I’m a cat person. Always have been. My current kitty, Rochester, runs the house here, even though we insist that he’s just a part of the family. He actually keeps us running almost on time, even though sometimes I think his internal clock needs a tune-up.
When my wife had a cockatiel, whatever kitty was in the house had to be moved to the ‘office’ (downstairs bathroom) so that the bird could have -his- time with us. I honestly thought this bird was going to outlive us. My wife had purchased him around 1988 and typically cockatiels live about 15 years or so. Oliver lived to be 29. So he outlived the cat I had when I first moved here (Jeb), and was making good inroads on Rochester when he finally passed on in 2017. I still miss Oliver, as does my wife (obviously). She’s taken to Rochester though, and has stated she doesn’t wish to get another bird, because with a lifespan of that magnitude, it’s quite likely she wouldn’t outlive it.
When the cat needed to go to the ‘office’ he would get a treat to soften the blow a little about having to be cooped up for several hours. This became a routine, but when Oliver died, it seemed cruel to discontinue the practice just because there wasn’t a reason to do it. So the routine became, when my wife would come downstairs after her shower, Rochester would get his treat. Usually that would happen at approximately the same time every day, though of course there would be times when she’d get upstairs later, or she’d forget, or something else would occur. Rochester of course, can’t tell time through the means of a clock. So he has to rely on his internal chronometer, as well as gauge what’s occurring in front of him to determine when he gets treated. Which of course doesn’t always work out well. Lately, when it gets to be somewhere in the vicinity of 9-11 am, Rochester starts to get vocal, and make rounds in front of the bathroom door. Naturally this happens on Wednesdays and Fridays as well (my normal days off), and I have to explain to him (in English) that “it’s not time yet”, like he can understand me. We go back and forth about this, and I’ve learned not to cave in, because if I do, he ends up controlling the experience and I definitely don’t want him telling ME when to cater to him.
So it becomes a dance of sorts. He knows that he gets a treat a day, so when he gets it isn’t so much important as that he gets it at all. I’ve observed him over the course of many weeks, and when he gets the treat, he’s ok. Of course, there’s some subterfuge as well in him, as he’ll sometimes caterwaul at my wife when she comes downstairs if I upset the apple cart a little by treating him early. So we’ve taken to communicating about whether or not the little guy has gotten his treat, so he doesn’t get double-dipped. That’s happened a few times in the past as well, and since the treat we’re using are Greenies™ we know they’re not going to be bad for him. In moderation. Anything is going to be bad for you if you overdo it. So we make a point not to if possible.
Rochester is my buddy, just like Jeb was before him. And Tabby, the cat that I got as a birthday present when I was 10 years old. They all have their own quirks and personalities. Even the feral cats that populate our neighborhood and visit us during each day. Cats are great companions. So long as we ‘treat’ them right. *wink*