My Bengal Spot is trying to train me, again. I’m fighting it, but it is sooo hard…
He is nine- I think? -I’m not good at keeping track of these things. But he doesn’t act like it, he’s very playful and healthy. It’s just that he gets bored easily. When that happens, he plays games with his humans.
The easy game is ‘I want to sit with you, but I’m going to make you beg me to do it.’ It’s a long game, so he likes it a lot. It has two parts: in round one he stands on the coffee table and stares at the prime lap position he wants. Human talks to him, pats couch, makes kissy-noises, offers the best place under the blanket. He leans in, looks like he’ll come and lie down…then turns tail and walks away. Repeat 2-3 times. Round two of the game involves circling the living room doing bad things in order to get yelled at. He always goes clockwise and hits the same forbidden places in the same order: going behind the TV where the wire soup is dangerous, standing on the rickety DVD tower trying to push it over and/or reach my Peace lily, then back to the coffee table or the arm of the couch where he can leap onto the top of the bookshelf. He does these things deliberately to get our full attention. All we do is shout no at him, but that’s enough for him to be very happy and come trotting back with a smile on his face to sit on the coffee table and repeat round one. This goes on until I get sick of having to pay so much attention to him and not what I’m trying to watch on TV, and I grab him. Ah, the win goes to Spot every time. I’m rough with him; I grab him, shove him under my elbow, and pretty much sit on him to keep him there. Which is what he wanted all along. He loves being squished. The purring is deafening. Weird cat.
I recently tried grabbing him right away instead of letting him have the full game. At first, it seemed a brilliant solution. He was sooooo happy. So very happy that he got up and left within a few minutes so I would do it again. And later that night he was unbearable, wanting the new game over and over. Sigh.
He’s added in a new part to round two lately, and it is even more annoying. It consists simply of going into the kitchen and howling at the sliding glass door. Repeatedly. I am not amused. He sounds like he is in pain! It’s the most pathetic, woeful sound. The only time he sounds worse is when he has a nightmare – that is terrifying. I’m only guessing about the nightmares, actually. We did catch him twice waking up from a sound sleep and immediately screaming, so that’s our best guess. He never acted as if anything hurt, or ran to the toilet or any other indication of physical pain. But wow, it was scary – he only did it a few times in the space of a few months then stopped.
But the one that I’m fighting so hard against is the 2am ‘come play with me’ caterwaul. He wakes up, his cat-brother and dog-sister and both humans are asleep, and he’s bored. What to do? Wake ’em all up, of course!
Mwow? Mrrwow. Mrrwow. Mrrwow! Mrrwow. Mrrwow? Mrrwow. Mrrwow. Mrrwow? MMMMWOW! MMMRRROW! MMM-GURGLE-ROW!
By now, we are all awake, staring unmoving at the ceiling, and hoping against hope he’ll stop on his own.
My solution is to go downstairs, shut the living room door, go into the kitchen, shut that door, fill the nearest receptacle with water and then trap him in the living room to throw the water all over him. He never tries to get upstairs, and lets himself be trapped. He appears to enjoy it when I chase him around trying to corner him in a place I don’t mind getting wet. He doesn’t even really mind the water, but he has to shut up for a while to dry himself off.
I’m really hoping I’m training him this time, and not the other way around. He does it less and less, but I have a harder and harder time getting back to sleep.