Tomorrow, Mesdames et Messieurs, is the day when we will be training Louis Catorze to use Le Tunnel. Until now we’ve kept it hidden from view by leaning a big floor tile against it, because we didn’t want him to attempt to use it whilst locked and then be discouraged from ever trying again. So we decided that we would unveil it to him when he’s allowed to use it, on a weekend day when we will be around to fix any mishaps or release the silly sod if he gets trapped.
My main concerns are as follows:
- There is a 25cm tunnel through the wall (whereas he’s used to a cat flap in a door)
- The opening is quite high in the wall so Louis Catorze will have to make some effort to climb up into it
- He is really stupid
The problem last time was that Louis Catorze didn’t understand that he had to push the door with his head (maybe because, as a mighty monarch who commands a nation, he is used to having lowly peasants open doors for him). For those who aren’t familiar with the workings of a Sureflap chatière, kitty needs to push with his head to allow the reader to read his microchip; contrary to non-Sureflap-owners’ belief, the chatière doesn’t open from a distance, not even a short one. So Louis Catorze’s failure to push meant he didn’t get out.
The Sureflap manufacturer recommends getting your cat used to it by first removing the batteries and using it as a standard cat flap, but even this proved problematic as the requirement to push was still there. Eventually we discovered that Louis Catorze would push if the door were taped open a fraction but, of course, word soon spread about the free All You Can Eat (Until You Get Caught) self-service diner, and we then had every cat in the neighbourhood stopping by for a cheeky bit of bouffe. (That sounds filthy, but “bouffe” means “food”, I promise.)
Then one day, after around 5 months of us trying everything we could think of including spraying the door with catnip (made no difference), and sticking opaque paper over it just in case it was the transparency that freaked him out (also made no difference), he just went out. Once only, mind, but still! A few weeks later he’d cracked it.
So it really could go either way tomorrow: un grand succès or un désastre total. I can’t help but have high hopes for my dear boy despite the fact that, in order for the Sureflap to initially register him as a user, Cat Daddy had to stuff him undignifiedly through it as one would stuff a duvet cover into the washing machine.