Monday, July 21, 2008

Nobody Likes Cats, part II

I've said it before, and now I'll say it again: Nobody likes cats.

After the last post, we've taken horny young Ada back to the vet, told them to do it right this time and came back and picked up a very noticeably (and, though I'm ashamed to say it, humorously) post-op wobbly Ada. At that point, she had been indoors for a week and a half, and now we were going to keep her in for another week while her stitches heal up.

This presents some problems. One of these problems is that the other cat, Galileo, doesn't precisely feel that he should be punished because Ada can't behave. Lori and I feel the same way. So basically, we're doormen for him now, and run to open the cat door whenever he feels he wants to go outside since we can't leave the cat door open permanently lest Ada run out, too. In theory, this is not a problem. We have a small house and it's not a big deal to go and let him out when he wants out. Besides, he usually stays out for long stretches so it's not a matter of running back and forth every 10 minutes.

However, there are other problems associated with it. One of those is that Galileo is a very loud and noisy cat. Obnoxious, some would say. I would say. When he wants out, or food, or is bored, he'll let you know about it. Some cats have very faint voices, this one has the volume - and often, the sound - of a seagull. I bring this up, because while it's OK to go and open the cat door in the day, it's not quite as OK to run and open the cat door at night. Firstly because we like the cats to be home at night, secondly because the effort involved in moving to the cat door and opening it is at the very least quadrupled when it requires that I wake up first. Or at least before I reach the somewhat slippery and steep stairway.

So what do you do when it's the middle of the night and Galileo decides that he's bored and wants to go outside? Well, letting him out is one option. It's a somewhat unfortunate option because it not only means that we have to go downstairs to resolve the sitaution, but it also means - at least in my mind - that we're encouraging him. We're rewarding this behavior. By not letting him out, I reason, he might learn that it's futile to make all this noise in the middle of the night and be quiet.

Our policy of not giving in to his keeping-us-awake blackmailing has stood firmly for three years, and for three years we have seen no improvements. Yet, we persist. As does he.

Usually, we lock him up in the room with the closets. I don't have a good name for this room, but it's a small room with closets. So I call it the room with the closets. Besides closets, it also has a litter box and a bowl of water, and this makes it an ideal room to put Galileo in when he's being obnoxious. However, Saturday morning at 3am when he was going at it had some other complications associated with it, namely the fact that we now only had one litter box in the house. We usually have two, but not this morning - I had put one of them out in the car port over night to clear some odor from it.

One litter box, two cats. If we lock one cat up, one of them will not have access to a litter box, and we know what happens then (oh yes, we know). Locking them both up in there could have been an option in the past, but now they fight as soon as they're close to each other, so that wasn't going to happen, either. A split second decision was needed. We could go out to the carport and fetch the other litter box, or we could let Galileo out. Just this once.

The second option was deemed to be the path of least resistance. Let him out, and we can go back to wonderful, blissful sleep. Stumble down the stairs, unlock cat door, push annoying cat out, lock cat door, wobble up the stairs, fall into bed, sleep comfortably for another 5 hours.



No, this is decidely not how things turned out. I must remind you again that we have a cat door that we can set four ways, as in, we can set it to only let cats out, only let cats in, or let them both and out, or being completely locked. We essentially never lock it completely, since we don't want to let the cats out and now have them be able to get back in. So when letting Galileo out, we set it to "in-only." The same thing, of course, on Saturday morning.

You wonder what happened? So did I, when I woke up at 5am to strange noises coming from downstairs. I stumbled out of bed, down the stairs, and...

It's a freakin' magpie. A MAGPIE. They've brought birds - usually dead, or close to dead, birds - into the house before, but they were of the small variety. A magpie is not that small of a bird. I mean, it's no raven, but it's decidely crow-sized. It's in fact so big that I'm still in awe as to how the hell Galileo managed to get it and himself through the cat door at the same time.

And it was alive. And, understandably, upset. In fact, it was not only alive, it seemed fine as it flew around downstairs, while chased but not one, but two cats. Oh yes, they don't get along at all usually, but now suddenly they're Mickey and Mallory.


I'll save you the story of us desperately trying to get the bird out of the house. Suffice it to say that no real damage was done to the interior of the house, or to its inhabitants, or even the bird. The magpie got out fine, after a (long) while of having pecked desperately at the closed window in the kitchen and completely ignored the wide open one that was two feet to its left. Since neither Lori nor I wanted to pick it up and carry it over to the open window (or out the door) we went with the coward's option of shoving it towards freedrom with a long object, in this case a broom. This is more difficult than you might think since the bird was not in any mood to be shoved and, unlike land based animals, had the option of moving in all three dimensions to return to where it had previously been shoved from. But alas, finally it flew away on its own and sat on a roof top down the road, so we gather it got out okay. Although, before it got out, it was very clearly panting. I've never heard a bird panting before. Still, we think asthmathic bird is OK.

I still can't believe Galileo got the bird in, though.

I'm going to have to make a follow up post with pictures of Galileo, the cat door and perhaps superimpose a magpie on top of it to give you an idea how small of a margin he had to work with.

Nobody likes cats.

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