Saturday, February 18, 2012

Barnard's journey continues

Back on January 28, I shared that Barnard had dared to enter the house one morning as Ulani went out.  Since then, Barnard's brief visits have become more frequent.  But she only stayed a few minutes before growing uneasy and standing at the door to depart.

Well, this past week things changed.

It  began in the middle of the night in the middle of the week.  I was having trouble sleeping, tossing and turning and worrying about how tired I would be in the morning.  Around 1:30 I heard one of those awful sounds I always fear -- something was shaking a screen on one of my living room windows.  Was someone trying to break in?

I jumped out of bed, raced to the yard light switch and turned it on.

"Mew!  Mew!"  Barnard hopped right up on the back step and demanded entry.  So I let her in.  I was so relieved that it was not a burglar but Barnard!

Ulani thought it might be a game for Barnard to be inside at night, and Luke was clearly disgusted.  But I just went back to bed and slept about three hours until once again I was awakened by "Mew!  Mew!"  Barnard wanted back out.  After I opened the door for her, I got one more hour of sleep.

The following night, around midnight I once again heard the screen sound.  Sure enough, there was my little princess.  This time she slept through until I got up in the morning, then went back to the barn.

Understand, I know a thing or two about training animals.  I realize that my opening the door is a tremendous reinforcement of Barnard's behavior.  And I am not about to be getting up in the middle of the night every night.

So on the third night, when it was bedtime I said to Ulani "let's go get Barnard."  I went into the barn, swooped up the barn cat and brought her back into the house.  Placing her in a comfy chair in the living room I explained "now it's bedtime.  We'll get up at six.  Sweet dreams!"

Worked like a charm.

And I think we've all turned a corner.  Today (Saturday) around 4:30 in the afternoon, I went to visit in the barn and when I left, she followed me back to the house.

Where she's made herself right at home on the spare room couch!


Melissa H. said...

She's discovered the advantages of central heating. Do she and Luke get along, or do they just avoid each other? I hope so. Just the other morning I was awakened at 2 am by Nora's alley cat screech. She and Mabel were having a little skirmish next to my bed. Fun times.

investment in farmland said...

Wow, I didn't realize you could train a cat that way. I've had mine 10 years and he rules the house like a CEO.

Rose H (UK) said...

Oh bless :o) She's so sweet.
And yes, my cat also rules the roost!

The JR said...

I'm glad she's figured it out.