Teaching an old cat new tricks
Eight years ago when Strider showed up
sick and wet in our barn, he would have been
diagnosed with PTSD had he been human. It took years of tiptoeing down
the hallway for Mark to prevent our younger cat from running away every
time the man of the house entered the room.
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And yet...slowly but
surely our lost cat has begun to bloom. First he learned to raise a paw
on command when Mark offered a treat. He'd sit on my lap and pur more
deeply than any cat ever has before. And this year, he learned another
new trick --- catching voles.
In the past, Huckleberry has been the hunter
in the family. Where we live, this is actually a very good thing since
mice try to move into the house every fall and the garden is full of
rodents that nibble on our crops. But this year, Huckleberry didn't
kill his offerings. Instead, time after time, he brought them through
the cat door alive...and let them go.
I growled and
complained, but then I realized that our more complacent cat had merely
decided Strider was finally ready to expand his repertoire. Sure
enough, soon after that final chipmunk had been recaptured, Strider
began bringing in voles and consuming them down to the guts, including
one massive specimen bigger than any I'd ever seen before.
An online calculator
suggests Strider will be turning 48 shortly in human years, definitely
no spring chicken. The moral of the story? Whether or not you can teach
an old dog new tricks, that rule doesn't apply to cats. Cats, like
people, keep growing and changing with every day they spend on this