Sunday, 17 June 2018

A Bit Of A Flap


Thug, aka The Purring Death, has settled into a routine of sorts – turn up, look hopeful, walk with me down to the car, have something to eat (other than his gourmet preference of other cat) and be driven home. Usually he comes for breakfast, but we do get the occasional evening visit, but either way the key thing is to take him home so that our cats can get out and about in safety.

I can see you in there

There is still a single, small window we leave open for Ginge, but that’s fine because she is the only one small and agile enough to use it. Piper sometimes jumps up from the inside and stares at the outside, then he gets back down again, because the drop is awkward, and a long way down for a big cat.
So, imagine my surprise at finding Thug in the bedroom, just as I was going to bed. I wouldn’t have noticed so soon, but Ginge was very surprised and told everyone about it very forcefully. I picked Thug up, put him outside, and performed the routine – down to the van, something to eat (Ginge is not on the menu) and drive him home. Fortunately, his owners are night-owls, so there were people up and about to let him in.
As a precaution, we shut that small window – Ginge can use the cat-flap like everyone else. Or not. A small and insistent ginger cat made it very clear that she likes her window open, likes being able to pop outside for a pee, rather than, for instance, digging a hole in the carpet behind a piece of furniture, pretty-please, you know you want to do this my way.
Thug dropped by again the following very wet evening, as we were going to bed. My partner spotted him first, corralled the soggy moggy and I did the drive home. Then we looked at the paw-prints. None on the window cill, nor anywhere close to the window. In fact, there was a very clear trail from the cat-flap, to the food bowl, and then onwards.

I push here, right?

Thug has made that dangerous leap of comprehension – how to use a cat-flap. Once might be a fluke, but twice is the start of routine. He dropped by on the third night, got spotted on the final approach, and we locked the cat-flap. A large ginger nose gave it a nudge, and then a proper shove, and then the sort of head-butt that only a big ginger Thug can deliver. Fortunately the latch held.
The whole point of the cat-flap is ease and convenience – the cats can get in and out without us having to hang around. Yes, they will sit beside a shut door, with a perfectly serviceable cat-flap, and wait for one of their people to open the door, but if there’s no service staff around, they can still get in or out. As now can Thug.
So, we have bought new cat-flaps – electronic ones that only open for the designated micro-chips. The first one went in the back door, and now Thug is puzzled. He knows they are supposed to open, he can see the others go through, but it just doesn’t work for him.
Not long before Thug discovered how to use cat-flaps, we were about to put a new, extra-large one in the front door, mostly to help our extra-large cat, Oatmeal. I had a new door panel made up, hole cut, just waiting for a gap in some adverse weather to make the change. Sadly, the new electronic cat-flap needs a different shape and size of hole, so I had to re-do the panel.
Since the changes, Oatmeal and Piper have taken to sleeping just inside the front door, perfectly positioned to watch out for Thug through the new, clear plastic catflap. In reality what happens is a big ginger face lurks outside and watches them sleep, whilst wondering why the shiny new cat-food dispenser won’t open.
We have won, for now. Thug is big and smart, but hacking a microchip is beyond him.
Probably.

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