It’s not that he’s dumb, he’s just, well… a cat. He wants to do things his own way, in his own time. If you were to tell him to jump off a bridge because all the other kitties are doing he’d say, “you’re not the boss of me.”
Lately I’ve done a couple of special things for him, thinking they would be things that he would enjoy. I watch him all the time, so I feel qualified to make that assessment. He, on the other hand, would beg to differ.
A couple of months ago he was out on the balcony. He likes to go out there, lay in the sun, sniff around, and lick my bike tires. Weirdo. Anyway, I left him unattended out there — after all, he’s not an infant or anything. Next thing I know, there’s some odd scratching sounds and some unearthly meowing coming from the balcony. I went out there to find him dangling over the wall, between two posts, but under the top railing. He was trying to snake his way around one of the posts to get back in, but needed to spend more time doing yoga in order to achieve that. It didn’t seem to occur to him that he could back up and land on his back legs. He was particularly panicked because he’d just found out that he was three floors up. I actually had a hard time pushing him back through the railing because he was clinging to the wall so tightly. As he scurried back inside, I hadn’t remembered ever seeing his tail quite that bristled.
Not long after that, I assembled some patio chairs that have moved around the country with us and put one right by the wall. It’s the perfect height for him to sit on and see through the railing, and if he stands up on it and puts his front paws on the wall, he can see a lot more. And there’s a lot to see. Besides the backside of a grocery store, there are lots of birds and squirrels. Hours of entertainment.
But he wouldn’t get up on the chair. And anytime I picked him up and set him on it, he’d immediately jump down. It was the longest time before he’d get up there on his own. “See, Cyrus, I told you it’d be fun. I did this just for you!”
And then a couple of weeks ago, I built him this way super-cool playhouse. I found the pattern for it a couple of years ago on Martha’s website, but had never gotten around to making it. Of course, he wouldn’t go in there. I tried putting him in through the top, but he’d just slink down to the bottom and dart out the front door. I tried putting the towel that he sleeps on in there, to give it that homey, lived-in feel. No dice. I’ve even tried lining the inside with kitty treats. But he sticks his head in just far enough and then uses his paw to scoop the treat out of the playhouse before he’ll eat it. I’ve tried cutting off the doors, because those used to freak him out when they moved. I’ve made the opening bigger (because he’s a little “husky”). Alas, all in vain.
This morning I realized that if I ever want him to come to me, all I have to do is get his attention, then hide. He comes running every time. He doesn’t realize I’m waiting there for him, just around the corner, ready to scoop him up and love all over him.