Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cat Flap: Friend or Foe?

Our cat Scraps respects no boundaries or rules. Life with her was difficult in the beginning because I was under the naive impression that it was my job to create a safe, death-free environment in which my new cat would happily live. I have since wised up and let her do pretty much whatever she wants without fear of her doing herself in because really, she is living on borrowed time anyway. Plus, she has a very high pitched, incessant way of letting me know when she is displeased and sometimes if she is displeased long enough she decides to really let me know by peeing in un-designated areas- which is something that should be avoided at all costs.

Upon moving to NYC, Scraps expressed an interest in including our back porch as part of her territory. From there, as most of you know, her 'territory' began to include our neighbors back porch, then their main apartment, and finally their finished off attic area where she can be found quite often, though it is always a surprise to my neighbor. When it began to get cold and we had to shut the windows and doors, Scraps was having none of it and I rigged up a cat flap out of some heavy vinyl and we just dealt with the draft, as it was the lesser of the two evils. In the 6 years that we have lived up here we have upgraded the cat flap several times and none of the cats ever had problems with figuring out how to go in or out. This year, I decided to get all fancy and get an actual cat flap, instead of just a ghetto rigged one and go ahead and make the whole thing official. I am still naive, apparently.

I was completely unprepared for the cats confused reaction. No one could figure it out. Simone was terrified (naturally) and Pablo preferred to use the door (obviously). Scraps decided with her scrambled little brain that I was policing her 'outside time' and she would just sit in front of the door and meow until I would lift it up for her and let her go out. This would be repeated when she wanted to come back inside, which was about 5 minutes later because she has the memory of a freaking goldfish. Its like the minute she gets outside she is thinking, '....hmmmm, what did I come out here for...? Maybe if I retrace my steps, I'll remember.' The she comes back inside and repeats the thought process. So, it was really a full time job just letting her in and out-which was exactly what I wanted to avoid by purchasing the cat flap in the first place. It should also be said, that this went on all night as well as all day. I am still naive, but now tired and grumpy as well.

I tried to think of the differences between this cat flap and our previous cat flaps.

Difference #1: new cat flap is clear. Perhaps cats are confused by it's 'window like' appearance?
Solution: Cover the clear part with opaque tape.
Response: None.
Result: Sticky stuff on the cat flap further turned off the cats.

Difference #2: Screen window also clear, and breeze comes through but cats cannot, further befuddling cats.
Solution: Staple fabric to screen in effort to dissuade cats from trying to scratch through the screen.
Response: Scratched fabric off.
Result: Cats now wondering what the hell happened to the old cat flap.

Difference #3: New cat flap is ever so slightly heavier than previous versions.
Solution: Shove cats through the door in effort to encourage independence.
Response: Glaring.
Result: Cats now think I have gone completely mad and are organizing a revolt to remove themselves from my rule. They are obviously hung up on how to escape.

This is day 4, I think.

Day 6

And success! Day 8.

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