Last night I spent a freezing and fruitless half hour sat next to our back door, holding a cheesy chicken cat treat and trying in vain to coax the Cat to stick her head through the catflap...
Please let me explain. The Cat is eleven and is familiar with the concept of 'catflap'. However, the swaggering tom who has moved in next door is also au fait with the concept and is taking full advantage of this fact by coming into our kitchen and swiping my poor girl's meaty breakfasts. My elderly neighbours who are very fond of the cat (mine, not the swaggerer) told me that Netto's had a special magnetic catflap for sale. This magical device would stop Swaggering Tom from sauntering into my kitchen but allow ingress for the Cat as long as she wore a magnetic blob on her collar (red velvet, diamante - meeee-ow!).
I treated my best mate to a Netto trip and purchased the catflap. There is a whole other story to do with kindling at this point, but I will hold back. Once purchased and returned home, the catflap was then passed to my beloved, M, to fit in place of the normal catflap. This was done, although he did make a point of telling me how difficult it was and how it took a VERY LONG TIME. I did not bite - the Cat is a family pet and we all have responsibility for her happiness and well-being.
The Cat went out. The whole family waited with bated breath for the Cat to return, triumphant through the sexy new catflap. She did return - and proceeded sit outside, peering through the little window, wailing at the catflap whilst poking it with an ineffectual paw and then wailing some more. O was quite distressed, then in the manner of small boys the world over, envisaged a terrible scenario where the Cat would never come home again and would get eaten by foxes. I think he may have had thoughts of a new puppy to replace The Cat at the end of this doom-laden saga.
We coaxed and pleaded and pushed the Cat (M stood outside in his slippers trying to force a reluctant cat through a catflap is a very amusing image) but to no avail. She would not poke her neck with the magic blob anywhere near the catflap mechanism. O wouldn't go to bed until I'd assured him that the Cat would be safe and not eaten by wild beasts and thus my lonely vigil with the cheesy chicken treat began.
Of course, I cracked. The Cat knows which buttons to press (but not how to get through a sodding magnetic catflap) and in this respect is very much like O when he does not want to do something. A show of wailing, followed by stubborn glances, followed by stomping off in high dudgeon ensured that I opened the door and allowed the Cat to bypass the catflap.
The flap has been in operation for two days. So far the Cat is holding firm on her protest and has not yet entered the house through the magic catflap. I am running out of ideas on how to break the deadlock and I know M will go bananas if I ask him to refit the old one.
If anyone is reading, please take pity on me and tell me how to teach this old cat new tricks...