Jun. 17th, 2006 02:57 pm
I swear that cat says "Hello," "Mom," and "Now!"

"Hello" is when the kids are outside playing, I'm upstairs reading or on the computer, and he's feeling lonely. I'll answer "Hello" and he'll come up to sit beside me.

"Mom" is much the same, but not as lonely or urgent. It's used for "the kids are outside and I'm sort of wanting something but not badly enough to demand it... could I have your attention for a bit, please?"

"Now" is a morning thing, and has started happening since he was put on a diet. He's hungry in the morning, convinced he'll starve any moment, and demands food by pacing back and forth along the beds or top of the stairs and repeating "Now" in a loud voice.

"Hello" and "Mom" have the "question" rise in pitch at the end. "Now" is most definitely an exclamation/command.
How in the world does one teach a cat manners? Dogs, sure. Cats?

Jack will not eat off people-dishes. The first time Mark offered Jack some bits of chicken, on a little plate, Jack looked horribly conflicted. (Sort of like when Mark picked him up and put him on the table. He knew he wasn't allowed to be on the table, but he also wasn't supposed to jump away from the kid, that'd just be rude.) He obviously wanted to eat the chicken, but was also obviously certain he was not allowed to eat the chicken, and confused as hell as to why the kid was trying to trick him into eating the chicken. We've since discovered that he'll happily eat the people-food scraps if they're put into his food dish. Only if they're put into his food dish. Not beside his food dish. Inside his food dish.

Jack will meow to be fed in the morning, but only if he thinks you're already awake. If one of the kids is up, he doesn't bother with me. He meows to get the kid's attention, then walks to the top of the stairs and waits for the kid to follow. If the kid fails to follow, he meows again. He then leads the kid down the stairs and to his food and water dishes or, if his litterbox needs some attention, to said litterbox. Then he sits and waits expectantly as his needs are tended to.

If my room is messy, he's in a terrible fix. He won't step on clothing, phone books, papers... he likes to spend lots of time under my bed, so a blocked path is a real problem for him. Before I realized what the issue was, I'd watch him stand there all perplexed, trying to figure out how to get from Point A to Point B without stepping on anything. Interestingly enough he'll step on the phone, which sits on the floor. It's the base to a cordless phone, and so has a nice big speakerphone button right in the middle of it. He'd step on that button everytime, then jump a foot or two at the very loud dial tone. Poor Jack.

Now, he'll pee in corners and on clothing left on the floor. He does look guilty when caught, and runs to hide under my bed. We still have occasional problems with his biting the kids during a petting session. He won't jump up on the counters. He won't jump onto the table, and was very relieved, that one time, when I told Mark that Jack wasn't allowed on the table and to please lift him down. He only jumps onto beds in order to cuddle, never to wake anyone. He's never broken anything.

Who taught this cat manners, and how??? (For those who don't know, we got Jack at the animal shelter in November. He was neutered and declawed and is an indoors-only cat.)

ETA: general opinion in comments is that Jack's former owners were awfully (as in awful) firm in their discipline. This makes me sad. Jack is such a sweet kitty. :-(

Cat Update

Feb. 12th, 2006 01:42 pm
It's been brought to my attention that I don't post much about Jack. This is mostly because Jack is a very polite, self-possessed and dignified cat.

Jack does not wake us in the morning when he wants food. He waits until we're up and about, then stands at the top of the stairs and meows that one of the kids should follow him. (He doesn't bother asking me to remedy his food/water/litter issues unless none of the kids show signs of getting out of bed. He also doesn't curl up to sleep with me unless none of the kids are in bed.) Once downstairs he'll lead his chosen attendant to his food and water or to his litterbox and meow that the situation should be improved please.

He'll occasionally play with a toy, but only until he notices you watching. He'll then sit up straight, in "dignified adult cat" posture, and give you the look which means "Why, the very idea that I'd act like a kitten! You insult me!"

He's not a lap cat. Once in a while he'll walk up and rub my chair and legs with his paws and ask to be picked up. He's gone again within five minutes. He'll cuddle up against someone's side, but the lap is a very time-limited thing.

So, yes. We have a cat and it is good. We love our Jack.

And with that, I'm off to the library to get my three I.L.L. books, and to the grocery store for "we got flu" supplies.

Exhibit A: Cat litter. It's poopable! It's scoopable! It's flushable! Truly, a cat-owner's dream. But there's one hugely vital question: is this cat litter safe for use around pets??

Exhibit B: Well, THAT'S a relief! Huzzah! It is safe for use around pets! Oh happy day!

I showed this to the cashier as I bought the stuff. She stared for a moment, snerked, and called her manager over to see it. She kept a straight face until after she'd deadpanned "Hey Joe, check this out," then giggled so hard she had tears in her eyes. She then thanked me and said "That made my entire day."



September 2007

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