Friday, June 12, 2009

Talk about stubborn!

I went back to Canada last week and was only gone 6 days. Long enough, apparently, for the animals to miss me. REALLY miss me.

While I was gone, Miguel reported that Luna was hardly home; she just ducked in to eat and then wanted out again. Luna has access to most of the property because she knows how to navigate through a small opening in the wall and get to the second-level terrace. We will let Luna out downstairs only to go upstairs and find her there waiting for us. I guess it's her little game.

My first night home we went to bed around 10 pm. Luna was outside, nowhere to be found. Around midnight, we woke up to use the bathroom and consequently had a short conversation - something like "leave the light on, I need to go too".

Luna must have been hanging around somewhere and heard our voices because in a minute she was at the screen door wanting in. We weren't about to let her in because Smokey was sleeping inside and Luna doesn't like her, and she is just plain grouchy with all the other pets and she has been spending most nights outside quite happily. So Luna took matters into her own paws and pulled the screen open and waltzed in. She made her way to my side of the bed and I made the mistake of talking to her and petting her.

There is something wrong with two of our spayed females (Luna and Minina) - they act like they are not really 'fixed' at certain times of the year. And apparently right now is one of those times, because the little scratch on the head that I gave Luna started up a deep-throated vocal demonstration that I recognized as a cat calling for a mate. I quickly stopped the petting and put her back outside.

Luna sat outside the door calling, and somewhere we heard another cat call back in response. Not sure if it was Minina downstairs, or one of the stray males that hangs around our house. Miguel got a container of water and tried to chase discourage Luna from staying up on the terrace. She seemed to leave, but no sooner was Miguel settled back in bed and she was at the door again, trying to get back in and meowing up a storm, with the other cat somewhere calling back to her.

Next came the hose treatment - sprayed at the floor, not the cat, and she jumped through the little window in the wall and was gone. Next the hose got pointed down at the passageway between the houses, where Miguel figured the other cat was sitting.

Settled back into bed again, but within 5 minutes Luna was back and picking at the screen door. So we closed the glass doors. She sat outside the doors and cried, and when she heard us talking, she made her way to the side window and sat there and cried.

I got another container of water and was not so kind as Miguel - I threw it directly at Luna. She moved away and I shut the glass window. You would think the cat would have given up and just settled on the nice padded chair that was right outside our bedroom out there on the patio.

No, Luna was determined she was going to come in and visit, or drive us nuts instead. We were equally determined that Luna was not going to develop the habit of disturbing sleep at any hour of the night just because she wanted some company. And so we hardened our hearts and agreed to ride it out.

Oh my gosh! Who could have imagined that Luna would cry like a human baby, at the top of her lungs, for hours on end?! She sat outside our door ALL NIGHT LONG and made a fuss. We endured 6 hours. SIX HOURS. At one point we were tempted to go downstairs to sleep but didn't want Luna thinking she'd won. It was only because I knew she was absolutely fine that I didn't relent.

Luna used the same wiles several years ago when she was a stray prowling the high walls around the property. She started making her presence known by crying when she was around, and when that didn't work, she used the night-time tactics - on the top of the wall right outside our bedroom window - she knew we were there because she could hear our voices. She cried and made noise all night long and so finally, we gave in and let Luna join our household. She must have remembered that the strategy worked then, and she was going to put it into practice again.

Finally, at 5:30 am, I thought we'd all had enough. But I didn't want Luna to think that her behavior was what finally got her into the bedroom, so I went out on the patio, sat in the chair (that she could have slept in very comfortably), and picked her up. She laid in my lap and purred and finally stopped crying. I gave her a couple of minutes and then carried her into the house and down the stairs (still trying to outsmart the thinking of the cat that there might be any relationship between her making a fuss and being allowed to come in). I wanted Luna to know that I was bringing her in, she was not being let in. Yes, there IS a difference, even if it's lost on the cat, I get it!

Downstairs Luna ate some food, drank some water, and then jumped up on the animal couch and zonked out. She slept most the day away, exhausted from her performance of the night. She HAD food and she HAD water outside, so it was not hunger or thirst that made her behave the way she did. She wanted to be with me, and if I'd known that just two minutes of cuddling would have done the trick, I'd have done it at midnight and saved us all some aggravation. I had greeted her when I first got home, but clearly it wasn't enough and Luna was going to get her way.

And so what happened last night? Luna showed up again when we went up to bed. She quickly popped open the door and came in, and so I picked her up and carried her downstairs and tossed her into the kitchen. There was a little face peeking at us from around the corner, and as Luna hit the floor she gave a growl and the face retreated. I closed the accordion doors and left them all to work it out. And we never heard a sound all night long.

Miguel got up early and went downstairs to finish sleeping (he doesn't like the fan, I like the fan, so I get my way and he leaves). He let Luna out, and so she showed up at my door at 4 am and tried to open it. Somehow I had it closed and she couldn't quite get it open, and I just told her "No", and turned away from her. She gave up and laid in the chair beside the door. But she tried the door again, every half hour, and I told her "No", every half hour. Each time she went back to the chair and quietly laid there while I went back to sleep. In the morning I let her in, and we both made our way downstairs and started our day.

So...who won? I've got too much history with cats to think that we did. I'm not even sure it's actually over yet. I wonder what Luna's take on it is?


Life's a Beach! said...

Sounds just like trying to solve baby problems when they start waking up in the middle of the night and want to play. LOL And now I don't feel so bad about using the hose on the cat next door in Washington State! : )

KfromMichigan said...

I'd say Luna is spoiled! Mommy....

Bennie said...

Oh Sue.. I needed that laugh, I had tears in my eyes reading this. And as one who remembers those howls when Luna was prowling the neighborhood I pitty that restless night you had.

Sue said...

Beck - you are right. I did the same with Jen when she was a baby, left her to cry it out each night, and it worked and she slept like a log. Luna - hmmm...

K - Well, she is not supposed to be spoiled, and I'm trying to make it so she isn't, but she knows how to make it hard to ignore her.

Bennie - I forgot you were here during Luna's early days. So you can vouch for her resistance to being ignored!