The Cats Want More Attention

Over the past few months quite a bit has changed at the MyNWX household. Wifey is taking classes at home to prep for a career change and I'm doing a lot more writing. Both of these things mean we spend a lot of time upstairs in the "office" - the third bedroom that has two PCs, printer, desks, and bookcases set up.

For a writer, this is where the magic happens. Or something like that.

With online classes one has to be fairly engaged while being on the computer, so that means hands need to be free to type and click as needed. This is not compatible with having purring kitties on your lap, which is quite the favorite pastime of all three of our fuzzy little bundles of joy. We found ourselves repeatedly pushing away the cats so we can finish various things. And no, they aren't happy about that at all.

The office also has a baby gate on the door. This initially was placed so we could watch Misaki when we first got her, so we knew where she was while she acclimated herself to her new home. Keeping the cats out of the room at the same time is just added value.

Of course, here's the thing: The gate is only two-and-a-half feet tall (just like this one, without the fancy modification), so the cats could easily scale it if they liked, but they haven't. Not sure why, but we aren't going to go out of our way to show them how either.

Hey! Open up!

Now, instead of coming in and jumping on our laps, the cats are forced to lay elsewhere in the house for hours on end while we get our work done. This does not make for happy kitties. Partially because they are Bengals - who really are dog-like pack animals - and partially because they are cats who presume to have access to anything they want at all times, they have not reacted well to this shutting out.

Moochie will lay down outside the gate and chatter at us, though he - the most needy of them all we thought - actually handles this better than the other two. He ends up taking over the top of the kitty tower and sleeping for hours. However, he also is the cat who loves to curl up on the couch while we watch football. With less football watched this season he now aggressively demands attention anytime we do sit on the couch. With his strong claws we always put down a blanket layer and many times now he doesn't want to wait for it. And he doesn't sit still, pushing into our face for petting (and sometimes at the expense of a plate of food - calm down boy!).

Sera is a little more needy, she who would like us to think nothing ever bothers her. She will come to the gate, mew once, and wait. If we fail to let her in she mews again, louder. This will go on until she yells or we let her in. See, the gate is a great idea, but it's not soundproof; with our kitties soundproof should be a requirement. When Sera comes in the only place she wants to be is Wifey's lap.

Lilo becomes very angry. She doesn't ask to be let into the office - she demands it. Her demands aren't quiet like Sera's, but instead start angry and get angrier. Her incessant yelling inevitably gets her what she wants. It would be nice if there was a way to train a cat to not yell as much or as loud, so if anyone out there has ideas please share. Her voice carries throughout the house, so confining her anywhere isn't going to do it.

Why won't anyone listen to me?

If we still choose to ignore her, Lilo will go into the bathroom - which shares a wall with the office - and rattle the bathroom door against the springy doorstop. Yes, it's annoying. If that doesn't work she'll start throwing things on the floor. If we left the toilet paper out of the cabinet she shreds it.

Lilo is not a cat to be ignored.

I suppose it would be one thing if she came into the office and quietly curled up to sleep, but she doesn't. She has to explore. She has to help Wifey with her studies. She has to bounce from lap to lap, to see which one is better (always ends up on Wifey's). She has to sniff and annoy the dog if Misaki is in the room. She licks every single piece of paper she can get her tongue on; raking the rough kitty tongue over paper produces a horrifying sound.

Mom needs help with her studying.

At least she stops yelling when she comes in.

Purr Purr Purr!!!!

Hey, wait. Why are you taking pictures of me?

Turn it off paparazzi!

I feel a little bad for them. I mean, we've always been pretty interactive with the cats, and because of the things we do now - the studies and increased computer time - we are shutting them out. And they are angry, lonely, and sad about that. I get it. I completely get it. And we do feel bad about it.

One may think cats should be able to handle something like this on their own, since cats usually are solitary animals. Plus, they have each other, so it's not like they are completely alone. And they have toys and cat trees, plus full run of the rest of the house, so it's not like they are being closed in an empty room.

This is part of the demand of owning Bengals, though - if you did the research you knew this going in. They need their people. They view their people not only as part of their pack, but the focal points of the pack. If their people aren't around, they will get sad - and they get overly excited when we are back or again available (hence Moochie's enthusiasm when we do sit down to watch some TV).

Misaki doesn't seem to have many issues with this, but then again she gets the gate opened up for her whenever she appears. She also sleeps on her own chair.

Bengals are smart cats, but asking them to understand this is a bit much. I'd like to say we are doing it to provide them with a better life - like any parent for their child, I suppose - but they are so spoiled already I can't really make that claim. We are doing it for a better life at some point (for us), if it all works out, but hopefully they will be able to adapt to our changes.

And we just have to remember to focus on them a little bit more when we aren't working on the computers.

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