Monday, January 9, 2023

That Darn Cat

 Friday night, I couldn't sleep so I got up to fret a bit. Now, when I fret, I do things, so I went down to the basement to start a load of laundry and came back upstairs.

I. FORGOT. TO. CLOSE. THE. STUPID. BASEMENT. DOOR.

Saturday morning, I was awakened by Tim. "Well, that damn cat is down in the basement again. You left the door open."

I covered my head with the pillow. 

The last time Houdini got himself into the basement, he didn't come up. After three weeks, we actually had to try to catch him. Eventually he bolted up the stairs and we came up after him and shut the door to the basement. It was traumatic for him and I felt awful about it, but he would have happily stayed down there forever. 

I got up and went downstairs. "Well, we're not chasing him up again. He just started to settle down and to get playful. He knows where his food is and if he wants fed, he's going to have to come upstairs. If he doesn't come up to eat today, I feel bad about it, but we're shutting him downstairs over night. He needs to come up while we are here so that we can shut that basement door." 

Tim agreed. 

While we were out shopping for the sofa, the basement door was kept closed. When we got home, William saw the closed door and was outraged. "We can't close that door! Houdini is in the basement! He'll be trapped down there! Do you think he's going to knock on the door when he wants us to open it?!!!" He was in a state as he opened the door. 

I explained what we were trying to do. William thought it was mean. I said that I thought it was a lot less mean than chasing him around the basement. 

Here's the interesting thing. Houdini came strolling out of the basement, cool as a cucumber. He walked over to get some food. William simply shut the door. Unperturbed, Houdini continued to eat. 



Not wanting to frighten him, William left him be and headed upstairs to call his Uncle Dylan.

Here's the best part. When Houdini was finished eating, he walked out of the kitchen and into the hall. He walked to the back of the house. He walked back through to the front, looking around (maybe trying to find William?) He curled up on the rug and watched us through the french doors. Tim talked to him. 

William finished talking to his Uncle Dylan and came downstairs. He played with Houdini for a while. Houdini played right back. 

I got up and went out to the kitchen and gave him his nightly helping of canned catfood, heated up in the microwave. He purred and purred and stretched out his head for a scritch under his chin. 

If I didn't know better, I'd say he missed us. Or William, anyway.


35 comments:

  1. Yep..he missed William...but you did ok for a while!!

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    1. If he can only bond with one person, I'd choose it to be William. They both could use the additional comfort right now.

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  2. I'm guessing Houdini was excited to visit the spiders of the basement again after being kept away for so long. Years ago our house cat enjoyed being occasionally allowed to wander down into our cellar behind a normally shut door. She would come back up hours later covered in cobwebs and happy as can be.

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    1. As long as Houdini comes and goes, I don't mind. I'd rather have his litter box down there anyway. I'm just going to make sure he is bonded enough with us that this doesn't turn into another marathon hide and go seek game.

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  3. Cupboard love or tinned food love is often given back to us when feed our four legged pals.

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    1. He does seem to love his treats and feeding time.

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  4. Our Big Boys still like to go up into the attic, where they were put to be safe when we first arrived here. Glad that Houdini has accepted you all and is exploring the house. I'd say William was His person, just as I am Pippi's. So glad he is settling in well.

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    1. Oy. It took quite a bit longer than I would have expected. He's a shy guy.

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  5. What is it with cats and basements? When I was growing up, we had a couple cats (Mimi & Gretchen) and Mimi was always hanging out under the basement stairs. I think she was looking for a little peace from the 6 kids upstairs! Anyway, Houdini has his own cool reasons--you're just not fully trained yet ;^)

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    1. It has lots of dark corners and places to hide. That was the draw the first time.

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  6. I think William's her person, and the reason she came upstairs!

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    1. She does seem to sense something in him that she likes. (Never mind the fact that I feed her and clean the catbox every day....)

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  7. William is a great kid, and obviously Houdini's champion. P.S. You did the right thing.

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    1. Hoo boy. He was upset at that closed door. He's very protective of 'his' cat.

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  8. It sounds like Houdini is now comfortable in the whole house which is good news.

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  9. It very much does sound as if Houdini is becoming more trusting and calm. More peaceful about his surroundings and yes- his person, William. I love that you heat up his cat food.

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    1. Actually, Bovey Belle suggested that. Warming it up brings out the aroma. He is interested as soon as that bowl goes down.

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  10. Funny how animals can train us to get what they want.

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    1. He actually is being trained as well. Probably accurate to call it a mutual adaptation.

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  11. He actually survived alone for 3 weeks in the basement? How about food and water? JanF

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    1. Oh, dear. The first time that he went to the basement, he had only been at our house for a few days. He was very traumatized, for whatever reason. We thought that he would gradually relax, and begin to come upstairs. We moved his litter box to the basement. He was not fed the basement. His bowls were placed on the landing at the top of the stairs to bring him upstairs. The basement door was never closed so that he could come into the kitchen and the rest of the house as he felt comfortable. He never felt comfortable. He snuck up to eat at night, and hid during the day. All day. He never got any better about things, and so we made the decision to force him out of the basement. He felt quite strongly that hiding in the basement with regular meals was quite an upgrade from life on the streets and he was happy with the status quo. I would never leave an animal without food and water for weeks. I felt pretty awful at the thought of doing it over night.

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  12. That is the thing with some folk - be they feline or human - some seem to need to learn the hard way that the other way is a far better option. Just telling them doesn't work.

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  13. This is real progress! I am so happy to read it!

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  14. I love watching how cats do things. They are such amazing animals.

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    1. He is obviously intelligent. He is also very good natured. It is really taking some time because he is very afraid.

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  15. Houdini has really worked out which side his bread is buttered.

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    1. Seems so...i was starting to worry that he just did not like butter.

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  16. Maybe he wanted to check the basement for any stray mice. Lots of feral cats turned into indoor cats still want to hunt for little mice and birds. He sounds pretty funny with his "needs." Linda in Kansas

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    1. I'm going to guess that he still feels a need to hide. I wonder if he will ever get over that. He doesn't mind being petted. He's begun to come out to eat while people are in the room. He still spends a big part of his day watching us carefully from his wooden crate bed.

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  17. I like the image. I get that look well before what I consider to be dinner time. In fact she’s just crawled onto my lap to remind me that she is famished. It’s 8:22, and I try to not feed her until 9.

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  18. You're going to force her to wait 38 minutes? Gads. I hope you survive.

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  19. It's great to hear that Houdini is settling in!

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  20. It's great that William has a furry creature loving him. By the way, I hope you got my email that I received your card. Thank you for your thank you. :-)

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I'm glad you're here!

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