It has been a month since Gizmo, my 8 month old tabby kitten, went outside for the first time and discovered what the outside world is all about! In the past month, he has gone from a nervous, timid kitten, scared of EVERYTHING to now being a confident little tiger, terrorising not only my (ferocious) pet ducks, but also harassing my next door neighbour on a very regular basis.
During the first few days that he met the outside world, it was reassuring (and pretty impressive!) that when I called his name, or whistled, Gizmo would immediately come running back to the house. How cute is that!! Upon his return, I would make a big fuss of him for coming at my ‘request’, before he would enthusiastically run out of the house at speed and continue his adventures in the garden, getting up to all sorts of mischief I imagine…
An amusing ‘side effect’ of whistling for Gizmo is that I have inadvertently trained my two pet ducks to respond to the same call!? Each time I whistle, it now appears to be a race between Gizmo and the two ducks as to who can run to my back door first?! Luckily for Gizmo, he usually wins this race, but not always!!? This does explain why Giz seems to make such an effort to reach the back door as quickly as possible?! He doesn’t enjoy close encounters with the scary pet ducks…
I’m secretly quite impressed that Gizmo ‘comes to call’. His response to my whistle is far better than many of the dogs I see on the nearby beaches!? This ‘skill’ also comes in useful in the evenings when its getting dark, and I want to go to bed. Gizmo is allowed outdoors during daylight hours only at the moment. I’ve warned him about the dangers of walking the streets at night; he is too young to be getting up to mischief and fighting with other kittys in the dark, and I am not ready for him to start bringing his friends home for uninvited midnight snacks either.
Each evening, I stand in the doorway, whistle, and Giz comes bounding in within a minute, often at such a speed that he has wheelspin on the kitchen floor! However, last night, I believe he was testing the boundaries of his kitten curfew as he decided he wanted to stay out a little bit longer than I approve of. Now, when he is older, bigger, and more streetwise, I won’t have a problem with this, but at the moment I insist he is indoors overnight when I go to bed.
So, when I decided to go to bed last night, I went to call Giz. I whistled a few times at the back door as usual, and when Gizmo didn’t appear, I was a little shocked. Hmmm. Maybe I didn’t whistle loud enough? Not to worry I thought, I have a second plan. Plan B; I called his name, quietly the first time, but louder (probably with some annoyance in my voice) the second time; and still no sign of Gizmo? Hmmm. That’s annoying, and slightly concerning! So, short of me wandering the streets (and neighbours’ gardens) in my very unflattering pyjamas (yes, before you ask, they do have cats on them…) in an attempt to find him, potentially being reported to the police for snooping in bushes, looking up trees and generally acting quite odd, I had a cunning plan to entice him home?!
Gizmo is not able to be bribed with food or treats. Unlike previous cats I’ve had, Giz is notoriously fussy, so rattling his food bowl, or a packet of treats is not an option. Well, it is an option, but it wouldn’t have any chance of being successful. But don’t fear, I had one more plan that I hoped would convince the little monster to return home!!?
My final plan involved standing in my doorway, whistling once and immediately rattling one of his loudest toys. Thankfully, this proved immediately successful; Gizmo came speeding up the garden and straight in through the back door within 20 seconds! As soon as he ran through the door, looking for his toy reward, I quickly slammed the door and launched his toy mouse across the room. Big sigh of relief!! Success…!!
However, this sense of achievement didn’t last long for me… Enticing the little monster home using a toy then meant that he wanted to play with the toy mouse for the next two hours, and I most definitely did not want to join in. Unfortunately Giz wasn’t deterred from playing alone. I think he was secretly hoping he would eventually convince me to join in…but he didn’t succeed. So instead, I lay in bed for the next two hours, listening to him launching himself off various items of furniture, literally throwing his toys out of his toy box and having a wonderful time without me, being as loud as he possibly could!
I hope last nights’ curfew defiance was a one off, and Gizmo isn’t entering a teenage rebellion phase?! I guess I will find out later when I call him to come in for the night…!!?