Oscar masters the pet door
Thursday, January 15 2015
Oscar the big fluffy bread-colored cat is a great addition to the household, but he's not perfect. He's neurotic, doesn't get along with Julius (aka "Stripey"), is shy around strangers, and likely to change his behavior dramatically depending on where he is (both inside and outside of the house). Furthermore, he's not exactly the sharpest knife in the chandelier. While Celeste the Kitten figured out the pet door on her own within hours of first encountering it, in seven months, Oscar had yet to grasp the concept. Mind you, I've done everything I could to educate him. I've held the pet door open just wide enough for him to read it as open and then he'd push his way through, but if he didn't see me there, he was never going to go through on his own. Even in cold snowy weather, he would sit outside the door and cry but he wouldn't take the initiative of doing what he's seen Celeste the Kitten (and all his other friends) do hundreds of times. I had begun to wonder if the pet door was a skill as impossible for him to master as the quadratic equation.
But yesterday for the first time, I had strong evidence that Oscar had come in on his own. I'd let him out and then, hours later, remembered he was out there in the cold. Apologetically, I went looking for him only to find him asleep on the bed in the upstairs bedroom (his new daytime sleeping place). It was still possible that I'd let him in and somehow forgotten or that he'd slipped in unseen when Gretchen left for the City. But my memory is better than that, and he's usually too skittish around Gretchen when she's near the door to do anything like that.
A similar thing happened again today when I was down in the greenhouse fixing the wiring (I abandoned the shorting black wire and used that unused red wire as a replacement hot wire with great success). I let Oscar out when I headed down, but when I returned, he was sitting between Stripey and Celeste at the top of the stairs with an attitude that suggested he was feeling good about a recent accomplishment.
Later this evening, I let Oscar out a second time, and this time I set up a webcam pointed at the pet door to watch from my computer while I continued with my full day of web development (among other things, I learned how to rotate DIVs and other HTML entities using CSS). As I worked, I saw Celeste come and go several times, and then Clarence came in. Each time, their eyes would light up like headlights in the glare of the near-IR glow cast by the webcam. Eventually Oscar showed up, got his head close, and then seemed to give up. Celeste saw him out there and waited for him just inside the door (she loves to take him by surprise with a flying tackle), but Oscar wasn't ready just yet. He yowled for awhile and then, resigned to his fate, he pushed his head against the door and slid in with as much skill as Clarence. Hooray! Now we don't have to worry about him freezing to death should we forget about him being outside.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
previous | next