Posted by: peterhact | July 18, 2012

Resistance is futile – Part 1

The new house had a distinct lack of mats outside, which explained the muddy paw prints into the laundry and the kitchen. So, armed with the 3 small kidlets, I took a trip to bunnings to collect supplies to solve the dilemma. The S&D Cat Module was not invited, as he refuses to walk when I put his leash on. I will explain that a bit further on. We came out of bunnings with the outdoor mats, several plants (how did they get in the trolley?) and about an hour of fun at the play place next to the cafe.

Triumphant, we installed the mats at each door. Then I spent a bit of time under the supervisory eyes of kidlets and cat, planting out the plants that were bought, in our brand new vege patch (it was the sandpit) and creating a hedge.

I could have timed how long between me planting the veges to the S&D Cat Module fertilising the patch, but I anticipated that it was just less than light speed. Flatulence indicated he was done. Several seedlings had vanished in the noxious cloud. i had resorted to my painting mask with the carbon inserts. it did not prevent me from having to deal with the smell.

Garden. check. hedge. check. shovel. check. buried offering to gardening. check. stunned cat after running into the shovel, the rake and one of the kidlets. check.

The moment when you know that the new place is home is when you find that the cat has commandeered the mat near the door, and is proceeding to sleep on it. A house that isn’t home will never have that kind of reaction.

Okay, time to explain the cat leash. When the S&D Cat Module was an ickle kitten, (aaaaw) we were told to train him with a collar and leash. that way, he could go outdoors and get his exercise, and still remain an inside cat. These suggestions never work. We should have realised after the fight to get the collar on. We were told to leave it on for a couple of weeks so that he could get used to it. We thought that was a great idea, as the amount of scratches and bites gained by putting the collar on were not a small amount, and the prospect of repeating the process was not an option. Then, we were told, we could walk him around the house with the leash on. short trips, pointing out features that his mad little kitten brain hadn’t noticed yet.

One thing about any cat, any age, is that the collar is not something fun for them. They don’t see it as a fashion accessory, they see it as One Step Towards Human Domination Over Cats. This will not do. The first week was filled with attempts to get the collar off by hooking one’s feet into the collar and pushing. considering the feet used were the back ones, this eventually resulted in a kitten that appeared to be hog tied and bound. Hilarity ensued for us, probably scarring him in the process. The second week was filled with hog tying and a new technique, Maddies. Maddies are when a spot on a cat’s brain gets stuck on turbo and they leap around the house at high speed, until they make a mistake and crash into an open cupboard, slide across a tiled floor with scrabbling claws or try for a bid for freedom through the closed sliding door. This also creates hilarity for humans. In cats, not so much.

Week three was a combination of all the tried methods and a new one, being weally, weally cute. (aaaaw) This failed to have the desired effect, so the backup plan of lurking and attacking feet, legs, laps and heads was used. This was a good idea, but it had the wrong reaction. We thought he was used to the collar and  was settling into his normal routine. How wrong we were.

At the end of week three, we put the leash on. Then we visited rooms of wonder in the house. The S&D Cat Module (Kitten version 1.0) was not a good tethered wild beast, there were moments of hilarity as he scrabbled or flipped completely over, funny to see, but how were we to know that it was going to get really strange?

This is the laundry. (scrabble, scrabble, flip, yowl, scrabble) This is the Lounge room. Notice that there are vertical blinds. They should remain there. (yowl, shred, flip, yowl) This is the bathroom. These doors should remain closed when people are taking a bath or shower. (scrabble, scrabble, flip, yowl) This is the bedroom. The vertical blinds are supposed to remain up as they are now. (flip, shred, CRASH, yowl.) This is the kitchen. For the record, flour remains in containers, NOT in cupboards, the carpet and on the ceiling. (scrabble, slide, scrabble, yowl, CRASH, Tinkle) I had a bit of cleaning up to do, rehang a few vertical blinds, clean up the mess in the kitchen, but it was Worth It.

Come week four, we had Beaten Him (not literally). He got a glazed look when we put the leash on. He fell over and refused to get up. A couple of attempts to take him “walkies” ended up with him being dragged like a large fluffy mop across the tiles in the kitchen. This was the ultimate defence against being subjected to walkies. You can’t take out a limp cat on a leash. Take the leash off and he is back to bouncy kitten. put the leash on and we have a rag-doll cat. Hmm.

Then, in the midst of all this cat torture, we decided to remodel our tiny, yet serviceable, back yard. When we moved in, it was a sea of woodchip. Woodchip gardens inexplicably breed the Large Huntsman Spider, who loves to come and visit houses. This was not acceptable behavior in the eyes of the other member of the townhouse or the S&D Cat Module (Kitten version 1.0), who both had arachnophobia. Huntsman spiders did not Back Down and Die when attacked. They got upset and went after fluffy kittens, causing involuntary leaping and fluffyitis attacks. This is not acceptable. when the S&D Cat Module (Kitten version 1.0) usually hit things like the dreaded bogong moth or the equally annoying fly, at least they had the decency to die and allow the S&D Cat Module (Kitten version 1.0) a light, often crackly snack. I remember in the middle of summer I was always able to tell the numbers of flies in the house by the amount of times I heard crackling. That is one less. So is that.

As the house had no back gate, we decided to put down a length of black plastic from the front door to the back door, (to avoid carpet damage) dug up the wood chip, wheelbarrowed it out and wheelbarrowed the soil, turf and other materials in. Then we built a small oasis for us. Paved areas, grass, a small raised garden, it was a thing of beauty. We hooked the leash onto the S&D Cat Module (Kitten version 1.0) to take him outside to see how we had changed the garden. I put the leash on in the kitchen, he went limp, so I picked him up and got him to stand on the black plastic. There was a thud as he assumed the rag-doll cat position. No matter, we were on black plastic. I took him for “draggies” ( they would have been walkies, but he obviously wasn’t walking) and showed him the new garden.

His ears pricked up! He was on his feet, oblivious to the leash! He ran onto the grass, rolling and jumping on the strange green thing! Then, without warning, he tore across the garden and leapt…

Freedom!

I wound him in. The leash I had chosen was a leash with a windup mechanism. I had toyed with the idea of an auto winder, but that just was too funny. He was caught, midair, by the leash. He thudded to the ground on the grass. He was surprised that he wasn’t over the hills and far away. I was surprised that he forgot the leash. The elderly neighbour was surprised that she didn’t have a face full of kitten. It was surprising to all. It was also very, very funny. I had to agree with my visiting parents, that was the kind of entertainment that you could sell tickets for.

I bundled him into the house, took the leash off and let him go. He just sat there, looking thoughtful / devious / plotting his next bid for freedom. I was elated. “This means that he will go for walkies now.” I thought. Wrong. This means that the next chance he gets, he is going to run. fast. at the fence, at the washing line, and he is going to perform a complicated great escape. The next time he went outside for walkies, he was more subdued. He found a spot that was in the sun, and set about frying his brain with 4 hours of straight plotting and resting. I really didn’t notice…

Continued in Part 2.

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