Saturday, September 29, 2007

Beowulf Rings "Dinner Bell" for Service

It's hard for us humans to train cats, but it's not as hard for them to train us! Beowulf has trained me to come when called and to give him more kibble.

He will go into the kitchen, stand on top of the litterbox and meow at the top of his lungs. If I don't respond to his meowing in short order, he will start banging the litter scoop, which sits tightly in between the litterbox and the garbage can. We call this "ringing the dinner bell" for service. If I don't respond to his banging of the scoop, he'll swat the scoop onto the floor, causing me to go into the kitchen, pick it up, and throw him more kibble while I'm there.

He'll do this even when he has plenty of kibble in the bowl, so maybe it's not about kibble but about attention. I'm not sure. A few times he has called when he wants fresh water or the litterbox to be cleaned, but usually it's for kibble.

I'd like to get him to stop this practice, but I'm not sure how. I could move the scoop, but I'm not sure where I'd put it and frankly, if it weren't the scoop, he'd find another way of calling for service. Maybe I should just accept the call.


Hot(M)BC said...

hehehe It's so easy to train humans. Way to go!

Hilda said...

What an adorable face he has!

Alan B. said...

That is hilarious!! Cats can be SO darn creative when they want something - especially food. I recently invested in an automatic cat feeder that has made our relationship (me and my cat's, that is) much less adversarial when it comes to food. The begging was getting really bad, and I couldn't blame him since my schedule can get kind of crazy. The unit I got is called the Perfect Petfeeder and it is very solid and well made. It's more expensive, but everything else out there looked very cheap and had a good deal of bad customer feedback. Just thought you might want to consider something like this for your "scoop tapper". I sure don't miss being summoned constantly for dinner.

Really enjoy your blog,


The Ginger Darlings said...

In the summer our woman gets up with the light and then She feeds us. In the autumn and winter She gets later and later. We scratch at the door to wake Her up and if that does not work Pixie will ask the dog to bark. Then She stumbles out of bed bleary eyed and puts too much food in our bowls while She makes coffee.
But we have never managed to train a man! So, hats off to Beowulf for having a wonderful name and a fantastic act!
She does make us work for Her though! She makes us get publicity for her as people are more interested in ginger cats who walk than in Her paintings. Then She gets jealous and moans. But as humans go She is ok, so we stay living with Her.

WereBear said...

You know that saying... dogs have owners, cats have staff!

I've enjoyed your blog so much. Especially your openness about coming to cats as a Newbie, and how much you love and enjoy them.

After I spent most of an afternoon catching up on Arthur & Beowulf's adventures, I was inspired to start my own blog:

And have linked to you on my blog.

Also, I built a Cat Personality quiz:

and if you like it and are interested, you could put it on your blog, I'd be glad to supply the proper HTML for you.

You can reach me via email from my blog, if these things interest you. Thanks for being an inspiration!

Wenn said...

Hi Avram,
I was online desperately trying to find a piece of cat furniture for my 1 yr old male persian cat - Mao, when I came across your blogs. I saw that in 2004/5 you were looking for a safe/sturdy cat tree. I live in NYC in a tiny 1 bedroom and so am sure that you have similar requirements with regards to cat trees.
i wonder what you bought in the end?
I also have "food issues" with my cat! He now eats a mix of Precise CHicken wet food blended with Nutro Indoor Dry food. If i put the wet food by itself he walks away without even licking it.
Please email me with results of your cat tree findings at
Thank you so much. BTW I really enjoy reading your blogs!

Pampered Kittens said...

We once had that covered poo box. We got claustrophobic and decided it was not so fun to poo in. Now momma cat has an open unit that we enjoy bunches.

Michael Broad said...

Hi, I've just discovered your cat blog. And you're right -I just realized this - my cat has trained me without me knowing anything about it. How smart is that?

I know instinctively now when she wants certain things like going out or her prawns. She only has to look at me at a certain time of day and in a certain way and I leap into action.

I've got my own website and cat blog. I hope you visit...

Pictures of Cats - the website

the blog

Anonymous said...

you seem stupid.

Anonymous said...

Tell all the cat lovers to abuse this so called Christian blog, who hate cats.

Patty Dogster said...

Meow - you've got some beautiful kitties there. Would you like to enter them into Catster's World's Coolest Dog and Cat Show? We would love to have you enter! It's free, there's some awesome prizes, and you can vote on your favorite photos. Meow!

Morven said...

I love that first picture...such a superior look about him, as if I won't glance at you until you feed me!


kanis said...

that's one smart cat :)
as alan b. said, an automatic cat feeder could be a relief ;P


Sassy said...

Beowulf is my kind of kitty ... driven by his stomach and his routines. Is he excited about the new Beowulf movie coming out soon, or does he not have any idea who his namesake was?

You should definitely submit one of those photos to


PR Manager

The Scratching Post Vandal said...

I've considered getting a part time job as a doorman - my cats seem to think I'm pretty good at it anyway!!

We used to only let ours out through the catflap, but we noticed that one of the oldest stopped coming to greet us on the driveway. When he was diagnosed with arthritis we realised he wasn't greeting us because he couldn't get over the back fence.

We started letting him (and just him) out via the front and soon he worked out that he could sit making a noise by the door and we'd let him out.

It took about a week for the other 4 to realise that with a bit of persistence they could get out this way too -d'oh!

We've installed a catflap in the back fence, which they're all happy using, and access via the front door is strictly for hunans only these days.

It's taken a while for them to get the idea that they can't use the front door any more, but persistnce pays off with cats, just like it often pays off for them!

My suggestion for retraining Beowulf would be simply to refuse to play the game. Only feed him when he's not displaying the behaviour, and never do it while he is displaying. He has to go to the toilet and sleep at some point, so take these opportunities if he's really persistent.

It may take a while, and a lot of patience/persistence, but when he realises that you absolutely will not give in then he will concede defeat - the difficult part is getting him to realise that you wont give in.

Kate said...

HI, sounds like normal attention seeking behavior to me. Yes it cute and if you're happy to come when called then great. As for trying to get him to stop, well the only answer is to break the habit ie if he calls you don't come any more, he will soon realise that he doesn't get what he wants any more and will stop. However you will have to have nerves of steel and be very persistent and to never never never give in, not evem once. Good luck but i find it a lot easier just to be their skivvy :)

Suzanne said...

Beowulf is soo handsome.He is just proving what I have known,Cats own humans not the other way around.What would we do without our purry,furry babies? GibbyII