Our new kitty Harley Quinn has been showing too much interest in the budgies.
As in, WAY too much interest.
As in, lunging and jumping at the cage when they’re moving around, too much interest.
I decided that I was going to train her while she’s still young and, at least theoretically, trainable. In the past, I’ve trained cats with squirt bottles and various other methods (noisemakers like squeakers or cans filled with coins, putting things with undesirable smells/textures in locations cats aren’t allowed, etc) and it’s been only semi-effective, depending on the cat. This time, I decided I’d step the squirt bottle up a notch and about 3 weeks ago I bought a medium-sized squirt gun – the kind that pumps up, but not the huge version of that type that sends the kind wall of water that would destroy Japan.
We have a clicker that was given to us for training the dog, but it hasn’t been in proper use because we had only one, with too many people handling it – so of course, it’s been misplaced. Last week, I was in the pet store and found they had clickers for $1.49, so I bought two. This purchase was, you understand, for training the dog.
Now, in first 2 weeks after I got the squirt gun, I’d actually fired it at the cat twice. It’s never nearby when I catch her doing something she isn’t supposed to be, so she’s been getting away with a lot of stuff – including harassing the bird cage. I’d only actually HIT her with water once out of those two attempts.
After I got the clickers, I got a brilliant idea. Seriously, brilliant. Write it down. Go ahead, get a pencil… I’ll wait.
Got one? Paper, too?
I decided I would click the clicker 3 times when I caught the cat when she was up to mischief. Then, if she persisted, I would click it 3 times again followed by squirting water.
I spent 4 days lying in wait, squirt gun and clicker at the ready, waiting for her to violate the kitty-cat Geneva Convention so I could follow my Rules of Engagement for Anti-Social Feline Behaviour Modification or ASFeBeMo for short.
Screw that, ASFeBeMo is a fucking lame acronym.
Finally, on Monday, she was eyeball-riveted on the bird cage. Then she started winding up for one of those pounces – you know, where the cat wiggles its back end like a stripper waiting for you to slip an single into her G-string.
Not, you understand, that I’ve ever actually BEEN to see a stripper.
But I’ve heard stories.
And played Grand Theft Auto IV.
Anyway, I digress.
Kitty is twitching her booty. I grab the clicker, and click 3 times. She hesitates, briefly, looking behind her wondering what the sound was (and presumably checking for a dollar in her G-string). Then she turns back to the birds, coiling up the springs again.
I click 3 more times, and fire the squirt gun. I mostly missed, only grazing her ear, but the sound – the SOUND of that squirt gun is most impressive – the water comes out with a roaring-whistling noise so loud that you’d swear the end of Alderaan is nigh. The cat ran like her arse had been set on fire.
Phase One: SUCCESS!
The problem is, since Monday, she’s barely looked at the bird cage (when I’ve been watching). I mean, how can you have training if it doesn’t happen on a nearly-daily basis? How am I supposed to reinforce the message? And really, who DOESN’T love a shapely butt in a G-string?
But today, I got my big chance. My second kick at the can. Another shot at the brass ring. A waltz with the Big Kahuna. (Wait, wut?)
The cat caught sight of the birds. She climbed up on a box near their cage, and began readying her attack. I quickly and silently scooped up the squirt gun, carefully keeping it concealed, and made sure it was pumped up and ready. I reached out and picked up the clicker.
I clicked 3 times.
The cat froze, and looked around. She turned and looked back at the birds. And hightailed it like Rob Ford on Gay Pride Day.
I didn’t even get to the second 3 clicks, let alone actually letting slip the dogs of war.
I confess: I’m disappointed.