Monday, 7 October 2013

Programming My Old Tom Cat

My cat of act has committed an act of cat and shredded neighbor's toddler.  (Not terribly so, but it's never good!)

He did something like that before I adopted him, which is why he was exiled, and having his tail broken 9 year ago by a toddler apparently was still fresh in his memory and he suffered intense nightmares for a week afterwards.

My neighbor has been supplied with a decent supersoaker so he can easily dispel my cat's territorial ambitions, and because ASBO kitteh is now grounded during the day, I also bought a food maze to keep him entertained.

At least this was the theory and I was convinced this is a great idea after watching this video:

It's not popular.  He worked it for a bit and then decided that he'll go on a nil-by-paw diet instead.  It's not that he can't see the crunchies, it's that he refuses to see them -- he wants his bowl back AND his cat door open, and has formed a union of one, picketing the kitchen, lobbying for that extra portion of wet food he feels entitled to in lieu of the unreachable crunchies.

I on the other hand have realised that the food maze saves food because the crunchies are not sitting in his drool in a bowl.  And whilst he is on cat strike, he at least is not serenading the cat door in protest because his feline right of free movement has been curtailed.

Also, he is a grumpy old man, and really does not like change, at all. 

So, what to do?  Treats.  He may not work for food (as that is surely beneath his catly dignity) and no-one would be so unkindly honest to call him thick... but treats... that's another matter.  Raw beef or ham is kitteh crack that causes instant IQ enhancement!

Stage 1: remove the ring on top, put a box for the cat to sit on, add crunchies to top layer.  Place cat in position, tease with catnip treat, place it on mound of cat food.  Leave your perplexed sphynx to meditate over the puzzle, tease with catnip bicci every ten minutes or until you hear feeding action.  Carry on a few days until this is his new bowl where he feeds and he understands that it contains food inside and that it falls through holes.

Stage 2:  Now that he has understood that his food lives in this annoying plastic tower, remove all the inner layers.  Add crunchies to bottom layer then tease all the way from the fridge to the maze with a delicious strip of ham until he is ready to riproarslaymassacre that morsel... and drop it in small pieces (taking your time) onto the crunchies on the bottom level.  Tease cat with a strip of ham through the paw holes, let him munch his winnings and repeat, then walk off, leaving his prize on the crunchies in the maze.  Steinitz took 2 weeks for this stage, and I started to suspect him of training me to feed him goodies... heh.  But no, I think he was just forgetting he could reach them.  Once he starts eating them up, you can go on to ...

Stage 3:  Replace middle layer.  Add crunchies and drop a few through the holes(the sound of success!) and some thinly slivered raw steak in small pieces.  Tease with a long strip of meat as in step 2.  If your cat has the goldfish nature, this can take quite a few sessions.  He just didn't make the connection that the crunchies land on the bottom layer before dropping through clean and got quite frustrated when he pawed at a goodie that didn't turn up immediately in the bowl.

Stage 4: Replace the top layer and the and top ring.  Fill feeder.

Your cat is now fully programmed to operate the food maze!

Update:  He now has started to use his paw to scoop his wet food in the same way that he fishes for crunchies.  Dare I teach him how to use knife and fork?  Maybe better to just stick to a spoon! :-D