Jake


You may remember the letter from Jake a few weeks back.  I will admit not heeding its plea, and Batman is still with us.  The radius of comfort has diminished considerably, but there are still moments where that personal space gets invaded.  My best description takes its position on the highway.  Imagine driving down the road with the windows down, the radio off (yes, it’s quiet) and you pass the eighteen wheeler.  The roar of the engine maintains an even bass sound as this is a patch of road that’s level and no switching gears is needed.  While passing this truck, the air tank on the brake system reaches full capacity and the pressure relief valve activates to get the pressure back to operating range.  That moment when the valve releases is like Batman getting into Jake’s personal space.  Quiet, quiet, quiet, PSSSSSSS!!!, or, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm, PSSSSSSS!!!  All in all, things are getting better.  At least Jake hasn’t written any more letters.

Many moons ago, there was the patter of small feet through the house.  Let’s be honest.  There was the stomping of feet though the hallways and shrill screams concerning toys, plus and minus, and other noises common to the younger of our species.  One period of time seemed to separate the kid from this – television watching.  For some reason, the images on that little screen would transfix kidinbox in such a fashion, that the face would droop, the eyes would widen and the gaze would fix on that nineteen inches of space.  It was such that I would hear the desire to watch some show, and I would announce “OK, assume the position.”  Then make an elongated face, stare fixed.  This, of course, was not appreciated by kidinbox, but what could kid do?  Watch the show.  Now kidinbox is moved out and Jake and Pearl are moved in.  Between spouseinbox and I, we have decided that the back sliding glass doors are the cat television.  Mominbox has two feeders plus a humming bird feeder on the back porch and there are a couple of field mice which have taken up residence under the overhang of the siding right next to the door.  Net effect is that the cats will sit there and stare out the door.  Occasionally, they will bump their heads on the window trying to reach the tasty morsel running around on the other side.  In the evening, the sun gets such a place in the sky, that it shines in those doors and blinds anyone sitting facing them, so we shut the vertical blinds.   Jake is not content to allow the television to be closed, so he pushes aside the slats to keep watching – blinding the person sitting at the table.  “Jake!”  (innocent look presented.)  One evening, we finally had to move him to the bedroom and shut the door to allow unblinded supper time.

‘Tis the season to bring out all the tinsel, balls, lights, snowflakes, garland, cats,…. Cats?! Here is the effect of putting up our tree today:
Jake Tree

While off at training, I was informed that Jake has maintained usage of the litter in the toilet. However, there was a distinction he was making. The urine was placed in the toilet pan and the stool was placed in the big litter box. I am guessing the next step will be to remove the big litter box and start daily cleanings of the small one in the toilet until he is using it regularly. The only down side to this consideration at this time is the wonder of where he will place it other than the small pan at the immediate time the box disappears. That is expressed by the question, “how confident am I that he will use the small pan at this time for everything.” My comfort level is about 40%, and may increase over time as his continued usage of the small pan is displayed.
On the encouraging side, we went to Sea World last weekend and saw several animal shows. One of them contained rats, cats, dogs, and birds. It was interesting to see them described and display a single training exercise of a cat who was supposed to run across the stage and into a small door. At the back of the door was a staff to provide the snack reward for a job well done. The cat didn’t want to come out of the carrier. They placed the carrier closer to the door, and the cat hopped out and went through the door. This was repeated two more times, each a bit farther from the door than the previous attempt. We are doing the same sort of procedure with Jake, and it’s good to see someone has had success training a cat.

Several moons ago, I had a patient with a trained cat. Trained as in would use the toilet. No litter was needed with this feline. I decided that Jake was smart enough to perform this activity and save us the hassle of litter. It does require cooperation of the cat though. The instructions were to initially elevate the litter box to the level of the toilet and let Jake be there whenever the toilet was utilized by the humans. Then, placed Saran wrap over the bowl and sprinkle some litter there. Keep the Saran wrap there until Jake realizes that this is not an additional water bowl. The once behavior has been established, remove the wrap and let the feline use it with treats for success.
Now, real life. (I say that because…., well here we go.)
I elevated the litter box and took a couple of tries and two different boxes to get it reasonably placed. This was the easiest part of our trek. Jake already used the toilet as a step to get to the vanity, so placing his box that level wasn’t even an issue. Curiosity maybe, but definitely not an issue. Next step was to get the wrap on the bowl. I bought a new roll and started covering the bowl. Jake looked at the wrap and pawed it. A new water source was his next target. We fought this for a period of time and don’t forget, we are having to remove the wrap for ourselves. Jake doesn’t have his own place to use, so cooperation tolerance is the key. This activity went on a couple of weeks with better and worse compliance on our part installing the wrap and then leaving up the toilet lid for access. Then came Dollar Tree. Spouseinbox found a plastic bowl that with a little encouragement, would fit into the toilet under the ring. This has been the best find yet – and only a dollar. We have been keeping this bowl there for a week, and this has been much more efficient than the wrap. I also have been placing pieces of Jake’s output into this pan to hopefully provide the olfactory sense of what its purpose is. A couple of days ago, Jake was pawing in it, and this morning he deposited some urine there. Yea, for small successes. I am imagining that this process will take some time. Once we get more appropriate behavior trained, I will put up another update.

Spouseinbox and I both like cats. Once we had our own place, a feline joined the family. There are pictures of cats here and there and in the local lumbar yard was a figurine of a cat holding a welcome sign to be placed in the yard. It took up its abode in the flower bed beside the front door. Now this figurine was made of some thick plastic substance that looked nice, but was not very weighty and as such, spouseinbox decided to bring it into the house during one of those weird moments where clouds are overhead and some clear substance drops from the sky… Anyways, we are getting ready to go out and find some caloric substance when we notice Jake in the living room with a bottle brush tail starting to arch his back. I look around the living room and notice nothing out of place. Jake starts to inch down the hall and that’s when I realized what was happening. Of course I turn on the lights and grab the camera, but as I a not paying for video posting here, you get the thousand words instead. Jake menaced this statue, raised his paw at it, and even did his feline growl at it a couple of times. He would get no response, go back to the living room, and proceed to perform the actions again. Spouseinbox decided to help and went to the end of the hall, placed a cell phone behind the statue and started to play a sound recording of a cat purring. I interject, “you know you’re not helping.” It does seem that as long as spouseinbox is by the statue, Jake is all right to go down there and say hi. We think things are calm again and start to ready to leave – don’t forget those calories.
Jake starts again, and this time has the arched back and hopping sideways towards the statue. He got close this time, enough to paw its head, then back away. We put Jake in the bedroom and went to eat.
Upon return, Jake was released from confinement and we were treated to a sequel. Just like the sitcoms, he forgot to rewrite the script.

Newton’s third law is spelled out here.
In the practical realm of the cat world, this means that expulsion of feces results in a furry bullet going around the room.
“Honey, there he goes again.”
“All right, I got the fan.”

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