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gailcalled's avatar

What makes Milo clairvoyant when I don't let him know until the last minute that I have plans for him he may not like?

Asked by gailcalled (54577points) October 22nd, 2011

This morning I behaved as I do every other morning, other than to not let him outside. When I was ready to pick him up and put him in the carrier (already in the car), he rushed off and hid under my king-sized bed, in the middle.

Then we had five very unpleasant minutes of my poking him with a mop in order to get a grip. Back and forth we went, round and round, sweating and meowing.

When I finally got us on the road, he threw up in a noisy and aromatic way. The woman at the Humane Society did eventually cut his nails, but what a frufrala.

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17 Answers

bkcunningham's avatar

When did you put the carrier in the car, @gailcalled?

gailcalled's avatar

About fifteen minutes before ETD, but I did it in the garage where there was no way he could see what I was doing. I am in and out of that door from the kitchen to the garage all the time. It is the only door I use.

Do you suppose that I secrete something he can smell? We have a version of this unpleasantness every time I have to drive him somewhere, which is as seldom as possible.

janbb's avatar

I cannot tell a lie; I am Milo’s personal assistant and inform him of all upcoming appointments. He pays me in fish.

bkcunningham's avatar

I think he most likely picks up some kind of vibe from you. Just a little change in his routine may be all it takes. Like not letting him outside, coupled with your expectation that you’re going to go through some unpleasantry, could put him on edge.

Did you write something on Fluther about his car ride he may have read?

gailcalled's avatar

@janbb: So it was you who installed the hidden cameras and sensors (and that micro-transmitter in his ear)? What a fair-weather friend. And I wondered where my cans of organic wild salmon disappeared to.

@bkcunningham: I tried to put myself into a Zen-like state; “This is a morning like every other morning; I am not planning anything sneaky; I am going about my routine as usual.” He meanders around until the millisecond before I pick him up. Then, faster than a speeding bullet, he is gone.

janbb's avatar

@gailcalled I can only serve one Master. ( And – yum!)

tinyfaery's avatar

No, no, no. The fact that you don’t let him outside only when he is going to the vet tells him that whenever you don’t let him outside, he is going to the vet. It’s the simplest form of training.

My strategy for a difficult cat is to put the cat in the bathroom as soon as the day begins. Try to get an early appointment. There is no way to hide in the bathroom. Sidle in the door, with carrier in hand, pick him up and put him in the carrier, then off you go. If you don’t feed him that am chances are he won’t vomit.

gailcalled's avatar

@tinyfaery: There are occasions, when it is raining or snowing or simply too cold, when I do keep him in.

And your idea is perfect, except for my bad back. I can’t carry him and the carrier together. So I have to place the carrier in the back seat of the car and then stuff gently insert him inside.

if I don’t feed him, he spews up a lot of white froth. (Plus, he has grazing privileges and if suddenly there was no food, that would be a give-away.)

snowberry's avatar

Can you make a point of picking him up at different times during the day and during different days just to put him in his carrier, or take him to another part of the house, or carry him to the garage and back again? Be sure to reward him afterwards each time with a treat. These sorts of activities might scramble his “vet” or “groomer” radar enough to make your life easier.

gailcalled's avatar

@snowberry: I do tote him around but hadn’t thought of putting him in the carrier for a quick visit. Good idea.

The treat idea won’t work. He is not a greedy guy and doesn’t gobble them on cue. Often I end up vacuuming them up. And this morning I did open a can of tuna fish and pour the juice into a lttle dish. Using that to lure him out from under the bed didn’t work. (In fact, the dish is still next to the bed, waiting for me to slip on it and spill tuna juice over the floor.)

Under normal circumstances, I have only to hold the tuna in one hand and the can opener in the other and he materializes, vocalizing loudly and vociferously.

Jeruba's avatar

I too think you give off a signal of some kind. Waves of guilt, probably.

Those moments did become easier for me when I started using somebody’s towel trick.

Instead of waiting until the last moment to bring out the carrier, I would bring it upstairs and let it sit around for a day or so in order to force them to walk around it, put up with its presence and come for meals, etc., so they didn’t know when they were supposed to disappear.

And then, when the time came, I’d approach, all nonchalant, with one of several possible old towels (not just one special one) and just drop the towel over their heads and scoop them while they couldn’t see. Meanwhile my confederate would open the carrier, and in they would go, towel and all.

In the absence of a confederate, I managed this myself a number of times, with two cats. The biggest trick was keeping the first one inside while the second one went in.

The towel was also a bonus if it happened that something absorbent was needed.

lillycoyote's avatar

He may not have seen the carrier but I imagine he heard it and he knows what that sound means. I had to put my carriers together the night before and trip to the vet or else I would never have be able to get my cats in them. And Casper, my little ghost, could find places in the house to hid where I never could find him until he was willing to come out, when he was good and ready.

gailcalled's avatar

@Jeruba: It’s easier, I image, with an accomplice. I do not have a problem getting him into the carrier; it’s that I can’t carry Milo in the carrier to the car because of the weight and my back.

And I had forgotten the towel trick.

@lilycoyote; Next time I will put the carrier in the car the night before so there are no suspicious noises.

Guess who just showed up to read this page? At least his nails are too short to dig into me.

tinyfaery's avatar

My boy cat walks right in and out of the carrier. My vet is always so fascinated.

Sorry about you’re back. Maybe you can get him used to the carrier by having it out and around. If he’s not food motivated try play or love. That’s all I got for you.

Blueroses's avatar

Funnily enough, the cat who owns me is named Otis and he doesn’t have the loyalty to Milo that you’d expect given the way their names are linked.

Otis says that there are indeed subtle cues we give off on doctor day. A slight increase in our attentiveness to the cat’s whereabouts and activities that they can easily interpret as “it’s into the carrier soon, isn’t it?”

I’m the only person ever allowed to lift Otis off the ground and when I do, he surrenders with a palpable “Oh damn!” and I can insert him into the crate (butt first works much better than front feet first).

It works for us if I give extra treats the night before (tuna or some canned food) that he isn’t expecting. No negative actions happen and he’s relaxed the next morning when I pull out the same treat. Then, I pick him up and off we go. He’s smart but he always forgets this series of activity by the next time it’s necessary.

gailcalled's avatar

@Blueroses: The suggestion about subtle cues makes sense. I spent the morning actively thinking about “not sending any signals.” And I did use my third eye to track his whereabouts.

Actually getting him into the carrier, once I have my football hold on him, is easy. The idea of butt-first raises the image of backing the tail in and then all four legs (and paws and nails) and jaws at the same time.

It is true also that this is a dim memory, 24 hours later. Milo is functioning normally today.

I think the biggest red alert for him was my changing our morning routine and not allowing him . I have tried letting him out first for a while, but when I came to get him, he was off and into the woods where he refused to be caught.

rebbel's avatar

“This morning I behaved as I do every other morning”
That was natural, or you acted behaving as usual?
I guess the latter, seeing this answer, later on: ” I tried to put myself into a Zen-like state; ‚ÄúThis is a morning like every other morning; I am not planning anything sneaky; I am going about my routine as usual.”
I am convinced that cats pick up on this.
It can be projection, but my pussycat reacts to my (not)wellbeing instantly sometimes I wonder if she knows earlier than I do that I will am stressed.

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