Dad and I went out today, leaving Alice in charge. I told her to keep an eye on Jack because he’s new to this “being left unattended in the house” thing. She agreed. Well, I think she agreed. Hard to tell with cats.
When I came home Jack was so happy to see me! My first thought was that he was sucking up because he had torn the house up. I imagined the tv toppled over, curtains shredded, and shit drug out of the cabinets. None of that occurred and it appeared he was a good boy! This is surprising to me because of this cat’s history.
About 3 years ago, I found Jack wandering in our field. He had this cry-baby meow that immediately made me think he was a tiny kitten. He wasn’t. I think he was about 6 months old if that. He was not neutered and I figured he had to be pretty young because he wasn’t marking his territory. I got him to the vet and had him neutered lickety-split. I didn’t want him to start spraying because once they start it’s hard to get them to stop! Jack was very aggressive towards my other cats. At the time, I had 2 other neutered males that didn’t like Jack any more than he liked them! I had to keep them separated. In fact, I had to keep him separated from ALL of my other cats because he wanted to chase them down and I didn’t want to have to rush any of them to the vet with injuries. For the first year of Jack’s time with us, he was outside during the day and when he came inside, I kept my other kitties in my bedroom so that Jack would have some freedom in the house without problems with the others. He had to be taught some manners, too. He wanted to climb on everything and tried to get out the windows. He was a handful but he slowly learned the ropes. He spent his nights in a room, all to himself. This was peaceful for everyone, including the other cats and it kept Jack safe from coyotes outside! We did this for about a year!
Then one night, I just happened to see a commercial for a special vest for dogs that keeps them calm and a light went off in my brain! I went to Walmart and bought a vest, (sized for a small dog) and put it on Jack. He fell over in it like it had rendered him paralyzed! It was hilarious! He wouldn’t move with the vest on for the longest time! After a few weeks, he got used to it and actually started moving around the house. He didn’t chase the others. He didn’t raise hell trying to get outside. None of that. Seems this vest was keeping him in line…. and it wasn’t any special kind of vest either!
After a few more weeks, I started letting him go without the vest when he came inside. He was good for awhile and then he just couldn’t help himself! He started chasing the others. So, I put the vest on him. It straightened him out! Every time he couldn’t behave himself, I put the vest on him. Worked like a charm. We did this for nearly a year.
Jack’s third year was outside during the day, inside around 5pm…. and since he learned to behave himself for a few hours in the house he didn’t have to be locked in his room until I went to bed. There were still scuffles and growling, hissing and chasing on occasion but he learned that when I raised my voice, he could be put in that vest for the duration of the night OR locked in his room.
Last month, I lost my last elder male, so there were now no other males aside from Jack. I thought why not try and NOT lock him up during the night? I figured I’d regret it but I won’t know unless I try. So, a few weeks ago I went to bed without locking him in his room. He watched me lock up the house, turn out the lights, brush my teeth, scoop the litter box and head to my room. I said, “Goodnight, Jack. Be good.” He wasn’t. It was raining outside so none of them wanted to go out on the catio. He didn’t know what to do with himself so he started causing trouble. After about an hour, I got up and locked him in his room. He looked so sad and I felt so bad!
The next night, we tried again. I was shocked but he was a good boy and he’s been good ever since! It’s been 2 weeks now! He has come a long way; from being a wild & crazy, aggressive cat to a sweet & loving furbaby with manners!
Today was the first time we left him in the house for a long period of time, with the other 4 cats and no supervision. It was raining outside and he didn’t want to go back out. I took a chance and he didn’t disappoint! This month marks his 3rd birthday (give or take) and while it’s been a long, long road for both of us, I’m so glad he’s mine!
Maybe next time we leave the house, I’ll put him in charge of watching the others! Hahaha!