Over-Stimulated and Fixated

Trail and Gibbs 012

So says Harry, the product of Appleton, WI.

And so believes Mr. Gibbs.

Living at his former apartment, Gibbs was stimulated to some degree by the outside. He and Ziva loved to sit on the patio and take in the sights and sounds of summer. Not much to look at, though…the building and dog across the driveway, birds off in the distance, perhaps a few, small, four-legged critters below…nothing to overly excite.  It was a peacefully entertaining location.

That has now changed. We have moved to bird heaven. The birds are everywhere – in the trees and field outside the patio windows, at the bird feeders next door, in the trees between the buildings, on the roof and gutters. Everywhere. They taunt Gibbs and Ziva with their incessant flutters and chirps, especially outside the bedroom window.

Trail and Gibbs 003

Someone has been fixated on the window. I woke up Saturday morning to see Gibbs staring at the blinds. He slightly twitched his ears back when I said his name. It’s those damn birds. They are shadows behind the blinds…moving shadows…taunting. He wants to hunt the birds, to catch them, to give one to his mistress for breakfast. His mind believes he can.

No, Gibbs, the glass window won’t let you and neither will I.

After the kids and I had moved in with Natasha, she provided regular reports of Gibbs at the window – how she would hear him crash at the screen, watch him jump at the winged creatures on the other side, and witness Gibbs and Ziva staring at the window from the floor…for eternity. The focus of their fixation was on being a cat. Hunting. Killing. As much as I want to see the both of them as sweet, adorable, furry, well-behaved animals, they are not always those things. They are cats, both of them, with feline behaviors.

It was a week ago today that Ziva attempted her first bird entrapment. She was out on the main patio, Natasha was just inside watching TV, and I was in the bathroom getting ready for church. Natasha isn’t sure how it happened, but Ziva was on top of a bird quicker than you can say “bird”. Natasha saw the fluttering from underneath the creamy gray belly of a hunter and she quickly set off to rescue the breakfast morsel. The bird escaped with Natasha’s yell and Ziva was perplexed. And fixated. And hungry. She had tasted the possibilities and wanted more. Natasha had to move Ziva inside, close the patio door, and shoo her away in order to stop the insanity. I had not realized how strong of a desire Gibbs and Ziva have to catch moving critters. Yes, they have gone crazy catching the late August flies at the former residence, but I didn’t see the foreshadow of what was to come in bird heaven. Natasha has been concerned that the kids will jump through the slats of the patio to secure a bird and I have been concerned they they will actually catch and kill one. I have never been a proponent of bird catching with any of my cats. Mice and shrew okay, birds no.

Today’s project involves bunny fencing that has turned into kitty fencing. It’s to resolve any fears about “Supercat” leaping off the patio.

Kitty Fencing

The staple gun is at the ready.

As for the window, I’m not sure how to fix this issue. I can’t leave the blinds down or the window open more than a crack. I either need a very dark blind that doesn’t produce shadows or a sturdy grate to fit over the screen. I guess I didn’t mention that Gibbs popped the screen out the day I left to go camping. I received a call from the apartment manager. Someone reported the screen hanging cattywampus and an actual cat (I presume Gibbs) sitting on the window ledge. The manager cheerily agreed to go over to the apartment and check it out. Several minutes later, she called to say the screen was fixed and the kids were safe. “You have such nice, friendly cats,” she chimed.

Yeah, friendly to humans. Not to birds.

I suppose we all have our fixations (dark chocolate, certain TV shows, blog posts) and there is always a reason to be over-stimulated by objects of desire. In my case, I have a hard time walking past baked goods and sweet confections. I have to stay out of the bakery that is a mere two blocks down the street for fear what might happen if I spend too much time in its odiferous glory. It lends definition to why Gibbs and Ziva are after the birds. Birds are the dark chocolate inside the bakery. They want to smell them, touch them, put them on their pink sandpaper tongues. Gibbs and Ziva do not want to be told “no” to birds no more than I want to be told “no” to chocolate.

And so, my lovely readers, any suggestions about a window resolution or a fixation blocker?

How about you? Do you have a fixation or stimulant that makes you want to fly off the patio?

I must go now. Gibbs is on the bed, crouched low, eyes wide as a saucer, ready to put his paws on a flying object.

Damn birds.

16 responses to Over-Stimulated and Fixated

  1. loisajay says:

    what a great post. I wish I had some words of wisdom to offer; I don’t. A crack is about all I leave my windows open in the tiny slice of time when either the heat or the A/C is not on. Parker is about the only one of my three who has any interest in the birds (and squirrels and lizards) that surround my house. And my kids never go outside. Curious to hear how your kitty fencing goes. Good luck.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Oh, that’s okay, I’ll think of something. I just took a break from the fencing project. Once I finish the stapling, it will be done and I can let the two of them out on the patio and not worry about them leaping off. Maybe it will also scare the birds away…

  2. Dan Antion says:

    Ours are indoor cats but they hunt any kind if bug that makes it I’m with the dog. My wife hates it when they kill crickets. If one makes it inside, she traps it and carries it back out.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Your wife has a good heart. Thankfully, we don’t hear crickets, which would probably make the stimulation even worse.

  3. nrhatch says:

    As Tigger has gotten older, he is happy to be able to watch from inside without being expected to hunt and catch the birds.

    Like you, we screened the slats of the deck after he went through twice . . . just to see what he could see.

    He does catch lizards, but he doesn’t eat them. He holds them and growls until we grab and nape of his neck and say, “Good Boy.” Then, knowing we see what a fearless hunter he is, he lets the lizard go. A catch and release policy.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Good Tigger! Good boy! I imagine my two hunters will care less and less about that behavior as they age. Kitty naps will eventually replace kitty hunts. Well, I mean the kitty naps will become longer 😉

  4. Herman says:

    Mr. Bowie leaves the birds alone, he’s only going after mice.
    I got a problem with dark chocolate. Thank goodness it can’t fly away…

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Good boy Bowie! Good boy! Herman, doesn’t Belgium make the best chocolate in the world…or so I’ve heard? How could you not be fixated on dark chocolate living in the midst of the best?

      • Herman says:

        Yes, we make the best and we’re proud of it! 😉

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I would consider an outside enclosure if I owned my own home. The fencing on the patio is going to suffice for now. That project is done and the “moggies” are out there as I type, checking out my work. Rats, foiled again! 😉

      • M-R says:

        Well that’s more or less what I meant – patio fencing sounds marvellous !!!!

  5. joannesisco says:

    My cat Theo is an outdoor cat and it’s a constant battle between him and the various wildlife. We had a serious discussion after he came home with a bunny. I was NOT HAPPY.
    Even well-fed, chubby cats like Theo have a hunting instinct that impossible to suppress.

  6. I am incredibly proud of myself. I read that ENTIRE post. Given my phobia about cats and birds. I think that is an achievement. That is all.

    Sorry, no solutions. Can’t think. Trying to block out image of cat with bird. [breathes into paper bag]

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