So it’s been awhile since my last post, but I mentioned a follow up to Jim’s Skills – so without further ado, here is Rosie’s section!
When we first got Rosie, she was a lot shier than Jim, and she spent the first hours inside her carrier – where she had been kept all her life before the RSPCA found her. When she finally came out though, she got a bit braver everyday. Rosie was only 2 then, so she still had a lot of kittenish traits (she still does at five and a half!) and it wasn’t long before she wanted to explore.
The way that I connected with her was through play. She wasn’t overly interested in toys (although we did get a Cosmic Catnip banana – which to this day is the only type of catnip they react to) and preferred their packaging instead. Piece of string? BEST TOY EVER! Wrapping paper? Worth one hundred pounds! Thin air? Even better, it’s actually a magical monster and i’m a tiger and wheeeeeee (off she goes racing around the house and, oh, sorry, did I knock over that valuable vase? I think you’ll find it was the MAGICAL MONSTER!
Breaking briefly from this story, I will add that she is currently on a sofa across the amazing world of the sofa, and has just recoiled from a patch of scary air before jumping onto the arm and tight-rope walking across the window sill.
Out of all of these things, the toy I could get the best reaction from was a little blue ball I had from years ago (this little blue ball actually came from a lucky dip I made when I was very little and liked to make events for my siblings – it had been kept in a memory box until I let Rosie near it). The LBB (little blue ball) quickly got adopted by Rosie, and her favourite game was for me to throw it, her to chase it and then….. me to walk over pick it up and throw it again.
Yeah… it got tiring! So very slowly, I started to teach her to pick it up.
If Rosie batted it in a way that set it in my direction, I would make a big fuss of her and send it flying back. Close but still out of reach, and I would pick it up, hold it up and wait for a minute or two. No effort at all, and we would stop playing for five minutes. This was rather a slow process, but it led to Rosie fetching the LBB every time. She was brilliant at it!
The ball would go hurtling off, she’d leap into the air and race after it, jump about a bit then grip it in both paws and pop it in her mouth to bring it back. It was our little party trick:).
Another thing we did was practice whistling – ok, I did all the whistling, but Rosie came whenever I did it. She recognised it as a call for playing ball and it became quite helpful whenever she was outside late at night, and she would always come running for it.
So that was as far as my training of Rosie ever went. From then on, it was reversed.
Jim had a bad habit of always wanting more food (like most of the boys in my family), and
he didn’t class Rosie’s food as any different from his food, so he started using her food as a second course. This wasn’t good for either of them, so we moved Rosie’s food into our washingroom / tin tomato and plastic bag storage. But Rosie would still get her food eaten, so we moved it to the windowsill, and she would jump onto the washing machine and trot over to the window. This worked brilliantly, but she always left some food and we had to shut the door once she left to stop Jim from eating it.
But Rosie got peckish later… so she would wait by the door for us to take her in. Yep, her very own eating room with on call servants to open and close it as needed.
Her routines and orders only grew from here. The distance she would ask for food from grew – a MEW upstairs, a tail flag goes up and we are led to the door. Then she would refuse to jump up, so she got picked up, given a hug, and popped on top. Often, she would stand for some strokes and kisses then jump down, no longer interested in food. Open the door before she reached it? Nope. Close the door, stand behind her, wait for her to reach the door, tickle her head, and open the door again. I admit it; she was a little bit spoilt! Ok, she maybe still is – but only because she’s so clever!
Next up is music, she’s very musical. When there’s a bird outside, she has a habit at barking along to their song (ok, maybe she’s barking at them) and it really is a bark. “RA RA RA RA RA RA “ or « BA BA RA RA RA RA BA”. Not convinced? She is also a fan of the art form known as “The telletubbies”. We would sing a couple of line – “telletubbies, telletubbies, say… eh… oh!” and on the “eh-oh” we would be treated with a beautiful little “meeeeeeeew” – every time!
I mean, she’s also quite good at hunting wasps – she even prepares them, crunching on the head and dropping the bum on my bedroom floor – but I find that skill less adorable…
So there you go! A few example of why Rosie is clever:) There are many more (she has a method for booting me off any chair/bed via slow shifting and repositioning which I wish I knew) but I am rather tired now, so I shall say goodnight!