The screeching sound of my male cat trying to enter the work room cuts through the conversation my wife and I were having like a knife. It has been like this for weeks now. I can’t remember the last time I had some time alone at home without our cat Emmett crying for attention.
Emmett is quite a clever cat. Every time we find a way to prevent him from trying to bother us while sleeping he finds a way to continue to do so. At first he would pull up bits of carpet, so we covered the carpet in plastic. He ripped up the plastic, so we put down bins full of water in their place. Emmett then figured out how to perch, balanced on the edge of the bin and scratch at the door.
The only thing that has worked so far, for the past three nights, is a special spray that smells like some kind of cilantro funk. Cats apparently hate it, and the cat repellent seems at least temporarily effective.
I don’t know how long we will have peace. It matters little as I find myself waking up at 5:30am regardless. I have been trained by a cat.
Plead as I might with my feline oppressor, it is clear that he is the boss, and I am his staff.
Bring my wet food!
Play with the laser!
No, not the automatic toy you made me. I want you to fling the laser around in intricate patterns.
Your laser technique is flawed. I can see repetitions in your pattern. I’m bored now.
I go to work, make some money, and bring it home in order to feed and entertain my creative, fluffy commander. Named after the scientist from Back to the Future along with his sister Marty, they are like our children. Children whom we can not effectively set boundaries for, nor will they listen.
Emmett (left) and Marty (right) cuddling on our couch.
The power of names is amazing. Watch 5 minutes of Back to the Future and you’ll realize that Dr. Brown spends a vast majority of the film looking surprised, running around and freaking out about things. His high-strung character seems to have been transposed onto our feline fuhrer. Yes, Emmett has a bit of a Hitler ‘stache.
Marty, on the other hand, is quite a relaxed creature. She’s happy enough with the standard ebb and flow of the household. She sleeps when we sleep, she wakes when we wake and she eats when we set food out for her. She’s happy to go to the lake with Jennifer and have a nice weekend, or skateboard along behind a vehicle.
Well she doesn’t skateboard, yet. Being a bit timid, she runs around the house chasing or being chased by Emmett. She often hides from us for no discernible reason. But don’t call her chicken, lest she leave your skin in tatters.
When we first picked up Emmett and Marty, we had grand plans for them. We had already purchased a kit in order to attempt to toilet train them. We waited a few weeks as instructed by the kit and by the Internet. Then the fateful day came when we took away the litter entirely. At first they were a bit confused, but they seemed to get the point quickly.
The kit came with several colours of concentric rings. The first ring was in fact a complete cover for the toilet, fastened under the seat and filled with a tiny bit of litter. The cats both took to this quickly and started using it regularly. We had used this set-up for a few weeks before moving on to the next ring.
There was a flaw in this process, however. We had made plans to go to Japan for the entire month of December. We left Marty and Emmett with friends who graciously took them in. They would both be using a standard litter box for the second half of the month of December.
Upon returning home from a quite rewarding trip, the friends dropped-off our lovely terrors and told us how pleasant the cats stay was. Emmett had apparently become a lap cat in their home. Something that has not often been repeated since.
We started them using the toilet training kit again, but this time there was some protest. At any given time, one or the other cat refused to use the toilet for either number one or number two, leaving their mess in various places around the bathroom floor or in the shower. Eventually Marty flat-out refused to leave a poo in the training kit at all and we gave up.
We installed a regular litter tray in the bathroom and Marty has yet to do a single poo in a litter at all. She still goes on the floor each and every day, and I still pick it up and put it in the litter. Or I’ll try putting it in the toilet without flushing. Or I’ll simply flush it away. Nothing has made any difference to her.
I had also tried picking her up when I see her getting ready and trying to put her in the litter or on the toilet. She refuses both. I have no idea what to do with her. We have looked at forums and tried everything they suggest. Our cats flat-out refuse to co-operate with anything we attempt.
We have built a rather large cat-tree to entertain our wily overlords. It stands about six feet tall and about eight feet wide. It takes over an entire wall of our home. The structure features two towers made of two-by-fours with alternating pads for the cats to jump on, all covered in thick carpet. Then to join the two towers we made a long two-by-four beam covered in thin carpet. Adorning tops of both towers are two tubes with circular holes in the sides for the cats to sit in.
Emmett is a large and fairly strong cat. Have you ever seen a cat swing across a beam like a child crossing the monkey-bars? Well Emmett used to do this regularly. He won’t perform this feat very often any-more. It seems that he figured out his ability to hang from the beam by unintentionally missing a jump while chasing his sister.
Cats are rather proud creatures, meaning that Emmett absolutely could not admit defeat. Rather, he meant to do that, and he put on a show while swinging from paw-to-paw, upside-down across our living-room.