Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lap training

As you know, Lily's cautious in a new space. She likes to have a safe spot in every room we introduce her to, and if she can't find one, she'll default -- at a fast trot -- for her suite, where she's got her food, water, litter, and bolt hole. Obviously, it's no good to pursue her as it only reinforces her instinct to head off.

We'd had much success with her in the living room when we sat on the floor and let her explore. If we moved around, though, or even sat on the couch, she wouldn't approach. The most she'd do was cuddle up to this (thanks to the catnip all over it):

How to convince her that we were still safe in this new context?

Wet food.

Lily recognizes the dishes we use for her daily half-can of tasty goodness (supplemented with dry kibble), so I started carrying her downstairs last week directly to the couch to offer her the wet portion of her meals. Behold the result:

"Ah ha! This is something I remember!"

"Hmm. Human also on couch. Oh well, this is too tasty to leave behind."

"Come to think of it, I believe I liked something about that human when we were up in my room ..."

"Yes! This is it! A lap -- and this one comes with a view!"

I haven't attempted to get Lily to come to the couch on her own yet from across the room, but now, even if she doesn't want to eat when we sit down together, she recognizes that the couch is a safe place. And that means she's back to begging for cuddles -- if she hops down to the floor, she hops back up again and stays happily. I think we can call that progress.

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