Pancake slept in our bedroom last night, and no skin was lost in the process. His demeanor had improved considerably…
Okay, hold on. It drives me nuts to talk about cat behavior in terms of “improves” or “bad” or “good,” yet I’m at a loss for how else to effectively describe things. An affectionate cat is not a better cat than a standoffish cat. They’re different cats, just like there are different people. An aggressive cat may be harder to socialize with, just as an aggressive person is harder to socialize with (I’m looking at you, Jeffrey from Project Runway), but it’s not an inherently better or worse cat. The cat is better or worse for the human attitude, but it’s not like an aggressive cat is inherently evil. The cat may be dangerous to humans, but that doesn’t make the cat morally wrong. Cats don’t have morals. Cats have instinct and personality but not morals. So, please understand that when I talk about “improvement” and “good” and so on, I’m meaning in the sense that the relationship is improving, and that the situation is better for me. I’m not commenting on the good or bad nature of cat behavior. It’s a fine line, but I’m walking it.
For those who don’t know, we decided on Sunday afternoon to confine Pancake to a guest bedroom, with baby gates to allow him to see outside and smell stuff without being directly exposed to the sensory overload of the house. He kind of ran into the bedroom on his own, and I took advantage of that to close him in. I set him up a litterbox and food/water at opposite room corners (no easy task considering he was hissing and howling at me the whole time). I also opened up the window blinds and cleared a spot for him to be able to get to the windowsill. His foster family told us that Pancake likes to look out windows.
We went into the room with him periodically, and we left him alone any time he retreated or hissed. By yesterday evening, he was putty in our hands just about. All we had to do was step inside, and he was rubbing against us and purring.
Around 10pm last night, we set up baby gates at the top of the stairwell. It was symbolic mainly. He’d accepted that a baby gate meant he couldn’t go there, even though he could easily jump over them if he chose to do so. Or rather, he’d decided the baby gate was for his protection, so he didn’t care to jump over it. Anyways, we let him roam a bit while we sat quietly in the hallway. He explored the guest bathroom and our bedroom. When he approached us for petting and comfort, we decided he was okay, and we went back about our business. He watched us apprehensively as we changed the sheets on the bed, but there was no hissing and no anger. The only hiss that happened last night at all was when I gave him some wet food. I set the dish of wet food down, but then realized I’d put it in a bad spot. I went to move it, and I got a hiss in response. Oops. 🙂 I know better than to mess with a cat’s food when he’s hungry. There was nothing besides the hiss though…no swipe or bite motion. If nothing else, I will say that Pancake gives you a ton of warning before he reacts.
Alright, I need to make this long story shorter, because I have work to do! 🙂 Anyways, he watched us take care of the bedsheets, get undressed, and go about our nighttime stuff. Once we settled down on the bed, he hopped up and cuddled with us. We decided to leave him in the bedroom while we slept, and there were no problems as a result. He even watched us get ready this morning with no incidents.
The thing that’s driving me nuts is that he has a clear preference for Scott over me. He followed Scott around this morning and pretty much ignored or avoided me. I’m sure some of that is that I was the one who “fought” him on Saturday, twice. I was the bearer of the squirting water of DOOM. But, some of it may be an inherent male-preference, too. Either way, it drives me batty because *I’m* the cat person. I just keep hoping that with time, Pancake will learn to love me, too. 🙂