Over the past two weeks by now (sheesh, has it really been that long?), I kind of lost my train of thought. Who wouldn’t, with Cat-Woman Destivelle and Cat-Guy MacAskill? But I’m glad to say the train’s just pulled back into the station again, so all aboard please.
We’re talking about how I, a newbie to the animal world, am searching for ways to negotiate life with a stray cat who, around 1.5 years ago, waltzed up to me on the street and announced that I would be permitted to care for him. He’s been quite the handful. Regular readers know the most dramatic example: The claw-launch maneuver.
We’ve progressed to the stage where I’m not actually injured – but this morning he tried it on again for size. Now don’t get me wrong, we’re still enjoying great progress, in that I didn’t actually bleed – but I need him to just give this caper up altogether. And there are other issues, less serious but still quality-of-life-debilitating, that we have too.
So here’s a checklist of what I’ve done, on the basis of what I’ve learned from all y’all and from expert-saints like Jackson Galaxy:
Item: Cats need to inhabit three dimensions.
Accomplished: Installed shelves and several aerial beds.
Item: The circadian thing. Twice a day, cats need to hunt-catch-kill, eat-groom-crash.
Accomplished: Begun a regimen of hunt-catch-kill-eat-groom-crash, twice a day. Look at the hunt-game we invented, using scraps from the drum
Bugs I broke.
Item: Firm, clear-but-calm-authoritative correction. A “no” to the claw-launch, immediately followed by a “yes” to something else.
Accomplished: Firm correction, followed by request to come up for scritches, followed by treat. It’s working. But per this morning, claw-launch is not gone entirely. I want it gone entirely.
Item: Bugs and I probably need more time. To paraphrase Jackson’s latest Q&A session – which I highly recommend – our relationship will be fluid over time; over the entirety of our lives together, Bugs and I will eventually learn to trust each other more.
Accomplished: Cultivating patient mindfulness on my part. Stepped up my meditation practice. Response on Bugs’s part is incremental. Two steps forward, one back. Here’s Bugs in his more-mellow incarnation, after I meditated and also issued a firm correction:
Item: Hmm. Maybe the next step might be to introduce into the household another cat, about the same age but who’s spent life with humans. An ally, a teammate, so the conversation can be assisted by a friendly humane-feline translator. Wondering about this, thanks to suggestions from friends.
Accomplishment Plan B: Will continue the search. Watch this space.
Don’t worry, Bugs. I still totally love you.