Thursday, July 10, 2008

It's not mean, it's survival

When George came to be in this house, he quickly established himself as the alpha cat even though Lucy had been with me for several years and even Aspen had a few years of seniority on him.
He was aggressive. He chased them. He kept them from the food bowl.

Consequently they became scared of pretty much everything.
Lucy spent most of her time on top of the fridge since that was about the only place fat Georgie could not get at her.

After about a year of that, things came to a head.
I talked to the vet and she asked if there was any way to separate them, to keep Lucy and Aspen separate from George.

I thought about it and decided the best course would be to keep George in the third bedroom as much as possible. It had been set up as sort of a storage room anyway. With linoleum floors and no furniture he could damage, I thought it would work.

And it would have. Except George really, really, REALLY hates to be alone. Especially if he knows someone is in the other room without him.

He meows. MEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWS. And then meows some more. And loudly.

So that arrangement did not last long.
I switched it. Lucy and Aspen got the room. Surprisingly, they took to it quickly.
I think they liked the quiet, liked being away from him.
They had free access to the food and water without fear for their lives.

And so it has been for several years now.

George spends his day in the living room and kitchen, with access to the front bathroom where the box is. Lucy and Aspen are in their room, safe.

And when I am home, I try to give them all turns being out in the living area with me.
To do this, I lock George in the bathroom from time to time and Lucy and Aspen get their time.

Lucy likes to roam and play. Aspen likes to sleep on the loveseat.

And then, at the end of the day, they all get locked up again.

Before I go to bed most nights I lock George in the bathroom.
Why? Isn't that mean?

Well, the why is easy. Because he is bad.
Remember that whole thing about him not wanting to be alone?
Well that applies even when I am trying to sleep.

He cries and cries and cries. He tries to get into the bedroom.
The door has a handle instead of a knob and he figured out long ago that he can stand up and pull that handle down and the door will open.
If I don't lock him up, I still at least have to lock him out. If I don't, he lets himself in and climbs on the headboard until I get up.

Even if I do lock the door, he will hang out and mess with the handle, which itself is quite noisy.

So mean or not, he goes in the bathroom at night. Oh he still cries. But with the second bedroom as a buffer and my door closed, it is muffled enough so that I can sleep.

Last night I let him stay out in the living room. I knew he would start crying early. Sometimes it is at 5 a.m. Today it was at 7:30. Once he heard my alarm.

I decided to capture the symphony that is George. Not to mention the glorious sounds of him working that door handle. I eventually unlocked the door so he could open it.

This is just a snippet. Imagine hearing that for an hour. Or more.

Then you will understand why he goes in the bathroom at night.


Sona said...

I hear you totally. Years ago when my daughter was an infant the cats would try to get to her and if they couldn't they would cry and make noise and of course, she would wake up.

Didn't take long for them to get locked in the utility room each night and during her naptime.

And though she's 9 now, I still lock the cat up at night.

Actions have consequences.

ReesePie said...

Doesn't he destroy the bathroom? I used to have to lock my big kitty Crispin in the bathroom at night and he shredded the door frame. We had to pay to replace it (at a ridiculous rate, of course).

Jill said...

Actually, after a while he gets in his little cat bed and goes to sleep.
Some mornings I make it up before him and when I go in there he is curled up in a tight little ball.
So I know he doesn't cry all night. But usually he make a fuss for a while and usually he is up ahead of me, making another fuss.
And surprisingly, he doesn't tear stuff up. He doesn't even attack the TP.