This is Franklin. Our friends found him all alone on the street when he was just 3 weeks old. We adopted him at 4 weeks, and hand-raised him with bottles and warming pads and all that.
Franklin is all grown up now, and extremely devious. He steals blankets, pizza, wrapped bread, sandwiches (more than once right from my someone’s hand) and is generally just way too smart for a cat. He’s also an anxious little kitty… which he expresses by being a giant dick.
To soothe his delicate little kitty feelings — and to protect his more sensitive brother, and our furniture — our vet suggested we isolate him at night. In this old house, that means one room: the bathroom. Which is upstairs, next to our bedroom.
Some nights he happily trots into the bathroom under his own steam, & settles down on the rug we have for him.
Most nights I have to chase him.
I have dysautonomia. I physically can’t run after a cat. And Franklin hates to be caught. And he is FAST. And he can smush his spine and belly to the floor to snake under furniture he has no business fitting under.
So I’ve developed a trapping strategy:
I get a cat toy — the ball, for preference.
One minute Franklin will be dedicating 100% of his wee brain to escaping from me.
The next he’ll be chasing the ball.
Sure, as I approach him he’ll remember that he’s trying to escape and run again.
Then I’ll throw the ball again… and repeat the cycle. Until I’ve managed to lead him (from behind) to the end of the kitchen, where I can corner him, where there’s nothing for him to hide under.
There’s a point to all this: Franklin is fast, clever, and agile. To chase and catch Franklin is REALLY HARD. Risky, you might say.
And, since I’m only human, my instinct is to play the game he defined: Chase me! Catch me!
But if I played that game, I would almost always lose. I can’t run without making myself sick (and/or falling over). And let’s face it: Franklin is more of a liquid than a solid.
So I make him play MY game.
I use my knowledge of him and I make it easy on myself. It turns an unachievable quest into a task I can repeat, every night, without feeling like I’m going to die. And on a good night, it takes about 90 seconds.
Which is really the main reason Franklin and I get along: My willingness to cleverly trick him into behaving makes his antics funny instead of unbearable.
What’s the badly behaved Franklin in your life?
Some in life things are really, incontrovertibly hard. Chasing cats, for example.
Most things, though, are hard because we meet them where they are. We let their initial volley define the game not just once, but forever. We do what they want us to, not what’s best or most efficient. We forget that we can STOP! and take 60 seconds, or 60 minutes, or 60 days to figure out the best way to get to our end result.
With a little upfront work, and a little forethought, plus a soupçon of fiendish cleverness, you can end up with what you want & need… with a lot less stress.
Don’t just chase the cat, catch him.