Where’s Willie?

by DaniGirl on August 8, 2012 · 4 comments

in Life, the Universe and Everything

I knew the years of dealing with a mischevious teenager pushing limits and boundaries were ahead of me, but I didn’t expect them to come on so quickly. The attitude, the cold stares, the disrespect for rules, the blatant escape attempts… yeah, Willie the cat is turning in to a real handful in his second year of life. At this rate, one wonders if he doesn’t want to see his third.

He’s by most accounts a good cat. He is tolerant of the boys, and seems to genuinely like Tristan. He tolerates the rest of us in a kind of heirarchy, with Beloved and Simon near the top with Tristan, and Lucas and I falling in somewhere after the dog. I think he’d like the dog a lot more if she’d let him cuddle her, but she continues to be surprisingly resistant to that idea.

He’s a nice cat, but he’s not an affectionate cat. He purrs when you pet him, some of the time, but he doesn’t approach you for affection. He sleeps on my bed, or on Tristan’s, but I think in the case of my bed at least, that’s because I have big open windows in my room that let in sunshine during the day and aromatic breezes at night.

Cat studies

Up until a month or two ago, I would have said he’s a good cat, but he seems to have entered a rebel-without-a-catbox phase. He’s taken to pulling his claws on the furniture and jumping up to places he really has no business exploring, expecially because he’s clumsy as well as curious and tends to knock things flying off high shelves. Lucas was delighted the other day to find him perched on top of the front door.

The biggest problem by far, aside from the Delft pottery jar he shattered and the fact that the sofa is starting to look a little bedraggled and the fact that my iPhone charger has teeth marks in it (sigh), is the fact that Willie is now convinced he is an outdoor cat. Every time you open a door, he tries to slip outside. No wonder he doesn’t cuddle with me, the number of times I’ve closed the screen door on him as he’s darted out after I let the dog in our out. (You can almost see their telepathic conversation each time this happens. Dog: “What the hell are you doing?” Cat: “Why do they let YOU out there all the time?” Dog: “Because I come back. You’re evil and constantly try to run away. I’m old and I walk in a slow circle to do my business and then wander back in. They don’t trust you.” Cat: “One day I will find a way to defeat the blasted screen door!”)

Since Willie tries to escape somewhere between three and eight times each day, it’s not surprising that he actually succeeds every now and then. Mostly he gets out the back door onto the brick patio and I collect him with minimal effort. A couple of times, he’s slipped out the front door and I’ve had to crawl under the porch to retrieve him. He doesn’t go out the front door nearly so often since I discovered that a hose is an excellent way to drive him out from under the porch.

But a few times, he’s really gotten away from us. He hasn’t gotten far, but there have been a half a dozen times this summer that someone utters the dreaded phrase — “Have you seen the cat recently?” Some times, he’s hiding in the house, usually under a bed or in a closet somewhere. A few times, we’ve found him exploring the yard. And then there was this past weekend. I was sitting contentedly on the porch early one morning, reading the paper and drinking my coffee (favourite way to start a summer day!) and I don’t know who was more surprised when Willie and I came face to face as he popped out of the garden and on to the porch. He must have slipped out between my legs while I was carrying my coffee out. By the time I got my shoes on (still in my pyjamas, no less) to drag him out from under the porch, he was long gone. It took the best part of an hour to get him back in the house, and no amount of having Tristan walk around the yard shaking a bag of cat treats and calling him would bring him out of hiding.

Willie in B&W

Sigh. I am glad he’s not a biter, and that he’s tolerant of the boys endless affection for him. He doesn’t seem to mind being placed into their pillow forts or being carried like an infant, and he usually comes running when Tristan calls for him. He’s cute and all, and certainly photogenic. Does anybody have any ideas on how I might impress it upon his pistachio-sized brain that he is not an outdoor cat after all? I’d hate to actually look forward to November’s chill to do the job for me.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Danielle August 8, 2012 at 9:52 am

We’ve actually had a lot of success training our cats to stay out of our bedroom with a tin a pennies. If they come in our room we shake a can of pennies and the terrible noise makes them run the other way. Now we just have to walk toward the can and they scram. Perhaps you could use the same technique for Willie when he goes near the door?

2 DaniGirl August 9, 2012 at 6:42 am

Ah yes, the penny can trick. We learned that one years ago when Katie was a mischevious pup. We beaned her with it once and from then on only needed to even gesture toward the can and she’s instantly behave. Ha, I’d probably give the poor old girl heart failure if we pulled one out and started using it on Willie!!

3 Danielle August 9, 2012 at 12:59 pm

I can see why she wouldn’t like it. I actually can’t stand the rattle either. I’m glad we don’t have to actually shake it now.

4 Katie August 9, 2012 at 1:43 pm

We fought that battle with our cats for a while but in the end we gave in. We trained them to come when called by ALWAYS giving them treats when they come back in the house (whether we called them back or not). This meant that a lot of treats were given out during training (they’d go out for a whole minute and then want back in). Luckily for us, they aren’t very mischevious and tend to stay in our backyard. Even at the cottage that isn’t fenced in they won’t stray too far. Once the snow flies, they become indoor cats again (totally their own choice, one paw in the snow and they are done!).

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