Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Cat Whisperer Strikes Again

Left unrecorded in these entries is that by the middle of May, Penwiper had become a discipline problem before meals.  All the boys get excited as we dish up their kibble, but Penwiper somehow feels excessive nervousness, and now swats at his housemates as he waits to be served.    This tends to stress his housemates.

We tried misting him, but it didn't slow him down enough to make a difference.  So we went to plan B around end of May, namely putting Penwiper in the lavatory off the kitchen until his kibble was served.  There are two ways to do this.
  • Katherine's method is to pick up him and set him in there; slightly stressful, but quick.
  • My method is a page out of The Way of Cats, in that I get Penwiper's attention by calling him and getting eye contact, go the door, and keep the other cats out of the bathroom while I wait for him come over and go in with my encouragement.  Since PW is a cat and not a dog, this requires that there are no distractions, and that he can generally feel he's part of the plan rather than a victim of it. 
When my method doesn't work, I revert to Katherine's system, but I actually have an excellent batting average.

In either case, we open the door to let him out as soon the bowls are down for Oscar and Penwiper.    It's like opening the gate at the Kentucky Derby -- Penwiper sprints across the hardwood floor, weaves past the kitchen island, powerslides around the end of breakfast counter into the dining room, and circles the dinner table to reach his bowl on the far side.

Now, I think he'd get there sooner using the shorter path with better traction on the rug through the living room, but I don't want to screw up his routine.  As I replied to Katherine this morning when she said that the Cat Whisperer strikes again:
Cat Whisperers do not "strike". We don't even extend ki. We merely allow the feline overlord to choose his own best path [via the bathroom] for his prompt feeding.
If the second half of his best path is losing traction on the hardwood, who am I to argue?


  1. While I refrain from insulting cats by using the word "train" in relation to them, they do like their, er, routine. Our cats spend the nights in the back half of our downstairs. Do not even bother trying to get either of them to enter that part of the house for the night through the hallway door. They MUST come through the dining room.

    1. You note I do not claim to have trained the Fluffy Ninja. :-)

  2. The cat Stu brought to our marriage, the late "Little", a fine specimen of female overlord, had her path to our bed (which is a chestbed with a floating headboard so there is an open space under the head of the bed: into the bedroom by the foot of the bed, trot alongside the bed to the head of it, duck under the open space to cross from one side of the bed to the other, trot down the floor the length of the far side of the bed to the foot of the bed, turn to the foot of the bed and jump up with a meow. Yes, a nearly full circuit of the queen sized bed. Well, after a year we had to move the bed to the adjacent wall, which meant also turning the bed 90 degrees. She was a nonplussed puss. For a good week she would circle the bed over and over and over, meowing, unable to simply jump up.

  3. Along the same lines is Oscar's bedtime routine, in which he runs in, makes sure Drew is tucked in properly, collects ear rubs, and runs back out.

  4. Our Reverend Jim likes to corner me and ask for food outside of the kitchen; so he can race madly into it when I say, "starrrrrring..... RocketCat!"

    He learned that as a kitten, four years ago.