March 20, 2010

I’ve started something called, KITTY JAIL.

Again, to reiterate, I have six cats.  Three are ‘former’ boys, and three are ‘former’ girls.  I love them all dearly, and try to provide the best life possible for them.  They always have fresh water, food to eat, and litter boxes cleaned (as often as I can).  With six cats, there are also three litter boxes.

Now, most of my life, I’ve had cats around me.  Whether it be at home when I was younger, living on my own, friends, etc., cats are a part of my life.  In Chinese culture, I was born during the Year of the Tiger – a big ole pussy cat.  My horoscope sign is Pisces, the fish.  So, I think cats are drawn to me for one of three reasons:  the like fish, they respect the tiger, or maybe because I just ‘understand’ them.

I’ve always had male cats.  Why?  Well, for beginners, males tend to be a little more affectionate toward people.  I’ve always had them neutered at a young age, so they don’t get the urge to travel…  I never let them outside intentionally, although over the years, a couple have escaped, only to return for the better life indoors!  At one point in his younger life, my cat of 19 years, Mhoram, had escaped out into the wonderful world of Ottawa.  For three days I was worried about this kid.  He had no knowledge of the world outside.  He had always been pampered and loved and cared for, and then, he was on his own.

One rainy evening, while watching T.V. (and this would have been about three days later), I could hear a cat meowing.  I turned down the volume, and listened.  Sure enough, it was Mhoram’s meow.  Following the noise, out the back door, on top of the barbeque, was this wet rag of a cat, meowing to come in.

I lived in a part of Ottawa that most large cities in North America call, ‘Chinatown’.  I was sure, that after posting notes, and taking a picture to the humane society, and searching up and down the streets, that this cat may have met his doom as an egg roll.  Not fair to the Chinese population in Ottawa, and for that, I do apologize.  However, on Mhoram’s neck, there was a price tag!  A PRICE TAG!  How the hell did he get that on his neck.  Nonetheless, brought him in, cleaned him up, gave him something to eat, and things returned to normal.  He then opted for going into the basement and catching mice.  So he had learned one skill during his three-day sojourn.  He would eat the mouse, but not the tail!  No meat I guess…

Flash forward to Tainan, present day.  Two of my little darlings, Eloise and Arabela, are mortal enemies.  As a kitten, Arabela would lay with Eloise and cuddle.  Eloise looked after Arabela and Cornelia as if they were her babies.  But, as they’ve grown older, I guess living in close proximity to each other has its limits.

Every year, or when the need arises, I must take these kids to the doctor (a.k.a., vet).  He has even agreed, on occasion, when they have all needed their yearly shots, to come to my home to administer the shots all at once.  You see, I only have one cat cage.  I only have one scooter that can carry one or maybe two cages.  The cats are too big now to get two or three of them together.  Besides, they’d either kill each other, or more likely, ME, when I let them out.  So the trip to the vet is usually done in three shifts.

Since Eloise’s little trip to the Rat’s Nest Hotel next door, she’s had a bit of an attitude.  She walks around like she’s the favoured one now.  If I didn’t know better, she’s probably thinking or telling the others, “… see, HE came to get me!  HE wouldn’t get you!  HE loves ME! …” or something to that effect.  She has decided that she has to put the others in their place.

Eloise is like the middle kid.  She is not the oldest, nor the youngest.  She is the oldest girl, though.  In the feline world, boys are, well, useless except for one thing.  Moms and dads, you may have to explain this one.  The female is the real aggressor.  She is the hunter.  She is the one that provides for the kids.  She is the one that protects and looks after the family.

I’ve watched many programs over the years on the life of cats.  It is nothing, especially in feral (wild) cats, to have sisters, moms, aunts, grandmothers, all living together and caring for each other.  In some cases, even nursing the newborns is a shared task.  However, the boys, once they’re ‘men’, are basically forced to fend for themselves.  They are only required when the need arises.  After that, GO AWAY!

As mentioned above, I’ve always (until now) had male cats.  As I say, they tend to be a lot more affectionate, are satisfied to doing their own thing, come when they’re called, etc.  Girls, being the caregivers, will jump on counters, looking for food, and basically, you cannot have two females in the same room together, else they vie for territory.  Well, in this vast 4 floor house, Eloise feels there just isn’t enough room for three females, even though they are all ‘fixed’ and there is no need for territoriality (?).  [Cool, it is a word!]

So, I’ve instigated KITTY JAIL.  Every time she starts fighting with Arabela, and on occasion, Cornelia, I put her in jail!  I put her in the cat cage (carrier) for 1 hour.  After that, I let her out.  Now, when you do the math, 1 year = 7 years, then it only ‘shows to go’ that 1 hour = 7 hours.  So to her, she has spent all day in jail.  I think after her 2nd time ‘in jail’ now, she’s starting to get the idea.

After she came out for the second time yesterday, Arabela immediately attacked HER!  So, in went Arabela.  Well, Arabela did not like this, not one little bit!  It doesn’t hurt her.  There is nothing harmful inside the box.  The only thing is, she may have smelled Eloise’s scent all over!  Serves her right.  It’s not cruel.  Consider it a ‘time out’.

This morning when I woke up, both Arabela and Eloise were sleeping comfortably, backs touching, on the bed.  When I woke up, and in turn, they woke up, they looked at each other, blinked, and so far, the morning has been peaceful.  So, maybe ‘kitty jail’, does work.  When people tell me or I hear that you cannot train cats, well, I may have found a solution!



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