be just fine leaving a human toddler on their own for a few days? And if I was advertising my services I certainly wouldn’t post with a screen name and no location now would I…

      • Kitten says:

        Ha. @ Tania, I read your comment upthread and I think you have a pretty good system of checks and balances in place ;)
        @catlady-she has a camera system and people on standby in case of an emergency. When you are cat-sitting are you there all day long? Because when my friend was professionally sitting dogs and cats, she usually just came by for an hour or so. So presumably, the cats could get into trouble during the other 23 hours of the day.
        I guess I just don’t see a human presence for an hour a day being a better solution than a 24 hr cat cam or whatever.

        Also, remember that every cat is different. For instance, my brother would never bring his cat to my parents’ house while he is away because she can’t stand the carrier and is traumatized by new environments. She’s happier being at their house and having a sitter come by every other day. If the owner and the cat are comfortable with that arrangement, then I see nothing wrong with it.

      • Catlady says:

        Tania, looking at a cat from a camera does not scoop the litter box, and is no substitute for hands on, eyes on, in person examination of the cats, their behavior
        and environment. If you think it is please choose a cat free lifestyle.

    • Stefanie says:

      thank you thank you thank you! So much this! Some people should not get pets when they treat them like furniture!

  18. Insomniac says:

    My Coco cat will pretty much knock me down in order to get to the bathroom sink first so I can turn the water on for her. God help our water bill and our house if she ever figures out how to do that herself.

  19. Meg says:

    man i’d be tempted to strangle that cat. (obvious joke)

  20. ClaraBelle says:

    He is reputedly one of the wealthiest of celebrities, with a net worth of 40 million. Sorry to hear he is feeling so devastated, but I’m pretty sure this is a minor incident in the scheme of things.

  21. Stefanie says:

    Wow to everybody here who leaves their cats for days just with a feeder. I only leave my 2 cats for max one night alone with a feeder and otherwise I have people check on them twice a day. If we are gone over a week my brother usually stays at our place. They are indoor cats (with a big cat proof balcony to roam around) so I guess this is the reason they are so attached to us but I can tell that even with a cat sitter looking after them twice a day they are so happy when we come back from a vacation. They just love it when we are at home and are always in the same room as us, so not soo independent, especially the male cat is super needy. They are also extremely well behaved, do not scratch anything, are super clean, would never show aggression towards anyone, ie never bite or scratch people/kids and I think this is really due to them being so socialized and taken care of. Really we plan our life around those cats because they are helpless beings and we have a responsibility. If you only have a single cat and leave it for days alone this is beyond cruel, my heart breaks for those cats.

  22. s says:

    Blame it on the cat……sure…..