For many nights, it seemed that the cat really really wants to stay over in our house.
Now that it’s the Chinese New Year holidays, I figured I could risk losing sleep for one night in an attempt to train the cat to stay indoors.
Last night, I made sure my room was cat-friendly by removing anything fragile, and clearing fragile things that could easily be broken. In addition, I made a little sleep area for the cat. It’s just a rag and a little scratching toy that the auntie (who feeds the strays in the neighbourhood) gave me. It’s super effective! The cat love scratching that thing.
No, instead, it decided that my bed was far better.
And of all the places to position itself, the cat chose to lie right in the middle of the bed!
It was so hard to get the cat out of the bed. It had embedded itself onto it by sinking its claws right into the fabric. I had to trick the cat out of the bed by making it chase after one of the toys. It jumped off the bed, and in a matter of seconds, went back up again.
Ok, so the cat loves the bed more. I can understand – I love my bed too.
I made a concession and tried to sleep while the cat was on the bed. It turns out putting one’s legs under the blanket was a really really bad idea. The cat thought that there was some prey underneath the blanket, and it started pouncing on my legs. Ouch.
With that, I chased the cat off the bed and removed the blanket. Hoping that the cat would not occupy a significant portion of my bed, I hurriedly got onto the bed before the cat did. It worked! The cat jumped up and laid in the space in between my feet. I felt quite insecure. The one thought going through my mind was – maybe I should have wore thick pants just in case the cat wanted to scratch me.
Several minutes had passed, and I was starting to feel very sleepy. But before I could sleep, the cat jumped off the bed! It was trying to find a way out of the room. Before I knew it, the cat started meowing non-stop!!!
Oh no! I got out of the bed and started searching the Internet for solutions. Apparently, the incessant meowing is part of the package if one tries to domesticate a stray cat. A few websites recommended that I bring in things to keep the cat busy. Desperate, I brought ALL the cat toys and furniture, its food and water, and even set up an ad hoc kitty litter area (should it want to do its business).
In no time, my room was just flooded with cat things. But it didn’t work!
The cat was still meowing away repeatedly. It started scratching the cardboard, the scratching toy, and even the cat tree scratching post that it didn’t like.
It was 2am. I had been trying to pacify the cat for the past two hours, and I was soooooooo sleepy.
Soon, I learnt a trick. To pacify the little kitty, all I had to do was to massage and stroke it until it purred non-stop. It’s like jump-starting its sleep engine. Once I got it purring, the cat would sit motionless on the floor for quite a long time. I had a good sleep for the next hour, before being interrupted by the cat’s meowing – again. It was 3am.
Once more, the cat was meowing like crazy. In fact, the cat tried once to jump onto me. But my reflex reaction made me kung-fu the cat before it landed on me. Oops! Poor kitty. I felt quite bad kung-fu-ing my cat. Anyway, the cat was meowing again and again. I was feeling thirsty. So I went out to the kitchen. The cat followed behind me like Pikachu. You would think that a cat that wants to leave the room wouldn’t want to return to the room, right? Well, I was surprised that it followed me back to the room and allowed me to close the door.
Anyway, once again at 4am, I started up the cat’s sleep engine, massaging and stroking it until it went from meow to purr. With that, I was able to enjoy sleep for the next two hours. At 6am, it resumed its incessant meowing and its futile attempts to get out of the room.
Goodness… I don’t know how it is that I can be so patient with it. I don’t know how I could deal with so many hours of non-stop meowing. I think the cat developed a sore throat from meowing so much. Its meow started sounding hoarse towards dawn. I was mentally prepared for the cat to scratch things, pounce onto me, and maybe even attack me. But I was just not mentally prepared for incessant meowing. The cat is like an alarm clock with a randomly set alarm, and a broken snooze button that works occasionally. I should have bought ear plugs.
I was quite tempted to give up and let the cat go, but I don’t know. I was quite determined, and challenged, to ensure the cat learns to stay in this new environment.
Anyway, my mum was awake at 6.30am (she had to wake up at that time, surprisingly the cat’s meowing didn’t wake her). She heard the cat meowing from outside my room, and let the cat out of the room. I got out of the bed, just to monitor the cat.
What great irony! My mum opened the main door to let the cat out. But guess what? It didn’t want to leave the house! I don’t understand the cat! It meows non-stop wanting to get out, but when you open the door, to let it go, it doesn’t want to leave. I don’t get it.
With my mum awake and willing to entertain the cat, I went back to sleep and was able to get uninterrupted rest for the next 4 hours.
Hmm… I don’t know if I want to try it again tonight. It’s tiring though. Maybe I’ll get some ear plugs first before I try again. Once successful, we’ll have a fully domesticated cat.