Crax Update

After the last Crax post, we started putting the cat in the laundry room for the night. Her litter box is in there, and we put her food and carrier and toys in there, so it’s not a total torture. Plus, she hangs out in there for at least a quarter of the day anyway.

The first night, I was so tired that I conked out around 10 after putting her away. We had a few false starts where she got out a couple or three times before staying in for good. I think I didn’t lock the cat door once, and she figured out how to turn the top of the lock to let herself out… I finally turned the lock so the knob itself was blocking the opening, then I went to bed and promptly passed out. I didn’t hear her, but since TCB stayed up in the living room, he said that she was hurling herself at the cat door, and that’s how she was getting out: brute force.  He put a box with weights on it in front of the cat door, and then went to bed. The cat was very happy to see me in the morning.

Night 2 went about the same way, except she got louder in the morning when I walked down the stairs. We gave her the weekend and Monday night off.

Tuesday night, she decided she didn’t like being in there at all and just hurled herself at the cat door all night. We woke up in bed in the middle of the night and heard her repeatedly crashing against it. TCB then put a large tile in front of the door, between it and the weighted box, for extra stability. When I walked downstairs the next morning, I heard noises like someone was strangling the cat but no, it was just Crax voicing her displeasure. She wiggled out of the cat door as soon as I moved the box and tile, didn’t wait for me to open the door (that swings inward, I don’t need to move the box to get in, I just didn’t want the tile to fall.)

And then Wednesday night, she redoubled her efforts. We didn’t sleep very well because of our own personal demon banging on the laundry room door. All. Night. Long. Around 6:30 am, it stopped, and as I drifted off to sleep again, I heard “prrt?!” and then Piper jumped on the bed.

She’d gotten out.

Later that day, I noticed that the whiskers on the right side of her face were much, much shorter than the ones on the left and much shorter than they used to be. We left her out last night and will this weekend but, because she went back to her usual playing with the closet doors and under-bed scratching, we have to figure out a new plan for Monday.

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5 thoughts on “Crax Update

  1. Wow, Crax sounds a lot like Willow (Thanks so much for watching out for her by the way!) Willow used to always (and still does some): knock things on the floor, run across our bodies, use “dagger paws” on all of the most sensitive human parts, claw the box spring, meow/claw/bat at a closed door, all of course between 2-5 am every morning. It was really a huge problem. What we ended up doing that has seemed to work (knock on wood) is go to bed normally with her out and then at the first sign of trying to bother us with any of the above behaviors, put her directly in her carrier and put the carrier in a different room and close the doors between the rooms and go back to sleep until whenever we are ready to get up. The earlier she started being bad, the longer she ended up having to wait in “time out” before we woke up. Honestly she probably only had to go in there less than a full week before she chilled out and didn’t really do it anymore. She still bugs us in the mornings some, but nothing compared to what she used to do. I hope this is helpful info. Good luck!

  2. Ok. How does she respond to water torture? Mine are very afraid of a spray bottle to the point now that I can shake it at them and they’ll stop doing whatever it is. You may have tried this and ruled it out already, but I’d be interested to see how that goes.

    Also, are you not closing your bedroom door at night because of the potential noise of her trying to get in (which would probably be similar to her trying to get out of the laundry room)? If so, maybe you can combine the water bottle spraying punishment with closing your bedroom door. For example, at first go to bed early with the intention of staying up and spraying her when she claws or “knocks”. Then it may eventually cease?

    I don’t know. Just spit-ballin’. 🙂

  3. Those are some great suggestions, Syd and Jarrett! We don’t close our bedroom door because Angus wanders around at night, and we don’t want to make this into a punishment for him. Also, the cat can stick her mouth under the door and meow like she’s dying when shut out of a room (it’s louder if one of us, especially me, in it.)

    Syd, she’s responds to water torture by continuing to repeat the behavior until she’s soaking wet. I don’t know if it’s stupidity or some kind of “F you” attitude. Once she’s soaked, she runs away to the basement, and then returns 20 minutes later to say she still loves you (and usually repeat the behavior.) She also forgets what the sprayer is between sprayings.

    What kind of carrier do you have, Jarrett? (And it was no problem to watch Willow!) We have a soft-sided one from Target, which works well for trips, but she can wiggle out of it with determination.

  4. Ooh! We did find one way to get Piper chilled out all night: have an extra dog (ED) in the house. We’re watching one of the neighbor’s dogs, and Piper J is not. amused. (Though, half of the hissing/barking matches, she starts herself, by seeing Luna chilling out and deciding to hiss. Which stirs up the ED.)
    She stays hidden until about 8am with ED around. The real hunger, that’s what makes her bold enough to sneak past Luna Dog.

  5. It sounds like Cat wants to be near you and panics when she isn’t. The carrier idea sounds good to me. You could try placing the carrier with Cat in the bedroom where she could be reassured that you are still there. A hard-sided travel carrier with a metal grate door should deter Cat’s Houdini-like tendancies.

    We used the travel carrier method for two puppies at night for potty training purposes. The method worked well. The pup was by us but resticted so he couldn’t wander in the night. He had soft bedding in the carrier. It was large enough for him to stand up, turn around, and stretch out some. It didn’t take too long (matter of days) before he knew that this was his place at night. After four months or so (when we knew he was definitely potty trained), we took the door off. The dog still slept in the carrier for another several weeks. Then we put what would be his regular bed in the same spot on the floor. He knows that this is his bed spot.

    Although Cat has had the run of the house for some time, I would think this method might work in retraining her.

    Cat is old enough to go eight hours without food and potty box. Most travel carriers do have an attachable small food/water “dish” that clips on to the metal-wire door. PetSmart and Petco should have an assortment of carriers.

    We have also trained all of our dogs to the “Back to bed” command. The command works for the dog’s bedroom bed, livingroom bed, and traveling bed at motels. This might be difficult to do with a cat.

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