I recently wrote a post about how our house was fast becoming a cat motel and the need for a revolving door cat flap. It was an amusing situation, although it was costing us extra money for the extra cat food.
But with the onset of The Beast from the East and all this snow and ice, the situation has changed dramatically and there have been even more feline visitors. I try not to think that they are all suffering from malnutrition, that they just prefer our cat Merlin’s menu to their own, but for whatever the reason our cat flap is subject to some serious abuse.
Before all this pitifully cold weather, our visitors were amenable and very respectful of the facilities. Merlin tolerated the frequent invasion of his territory, preferring to watch from a distance. He obviously trusted us to make up the shortfall in his rations, and although we moaned about it from time to time, it was rather sweet to see so many cats wandering through our kitchen.
This situation has changed dramatically with the weather and a new arrival. He is a huge cat, with long black shaggy fur that almost brushes the ground when he walks. His tail, also long and shaggy, must be the envy of every cat in the neighbourhood. He isn’t scared or respectful, although he seems to want to be friendly, the least he could do, I suppose, seeing as he comes back several times a day! But we have discovered, alarmingly, that Merlin cannot abide him. He will ignore Shaggy’s presence if he is elsewhere in the house, but if he is anywhere near the kitchen, all hell breaks loose and I fear for Merlin and the cat flap.
I don’t like hearing cats fight, even though I know it isn’t usually to the death, just a lot of wailing and hissing, but the sounds coming from our kitchen I swear could chill your blood! I think the cat flap suffers the most and may have to be replaced, sooner rather than later.
We worry about Merlin a lot more these days, as he isn’t getting any younger. He will be 14 years old in May and on bad days, he can’t quite do what he used to be able to do. We have talked about locking the cat flap at night (something Merlin will not tolerate. The last time we had to for medical reasons, he almost ripped it off the door!) Hardly any point though, for most of the fights happen during the day. We also talked about moving Merlin’s food upstairs, and out of reach, but the thought of Shaggy patrolling the house, looking for food soon stopped that idea.
The other question that keeps me awake at night is why does Merlin resent this cat and not any of the others? I have heard that other, less endowed male cats automatically fear male cats that still have all of their bits (I think you know which bits I refer to). This may well be the case, for I have been watching Shaggy when he leaves our house, stuffed to the gills with the best quality cat food. He backs up to several things in our yard and shakes his rear end at them. This, I believe is scent marking and something only entire males can do. This upset me even further, for not only does Merlin have to put up with Shaggy’s presence and attitude (and loss of feeding privileges), he is also surrounded by the smell of Shaggy everywhere he goes!
I am thinking of getting one of those water pistols to try to deter Shaggy, but I think I already know I would be wasting my time. This huge cat, although lovely, is not welcome in our house, and I hope he finds another cat hotel and soon!
If anyone can suggest a solution for poor old Merlin, we would love to hear it!