I had to put my Wile E. Coyote thinking cap on last night to see if I could solve the ninja Moon kitteh versus tempting gate situation because a door-closed scenario is counterproductive. That door to Rupert’s room has to be open for the integration to continue … but maybe it doesn’t have to be open all the way.
Moon is a curious guy, and watching mommy build Fort Knox with the gates each morning simply over-charged his anodes. Ferrets are like this. I am used to the “I’m jumping out of my pants intrigued and just can’t leave shit alone” pathology, so I searched the internets for alternate approaches to the safe room scenario.
Some people use screen doors. Some people use gates. I’ve seen Jackson Galaxy use both on his show. I used gates just because I had them, but I did run across someone using a “cracked door” scenario. Now here’s a funny thing about Moon kitteh: a cracked door means a closed door to him. I do this at night if he wakes me up too much. I’ll crack the door so that I can still hear the house, but for some reason, he won’t push the door open. It’s as if he understands that the partially closed door is a polite way of asking him for my space, and Moon is polite if anything, so he respects the request. I thought I might use this to my advantage.
The training site I visited did not use a gate. They just used rubber doorstoppers to crack the door and prevent it being pushed open. I liked the idea, though trusting a few rubber stoppers with Moon is probably not a good idea, so I did make some modifications to the setup.
First, I moved Rupert’s food and water dish to the other side of the door so that he could be smelled and seen through the crack. Then I used one doorstop to get the crack the width I needed. You want it big enough to see and maybe get a paw through, but small enough that the cat’s head can’t get through. After I got the crack adjusted where I wanted it, I put one gate up, and then ran a bungee cord from the doorknob to the gate to secure the door so that it couldn’t be pushed open in the opposite direction of the doorstop.
We tried out the new setup last night and it was a success. A quiet night with no issues. Rupert ate all his dinner, so he obviously didn’t mind eating near an exposed opening. This morning, I cleaned the room litterbox, fed Rupert his breakfast, and fussed over him a little with the door wide open. Moon just watched from the other side of the gate like the polite little boy that he is. When I exit the room, I give Moon a calming chew with the hand that I’d been petting Rupert with. It’s just so Moon associates Rupert’s smell with something good.
Here’s a picture of Moon with his scratching stick. He loves that stick so much that we are on his second one. Feral cats like wood. It keeps their claws in check better than carpet scratchers do. They come from Natural Scratch and it’s super easy to train your cat to use them. Moon has never once scratched the furniture, and we don’t (can’t) trim his claws. Look at that polite little face.