The following guest post has been submitted by Brandon Ellrich who runs brandonellrich.com
Zoe is a killer. I’ll start with that. This is nothing out-of-the-ordinary, considering cats are natural predators of mice, birds, and other small rodents. Some cats, however, are not as aggressive as others. Zoe is a calico, and can be very sweet and affectionate toward me, but the other side of her personality is that of a destructive killer. I have had little mouse-like toys that have outlasted a couple other cats, and then when they were passed down to Zoe, their ears were immediately ripped off, their tails disappeared, and they would’ve had to resort to reading Braille. They became nothing more than little balls of material with stuffing poking out.
A couple weeks ago, I was in the pet supply aisle of a big box store when I saw a cat scratcher. It was a cute raccoon door hanger with a plush head and a furry tail. Its belly was a flat, carpeted material that was appealing for a cat to get its claws on, and inside the tail was a noise-maker. Every time the scratcher was used, it made chittering noises like a raccoon.
I decided to attempt to train my cats using this door hanger. I hung it on the door to my basement, and whenever they wanted to go downstairs, they would use the scratcher, thereby triggering the chittering raccoon, and then I would open the door to let them downstairs. Zoe is quite clever and it didn’t take long for her to learn this trick.
Just a couple of days later, however, I came home to find a pile of artificial fur all over the floor and a small electronic device next to the basement door. I picked it up and it started chittering. Zoe, apparently, killed the raccoon; or at least tore out its voicebox. So, she either really wanted to go down to the basement, or she got so tired of listening to the raccoon that she decided to put an end to it.
I started closing the door, but not to the point that it latched. Zoe was then able to use the “dead” raccoon to pull open the door and let herself down to the basement. The other night, I noticed that I hadn’t seen my other cat, Zak, for a while. I called his name several times, and when I went into the kitchen, I heard a muffled meow. I opened the basement door and he was sitting there, waiting to be let in. Apparently, Zoe had opened the door, and when Zak went downstairs, she must have closed it on him. I am convinced she knew what she was doing, as Zak frequently gets on her nerves (purposely, at times). I guess she got him back.
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