Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Training a cat

As most cats with a regular feeding schedule will do, Lucy is prone to an hour or two of yowling when she thinks it should be dinnertime. Because, you know, on any given day I might FORGET TO FEED HER or something if she doesn't insistently remind me.

Fairly soon after adopting her, I resolved to extinguish this behavior, lest it drive me mad. So I instituted a simple rule: even if it's her dinnertime, she doesn't get fed until she has been quiet for five straight minutes. This has been remarkably effective, and it's rare these days (maybe once a month or so) that I have to actually enforce it. She just knows that meowing to remind me to get her food backfires.

I was feeling pretty darn clever at having trained her this way. Instead of putting up a fuss, she instead developed a habit of crawling into my lap, if I'm at my desk, or onto my legs if I'm on the sofa and just waiting quietly for dinnertime.

Lately, however, she has developed an alternative way to communicate the fact that she's hungry--one that doesn't run afoul of the vocalization rule: She jumps up on the couch, where I'm relaxing in front of the TV, sits on my chest, and stares at me, eyeball to eyeball.

It looks a little something like this:

Here's the reverse angle on the staredown:

I bought a tablet computer a while ago, and some nights recently I've been playing games on it instead of watching TV. When that happens, she carefully steps over the tablet, planting herself between me and it. I haven't been able to get a selfie of that, because it makes me laugh so hard.

If I still have not gotten her food after what she deems to be an adequate time, she just lies down to continue giving me the message:

The only thing that breaks her concentration--other than me actually fetching her dinner, of course--is taking pictures of her posturing. Then she's all like, "Hey, why u take pikchur uv me? I did not giv u mah permishun."

The whole thing is just completely hilarious, and if my neighbors are listening through the walls, they must wonder what has me laughing like a maniac every night lately.

It's also completely ineffective, because her food time is set in stone at 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m., and will not be moved earlier on the basis of any cat entreaties, no matter how intrusive, pathetic, funny, or insistent.

It does make it rather difficult to either play computer games or watch TV, though. So I gently move her down to my legs, which is where she has usually settled for our snuggle time. Every few minutes, though, she crawls back up to my face, just to be sure that there is no chance I have forgotten to FEED THE CAT.

It would be impossible for me to forget to take care of such a delightful, endearing creature.


Anonymous said...

Looks like a Bengal.I have had two of this incredible breed. In case you haven't figured it out your cat is the owner not you.

Rakewell said...

Nah, in markings she's just an ordinary tabby, except with some orange stripes and splotches mixed in.

Hangar18 said...

Beautiful cat Grump...but don't you think 9:30p is a bit late to feed him dinner? I am not surprised he is bugging you for it.

I give my cat dry food in the morning and wet food for dinner around whatever time I eat dinner.

VegasDWP said...

Hours and hours of entertainment, all for the price of cat food.

lightning36 said...

We have three, thus triple the fun. They all have distinctive personalities. In fact, you might have just inspired me to do a cat post.