Rupert-proofing the house

After weeks of barricading doors with chairs, I finally found time this evening to stop by the hardware store to pick up a) Rupert-proof door knobs, and b) a Rupert-proof hook for the cupboard door. You might think that finding door knobs would be a simple task, but in fact, after 10 minutes of puzzled searching only found me 50+ styles of door handle – completely useless when faced with a determined Rupert, I had to admit defeat and ask for the help of one of the assistants. He also looked confused for a minute, and then triumphantly moved a display rack to the side, revealing the one single model of door knob that was stocked. The question now is, how quickly will he realise that throwing himself at the door will no longer work? Guess I’ll find out when I wake up tomorrow morning.

Unfortunately, it seems that as soon as one part of my life is Rupert-proofed, a new breach in the defenses becomes apparent. Now that Rupert is going regularly outside, I’m pleased to see that he prefers to use the great outdoors, rather than the litter tray. The only problem is that his favourite toilet spots seem to be the vegetable patch and the potato growing pot. Looks like the next step is to Rupert-proof the garden…

Rupert the explorer

Today Rupert had his first adventure out in the big wide world. After helping me with the weeding (i.e. pouncing on each weed as I pulled it up) for a while, he summoned up courage to leave the bounds of the garden, and pay a visit to the next door neighbours.

He wasn’t particularly troubled by meeting with their dogs – Max (a westie) and Yipp (a white scottie), and decided to venture on further, strolling along shed roofs and fences to the middle of the street. Meeting a brick wall, he decided that enough was enough and returned home filled with the joys of spring. After all that excitement, he’s spent most of the afternoon snoozing.

Reasons why I haven’t updated my blog much recently…

1. Rupert wouldn”?|||’t let me use the computer (see how he tried to take control again, even now?!)

2. I was too busy baking flatbread with Jen. (Rupert decided to check how the yeast was progressing.)

3. I had to fight Rupert for my dinner

4. I had to clean up all the cat food that Rupert knocked onto the floor

5. I had to make umpteen trips to the IKEA to buy rugs, to try and stop the neighbour complaining about the noise from the kittens running around

6. and last, but not least, there was play time

Kittens of Mass Destruction

Over the last couple of days I’ve been plagued by a trail of Whiskas packets which have miraculously resurfaced from the kitchen bin and scattered themselves, in shredded pieces, across the kitchen floor. Given I’ve seen the kittens at work upstairs, on a set of IKEA instructions, it seems clear how the packets end up in such a sorry state.

As for how the contents of my bin are escaping in the first place, the culprit has finally been caught in the act…

Another cat photo

I promised myself not to publish any articles about the cats for a couple days, but I couldn’t resist adding this photo.

Table Manners

I had hoped that Rupert would be a good influence on the kittens, an older brother figure that they could look up to. Sadly, it appears that this was wishful thinking – the kittens certainly seem to regard Rupert with awe – purring frantically when he pays them any attention, and following his every move. Unfortunately, he seems only to be teaching them bad habits such as leaping onto the worktop and sitting on the kitchen table.

After a couple days of harmony, the frustrations of being kept inside are catching up Rupert, and the kittens seem to be a convenient target on which to take out some pent up frustrations. Fortunately, the kittens take every attack in the spirit of fun (indeed Rasha has no problems about being pounced on by Rupert, but is still terrified of me), and yesterday Zephyr and Rupert even curled up together during a ceasefire.

Rupert the escape artist

For all my concerns about keeping the kittens under control, it appears to be Rupert I should be worrying about.

I have been keeping the three cats downstairs, until they acclimatised to their new home. This has suited the kittens fine, and they appear to have no thought that there might be something more interesting outside their space. Rupert, however, is another matter. Right from the start he has been curious about the world around him, particularly everything that lies behind the closed kitchen door.

Whilst I was upstairs earlier, I was surprised by a crash, and peering down the stairs, was surprised to find Rupert on the wrong side of the kitchen door. Berating myself for not shutting the door properly, I made sure the kittens were still contained, and then decided to let him explore a little. Before I knew it, though, he’d escaped my watchful eye, gone back down the stairs, and vanished into the meter cupboard, which apparently I’d shut, but not locked after reading the water meter yesterday.

Panicking, peering down into the darkness, there was no sign of him whatsoever. A small and distant miaow alerted me that he really was down there, but without a torch I couldn’t see any sign of him. After a very long couple minutes, he finally re-emerged briefly to show me that he was safe, but before I could grab him (to my relief, the drop was not as deep as it first appeared in the dark), he vanished again. Clearly, whilst I was busy panicking that he was lost under the house for ever, he was having a jolly good explore. Finally, he emerged again, covered in dust, but none the worst for his adventure, and let me extract him from the pipework.

I would like to say that this has been the end of this evening’s stress, however, now that he has had a taste for freedom, he is continuing his search. I realise, too, that it was not me that left the door open, but rather Rupert who opened it, as this video demonstrates. Sadly, I stopped filming seconds before he did manage to open the door. Better luck next time, I suppose.

Rather than continue to listen to his anguished howling, and door opening exercise, I have left him to explore the rest of the house. He reappears every ten minutes or so to howl outside the kitchen door (shut, to keep at least the kittens in), and look plaintively at the front door. As I suspected, Rupert is clearly an outdoor cat, and when he’s been in the house a bit longer, this will definitely have to be addressed. For the short term, I hope he manages to adjust to staying indoors, for all our sakes!

Zephyr and Rasha-ba

After some deliberation, I have decided to name both kittens after named winds (not, I should point out, because either has shown particular signs of flatulence!).

The white and black kitten, originally named Rein, is Zephyr, after the Greek god of the west wind. Although the name does seem to suit him, it’s not perhaps the most appropriate, as in Greek mythology, Zephyr was the most gentle of the winds.

Stogholo, I have renamed (with some relief) to Rasha-ba, or Rasha. The name is Kurdish for the “black wind” and is given to a strong wind in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

Both kittens are beginning to settle in. Zephyr is now quite affectionate, although Rasha is still keeping his distance, and won’t really let me get too close to him yet.