Sunday, September 24, 2006

Smarter Than Your Average Cat

After two days of weakness and general yuckiness I felt better yesterday and was able to attend to tasks which have been piling up.

We figured out how to hang the small (18" x 24") electric panel heater. We'd initially thought we install it on the cabinet to the immediate left of the door, but it was clear that this is not a good spot, as the heater would be subjected to too many traffic hazards. There is not one other unoccupied 18" x 24" spot of wall in the entire trailer. It has to be hung six inches above the floor, away from windows and doors. The mounting brackets keep it one inch from the wall.

This took some thought. There's no reason the heater can't be moved, it's just a 1/4" thick sheet of cement board with heating coils embedded in it. It looks like a piece of white wallboard except that there's a cord coming from it and it has four holes for the mounting brackets.

So I bought a metal towel rack that hangs over the top of a door. By running picture wire through the top two holes we can hook the towel rack over the lip of the lower large drawer about halfway down the length of the trailer and hang the heater on it, just like a picture. When it's not in use we can pick it up and slide it into the pantry. Pretty nifty.

We installed the larger of the two heaters, the 24" x 24" one, on the back wall between the two beds. It's great except that it pumps out a lot of heat, too much for these nights when the temperature doesn't drop lower than five or six degrees. We have to keep turning it on and off, which is a bit of a pain. The smaller one doesn't put out as much heat, and since it's not so close to us, once it cools off enough to need heat (5:00 - 6:00 am) we can just turn it on and leave it on. It draws 1.8 amps of power and costs about a cent and a half an hour to run.

Next item on the agenda. The dern cat has been driving us mad. He is absolutely the worst tease on earth. Once he figured out he could get a rise from us by trying to get into the dish cupboard over the kitchen counter he has been a huge pain. He's fine during the day, but as soon as the lights go out he's at those doors. I've been putting two bungee cords over the door handles, but worried constantly that he'd work one of them loose and a hook might hit him in the head, eye, etc.

We temporarily dissuaded him by putting him in his cat carrier when he would jump up on the counter and start scratching at the doors, but by the third night he was very blase about that. He'd be quiet as a mouse and the minute you let him out and crawled back into bed he would be back at the cupboard doors.

I was desperate for a decent night's sleep. Night before last I wet paper towels and laid them on the counter, because he hates getting his feet wet, but he just concentrated on the area over the sink, where he could stand on the dry edge. ( damn!)

Yesterday I happened to think of the tie-down straps we bought to secure the fridge in place for the trip. They have a hook on each end, but tighten with a buckle (like a seat belt) and are not elastic. So I hooked a hook into the handles of the outside cupboard doors, ran the tie-down across the middle doors and pulled it all tight.

He looked at it with great interest and jumped up to investigate. I didn't say a thing, or scold him. He shoved his nose right up under the buckle, trying to loosen it or get it to move. No luck. He was puzzled when I ignored his pulling on the doors and strap, he kept looking at me and making little question noises. ("What? You aren't gonna yell at me? Not gonna jump up and grab me? Whassup with that?!! You tryin' to ruin my fun?")

After a minute or two he gave up and jumped down on his own. He had to dash around and jump on things generally, but that's fine. I don't mind that, it's just that one set of cupboards I was worried about.

The funny thing is that at bedtime he curled up on my feet and slept the entire night, except for wanting food when I got up at 3:00 and 5:00. I have learned something. Today he decided to see if he could get a rise out of me by jumping on the shelf above Tony's bunk where we have our prayer bowl and altar. There's not much room and he had to squinch himself to do it, but he was eyeing me and expecting a scolding. I just looked the other way. Oh, actually I tried to take his picture up there, but he got down before the shutter caught him. He hasn't tried again.

I always suspected I was smarter than yer average cat, and now I know I am! (Or at least I think I am. Pride goeth before a fall. He may open the straps tonight and break every dish in the house.)

1 comment:

Zak Greant said...

The only thing that we found that _ever_ disussuaded that naughty orange cat from jumping on counters and wreaking general havoc was simple packing tape.

Just put some tape face up on surfaces he shouldn't jump on - he hates how it feels on his feet and will stop jumping on the surface in question pretty soon.

Love,
--zak