Neighbor took a well earned vacation. Very first time away, leaving Cat.
Cat is almost a year old. Born in the woods, raised by feral mom, no socialization to people. Cat adores his owner, but any sign of any other human will send Cat vanishing under the furniture. That means any opening or closing door in the building, any voice or footstep indoors or out, any sudden sound like a car door or basketball. Poof, gone.
My three day mission: ignore Cat. As Cesar Millan would say, No touch, no talk, no eye contact. Scoop litter in bathroom. Wash and refill water dish in side hall. Go to kitchen, and pour dry kibble. In living room, fill treat mouse with treats. Then, sit on the floor and curl up for a 20 minute nap. Repeat every 3 hours. That way Cat would get a good leaving alone, but would also know that someone was still paying attention to his various little needs.
Day One, four visits. No sign of cat. I didn’t even look around for him, but did hum the whole time so he’d know I wasn’t sneaking up. Took nap each time. Left.
Day Two, visit 1. During food dish top-up, a speeding blur streaked past my heels. I could only hope it was Cat. Took nap. Left.
Day Two, visit 2. Scooped litter, left bathroom and started other chores. During nap, caught the sound of scuffly noises in litter pan, testing my craftsmanship.
Day Two, visit 3. Scooped litter. Moved on to water dish while scuffly noises came from litter pan. Put down fresh water. Proceeded to kitchen. Heard tiny lapping noises coming from direction of water bowl. Topped up kibble, left kitchen. Took nap while crunchy noises came from kitchen. Clearly, Cat is seeing this as a dialogue. Finished nap. Left.
Day Two, visit 4. Started routine, with sounds of Cat kicking litter around and lapping water. In kitchen, topping up kibble, suddenly found Cat peering his nose and one eye around door frame. Ignored him. Faced the wall. Held cell phone behind back. Took a photo of Cat. Texted to neighbor as poltergeist proof. Took nap while treat mouse jingling noises came from under furniture. Left.
Day Three, visit 1. Finished chores. Cat stepped into view to stare into kitchen. Filmed stare. Texted video to owner. Took nap. Cat stared from behind sofa. Ignored him. Left.
Day Three, visit 2. Finished routine. Settled down on floor for nap. At the sound of a door down the hall, Cat took an impressive flying leap right over my feet. Did not catch on video. Napped. Left.
Day Three, visit 3. Routine. Nap while using feet to block path to litter and water. Cat stared from behind furniture. Finally crept closer, stepped over feet.
Day Three, visit 4. Routine. Nap. Cat stared from behind furniture. Crept closer. Spent five minutes sniffing and batting at shoe soles, then batted treat mouse around three feet away until someone downstairs honked a horn. Vanished.
Day Four, visit 1. Routine. Nap, while holding Cat’s treat mouse. Cat inspected shoe soles. Batted treat mouse. Nuzzled hand.
Day Four, visit 2. Cat met me at the door, talking a blue streak. Talked back at him. Routine. Pretended to nap during shoe sole inspection, while holding both treat mouse and comb. Cat batted at mouse, nuzzled and groomed comb, then nuzzled my hand. Filmed with other hand. Texted video to owner.
Day Four, visit 3. Cat met me at the door, chatting away. Routine. Pretended to nap while holding a soft bristle brush. Cat groomed himself, then jumped in my lap to nuzzle cell phone during filming.
Day Four, owner returned.
Yesterday I came home and found a gift at my door, a favorite movie on DVD. It turns out that Cat has an Amazon Prime account and can write thank you notes and sign his name.
On a weekend next fall during Neighbor’s ideal camping season, word on the street is that Cat and I will get together again. We plan to ignore each other and catch up on our naps.
Update: Just paid a little visit to Neighbor, because he has a new set of popsicle molds, and invited me over for frozen pops made of Greek yogurt blended with blueberries. So we sat around licking our treats, and finally Cat emerged from hiding. I held a brush out, and Cat did the rest. It was very nice to see that he seemed fine with having me around, and prefers to sit right between the two of us. Apparently he has decided that being part of a pack of two test-driven humans feels even safer than a pack of just one.