My animals are costing me sleep. For several months, my old cat (Zorro) has been hanging out downstairs, avoiding YA’s dog (Guinevere). Then about a month or so ago, Zorro decided he would really like to spend time on the radiator in my room. At night. But he’s afraid of the dog and I don’t blame him; when she gets woken up suddenly she lunges at him. She’s never actually touched him but I wouldn’t want a 50-lb shepherd mix lunging at me in the middle of the night either. Zorro is quite vocal about this whole scenario and this has led to me getting out of bed, turning on the light and standing between the two of them while Zorro moves from the doorway to the radiator (although once Guinevere is fully awake, she doesn’t really care what Zorro does). Once often twice a night. Occasionally more than that.
One of the things that I know about Guinevere is that she is afraid of pretty much everything. If I put a 5” box in a doorway, she won’t jump over it, even though I know she can; I’ve seen her practically levitate 4 feet in the air in the backyard when she thinks she might get a rabbit or squirrel. I thought if there was a way to have a barrier between the two, then Zorro could come in at his leisure, Guinevere couldn’t get to him with her lunge and hopefully I could get more sleep.
Since assuming I can train a cat is problematic, I didn’t want to go out and spend a bunch of money on gates or tunnels before I knew if I had proof of concept. So I collected up some cardboard boxes and built a little wall that goes from the door to the bed. It’s just cardboard and duct tape so not pretty at all and right now I have some shoes stabilizing it in the middle section. The theory is that I can fold it up during the day and just take it out at night.
So far Zorro is not impressed and I think the contraption is confusing him a bit. I’ve been using treats to urge him on, but a couple of times, once he got about halfway, he just turned around and went back downstairs. The good news is that I was correct and Guinevere won’t even consider going over the barrier. Only 2 nights so far, so I’m still hopeful.
What major engineering feats to you admire?