Shirley Thompson

North Shore Update

Cats Rule

We have two cats, our male cat is a "tiger" cat and his name is Alexei (pronounced Alex-eee).  Our female cat is a tortoise cat and her name is Nakita (pronounced Na-KEE-ta).  Both cats have distinct personalities.  For instance, Nakita is quiet and is my husband's cat.  When I say she is "his" cat I mean that she is the one that will alert me if something is wrong.  She will come and get me and meow until I follow her.  We have nicknamed her "nurse Nakita." Alexei, on the other hand, is our noisy cat.  He is quite vocal and is MY cat.  I say he is "my" cat because he follows me every where and when ever I sit down he immediately jumps up on my lap.  He does not like it if Nakita sits on my lap and cries and carries on until she jumps down or will come up and push her off. He is a spoiled brat.

There is a saying that "A dog will come when you call it. A cat, on the other hand, will ask you to leave a message and it may, or may not, get back to you."  This I've found is true to a certain extent.  Alexei will come to me when I call him; if he wants to that is.  Some times that cats have certain "habits" that I feel they should change.  This is not an easy thing to get them to do. I have tried discussing the issues with them and in some cases this works. 

The cats have a litter box that looks like big bench.  It is covered in carpeting, flips open on the top so I can place a litter box inside, and has an open door on the side for easy exit and entry for the cats.  This gives them privacy and allows the litter box to be hidden and out of sight of visitors.  Nakita has developed the habit of peeing on the edge of the litter box which means I have to wash the plastic lining inside their bathroom each and every week.  I find this annoying.

Alexei likes to play fetch with little nerf golf balls.  He will bring the nerf ball to you, drop it, and wait impatiently for you to toss it so that he can chase it and bring it back to do it all over again. Sometimes, he prefers to play "fetch" at 2 in the morning.  He will bring the nerf ball into my bed then paw at my hair to wake me up.  If pawing at my hair doesn't do the trick he will put his nose near my ear and "MEOW."  That ususally does the trick but I'm never in the mood to play "fetch" with him at that time of the day.

So, I decided it was time to have a discussion with the two cats.  They were both seated on the sofa in the living room.  Both were laying on the sofa with their paws tucked under their furry little bodies.  I walked over to the couch and paced back in forth in front of them. 

"We need to have a little talk,"  I told them. 

They blinked, Nakita yawned, then closed her eyes; Alexei rolled on his side in anticipation of taking a little snooze.  I figured I had to get their attention.  I walked into the kitchen and grabbed the jar of "cat treats" that they love.  I walked back into the living room shaking the container of treats.  Now I had their attention.  Both cats sat up in anticipation of receiving a treat. 

"Not so fast," I told them.  "I said we need to have a little talk.  Once we have completed this discussion and all parties have agreed to certain stipulations, I will give you each your treat."

They blinked at me.  I took this as a good sign.

"Now, Nakita,"  I began.  "You are supposed to THINK outside the box and PEE inside the box," I began.  "From now on, I want you to make sure that your rear end is totally inside the litter box when you use it," I continued.  "Do I have your agreement on that?"  I asked.  She looked at me and blinked.  I took that as a yes and gave her a treat.

Now Alexei was upset and wanted his treat.  He was now standing on the couch in anticipation. 

"OK Alexei," I began.  "I do not mind playing fetch with you, however, you must never bring the nerf balls into my bed in the middle of the night and wake me up to play with you."  I looked at him and he staired back at me.  "I will happily play with you when I am up and out of bed, but when I am in bed, leave the nerf balls out of my bed," I continued.  "Do we have an agreement?"  He meowed and I took that as a yes and gave him his treat.

I now figured that the problem was taken care of.  Sure enough, that week Nakita managed to pee inside the litter box and all I had to do was sweep up the litter they get all over the outside of the box when they wipe their feet.  I gave her a treat.

Alexei, on the other hand, did not wake me up in the middle of the night to play "fetch."  I did wake up one morning and found him sleeping in his usual place which is beside me with his head on my pillow.  I stretch and rolled over onto my back to discover the bed was "lumpy."  I sat up and there were four nerf balls laying on my bed.  Well, I figured, at least he didn't wake me up to play and I feel that I made some progress with him so I did give his treat as well.  I'm not sure it was a total victory but it is a start.

I also had to have a discussion with Alexei about the jig saw puzzle.  He likes to lay across the puzzle when I am trying to work on it.  This isn't a problem if there is enough of the puzzle completed and he can lay on the part that is completed.  But, sometimes, I find his rear end in the way, or his tail swishes back and forth tossing the puzzle pieces.  We then have a bit of an argument about it.  Also, we do have wolves up here.  One day one howled and it scared him so bad that he looked like some one had stuck his tail in a light socket.  He shot off the table and scattered puzzle pieces all over the loft area dismantling a good portion of the puzzle that had already been completed.  It took two hours for him to come out of the closet he hid in.  I nearly tripped over Nakita as she ran up the stairs to join Alexei in the closet looking like her tail had been stuffed into a light socket as well.  Both cats stayed in the closet for the next two hours.  Talk about "Scardy cats."