Can you teach an old cat new tricks?


You see that handsome fella there?  That’s Henry.  He’s 18.  And he is very loved by all of us and very pampered, by animal-lover Lindsay but especially by Chris.

We live in a house with a lot of stairs.  Henry is still spry and gets around pretty well.  We have noticed that he has been going up and down the stairs a bit less often, though.  He’s slowing down a little.  This has gradually evolved into Henry demanding treats in the wee hours when we are sleeping (rather than going downstairs to the kitchen to eat).  And Chris actually giving in.  At 3am.  And at 5am.  When woken from a deep sleep.

“What can I do?  He’s an old dude.  He’s hungry,” Chris says.

“This is ridiculous,” I say. 

Whatever.  And hey (I tell myself), if he’s handling it, fine by me.  Until … he takes a job in California, that is.

“There’s no way that I am giving the cat these treats all night while you are gone,” I say.

“Good luck with that,” Chris says.

UGH. You have GOT to be kidding. I am well beyond the sleep-deprived days of babyhood and toddlerhood.  I am back into getting regular amounts of sleep.  Sleep is important to me, especially now.  This left me wondering … CAN  you teach an old cat new tricks? Well, I was DETERMINED to find out.

  • Week 1: I decide to put said treats in a bowl on the floor of our bedroom.  Every time the cat paws me — which is 3 or 4 times per night — I pick him up and show him the bowl.  I am exhausted yet too frazzled with this commuter family thing to even notice, frankly.  Chris remains dubious of this undertaking.
  • Week 2:  Henry does not seem too happy BUT … he is pawing me only 2 times per night now.  Poor guy also misses Chris, I am sure.  I totally understand.  Toward the end of the week, Henry is only pawing me once per night.  Chris perks up when I mention these details. “Really?” Chris says.
  • Week 3:  We are currently in week 3.  For 2 nights in a row, the cat has not pawed me at all. NOT ONCE! YES!

“Wow, you’re like a cat trainer,” Chris says.

“Don’t even think of reverting back to your old ways when you come home for a visit in 10 days,” I say.

We all love our pets :-).  What about you?  Do you baby your pets?  When does it go too far?  Any comments on the post and your experiences would be welcomed!


7 thoughts on “Can you teach an old cat new tricks?

  1. This cracked me up because our dog was spoiled until Steve went away for several days. Maggie would bark every morning by 5am to eat (some mornings it was 3 or 4am). There was NO WAY I was feeding her at that hour. The first few mornings she barked I came down and told her to be quiet. By the 4th day or so she just gave up. She’ll wait til 9 now days to eat. These spoiled animals can learn!

    • Thank GOD I am not alone in this! I thought we were the only insane ones. I love that Mr. Henry but really. And Chris doubted my ability to change Mr. Henry ;-). Thanks for commenting, Beth!

  2. Great writing SKO. I have a ginormous spoiled Great Pryrenees puppy on my hands. Perhaps you have some suggestions as to how to keep him inside the pasture at night 🙂 BTW Henry might be the only cat in the world I like. Please don’t tell anyone about it. It might spoil my exclusive dog person status 🙂

    • I wish that I did ;-). It’s all that I have to train an elderly cat. And hey … your secret is safe with me! 😉 Thanks for reading and commenting and supporting. I so appreciate it!

  3. Do we baby our pets, you ask. We just had our girl Olivia (siamese-seal point) to the dentist for a cleaning… $300 later, I’m happy to report that no extractions or fillings were required.

    • OMG! That’s more expensive than a human cleaning! A pet becomes part of the family, doesn’t it? We always call Henry our first baby 😉 Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

  4. Pingback: How are you doing? | Bridging the Distance

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