Sunday, 9 November 2014

Living with a cat 

After a long break the blog is back to life. Where did I finish the last time? Oh yes, we were adopted by a cat. Two people who had never had a cat. Two people who had not liked the cats before. Two people who had thought the cats were monsters. Two people who had planned to have a dog. 

Now there was a cat in our life. And our cat was different (I know, every cat owner says that about their pets ha ha). Wise and smart even as a 3-month old kitty (he wanted us to take him and it saved his life – that was very smart of him). Every day he proved that we all made a very good decision about living together. And I changed my mind about the cats (and so did my husband).

What has changed since Cycek moved in? A lot!

When you live without pets (or small children, the rules are similar I suppose) you do not have to worry about things you leave behind, like the scissors on the table, the threads or the small plastic things… You can leave a plate with half-finished dinner and clean it later. You do not have to vacuum the house every day.

When you live with a pet, well, that’s a different story.

Cycek was not interested in human food but… he liked to knock things down. Any small thing on the table or on the shelves and he was very happy to push it until it fell on the floor. I had to reorganize the decor in the house. And I did it as I did not want to worry about Cycek when I was not at home. The falling things on the floor were not a problem (mostly) but if he would eat the thread or some plastic it could come to a very bad end.

Of course, Cycek was interested in everything in the house. He had to check everything. And you could say he was everywhere. He ‘helped’ us when we cooked, cleaned, watched TV, read books or newspapers. After a few nights he had the same day and night routine as we did – awake during a day and asleep at night. A perfect housemate. Almost – every day at 5 a.m. sharp Cycek was ready for his breakfast. We were not ;) He perfected his ways of waking us up. Licking the face, pinching the ears, grabbing the eyelashes… you name it. He was very persistent so one of us had to get up and give him his  breakfast (fortunately this has changed and now I can sleep as long as I want to, he knows his breakfast will be served at 7-9)

Because he was born a feral cat and left early by his mother, Cycek did not play like a cute kitten at first. We bought him a lot of different toys and in a first month I had a problem with encouraging him to play with me. Many times, when I was swaying the cat pole, he sat and gave me a -‘what-are-you doing?-are-you-crazy-or-what?’- look. And I was thinking – ‘I’ve been doing this for an hour now… What am I doing wrong?’.

We discovered by chance what Cycek liked. My husband is an angler, angling is his passion. During the winter season my husband always cleans all his angling equipment (rods, reels) and prepares a stock of hook lines. Naturally, our living room serves as a place for doing this. When Cycek saw a fishing rod (the one for the English method)  he went crazy. That was the thing he liked and wanted to run after it. My husband chose one of his oldest rods and sacrificed it – making it Cycek’s toy. You could think – what a good heart! - Yep… but the truth was now he could buy a new one as a replacement. The perfect excuse, right? ;)

Did I mention Cycek is a very wise cat? Litter training took him... 5 minutes. He knew immediately how to use the cat litter tray. You could say all cats know it. Nope. This is not always the case (in future posts I will prove it). Especially when you take a kitty/cat from the street (but it is not a rule). Initially, we put the cat litter box in the living room. After 2 days we decided to put it in the bathroom on the first floor. How long did it take Cycek to learn where the new place for the litter box was? Less than a minute, time required to get to the bathroom from the living room. My husband took Cycek in one hand, the litter box in the other, went upstairs, put Cycek and the box on the bathroom floor and the job was done. Simple and easy. 

The next positive thing about Cycek was that he did not scratch the furniture. We bought him a small cat tree and he scratched it like crazy. That was actually the first thing we bought him. Two days later it turned out he was dying. My husband made a promise - if Cycek survived, he would build a really big cat tree for Cycek (in the USA such big cat trees are called Cats Gym). When  Cycek returned from the hospital my husband started looking for the ideas but he wanted to build something unique. The concept time took him 3 months but as you will see in the next post, it was worth it.

There was only one downside with the whole ‘Cycek-moving-in’ story. Cycek was scratching us during a play or when he was lying next to us. For him it was completely normal as this was a way he played with his siblings (plus important note - Cycek didn’t have a proper interaction with humans before moving in with us). It took about 2 months to eliminate it. Every time he did it, we would ended the play or we would leave him on his own, always saying NO. When this did not work, Cycek would receive a finger swatting in his forehead. That was not hurting him physically but showing him that he crossed the line.

Today, Cycek is a fully grown cat and knows the house rules. We can play and Cycek scratches and bites the toy. Never my hands. Even when I touch him during the play. Sometimes he does a forbidden thing like licking the pan after it was used for making scramble eggs or pancakes and left in the sink or on the cooker. When I tell him ‘Cycek, you are not allowed to do this’, he stops immediately and jumps on the floor. When he leaves the kitchen he meows in a way which resembles the muttering which says  ‘a little pan with a little oil and she makes a big fuss about it’.  

Cycek is our cat boss at home. Because for most of the time he is sitting quietly in some hidden place (like a chair at the table) or on our laps, the first impression is that he does not care about what is going on around him. But he knows everything and from time to time he reminds other cats he is the boss. And when he wants to remind us that he is very clever and fit he makes a show for us. He jumps on the cat tree and behaves like a monkey. Really.

Stay tuned – the next post will be about the big home-made cat tree and the very pleased monkey-cat!
Have a nice week!

Sunday, 13 April 2014