Rupert Can Haz Freedomz

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55082484I forgot to mention in my last post that we have been gate free during the day for the past few weeks. Moon kept jumping the gates to hang out in the room with Rupert anyway, and we didn’t want to keep the door closed because, well, door-closed sort of defeats the purpose when it comes to reducing fear through desensitization and gradual acclimation. We want Rupert to come out of his bubble not create a new one for him. So, despite my reservations and Moon’s flagrant rudeness, we just had to let things happen, with a few caveats: we did gate off the upstairs, and I was closing the downstairs bedroom door, as well. Cats hiding under beds are notoriously difficult to extract.

That said, I do get forgetful from time to time. It’s a chick thing. Enough said.

Yesterday I forgot to close the bedroom door, and when I got home from work, Rupert was out of the room and under the bed. Predictable at least.

I didn’t fuss with him though. I poked my head under and said, Hi! Told him that I was proud of him for being brave and leaving his room. Then I went and got everyone’s dinner and set it out in their respective eating places. Rupert’s in his room. Moon’s in the dining room. Then I went for my nightly 5k walk.

By the time I got back, Rupert had eaten and was back in his room, in his bed.

I did feel bad initially, but I resisted the urge to coddle him by giving him his dinner plate under the bed. I thought it would make the bed seem like a refuge where all his needs would be met. That seemed like enabling to me, so I told him that if he wanted to eat, he had to come back out into the open.

He did.

He has to acclimate to the house at some point. It’s been almost 6 months since we brought him in. I don’t want to rush things, so he’s still gated in at night. Mostly because of Moon. Moon gets anxious at night. It’s just a relic from his feral life, but I don’t want a cat fight at 2 AM, so we’ll keep the wandering to the daytime hours when they are both a lot more calm and lazy.

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