Given the rumored El Niño that’s supposed to wash California into the sea (still waiting, Kiddo!) and the satanically hot summers the San Joaquin Valley endures (I’ve witnessed many a squirrel burst into flames*) I thought it would be a good idea to install a dog door to the back yard.
The installation early last year went off fairly well (I still have all my thumbs), and the dogs learned to use it in short order.
The complication has been with the cats.
I can’t leave it open all the time as the solely indoor cats, who in truth are more like furry filter feeders than mighty, wild hunters, will slip outside and make themselves confused and panicked indoor cats. They have their own access to the outside anyway in the form of the cattery I spent way too much time and money building for them. So the dog door spends most of its time closed and is only open when I’m away and the weather is inclement. It that case the cats get about a third of the house (my bedroom, the work/cat/junk room, and the cattery while the dogs get the rest of the house and the back yard. That is, if Eris cooperates.
She is a Former Feral (or at least semi-feral) and is highly disinterested in being picked by stinky humans with their spindly, bone paws (and honestly, what would you do if you saw THIS coming at you?!) If she deigns to grace your lap with her presence be honored, but Do. Not. Pick. Up.
So the strategies I have used to get her where I want have been the following:
- Wait until she goes there. This is the least traumatic for all involved, but involves waiting for her to go eat in the cattery or lounge on the bed. This often isn’t an option with my complicated “having to be at work on time,” problems.
- Coaxing her. This has never worked.
- Picking her up suddenly before she knows I’m coming for her and hoping she doesn’t send me to the emergency room. This has never worked. She ALWAYS knows I’m coming for her.
- Chasing her around the house until I have her cornered, pick her up, and hope she doesn’t send me to the emergency room. This works occasionally, but is time consuming, and nerve wracking for all involved.
- Chase and barricade. This is relatively new, has worked a few times, and is relatively untraumatic. I pursue her into the kitchen, block off the door to the rest of the house and pick up or herd her into the cat room. I’m thinking it will be viable until she realizes that she shouldn’t run into the kitchen. Then I’ll be back to options 1 and 4.
As is often the case, I have what seems like a great idea, spend a good deal of time, effort and dinero on it, only to have the actual operation of said great idea made more complicated by cats.
*This statement is what the French would call “merde du boeuf.”**
**So is this. They’d actually say “C’est des conneries!”