Earlier this year, I purchased an automated feeding machine for my cats. [I described this event in an earlier post titled "Attack of the Feeding Machine"]. Gracie's inability to cope with Daylight Saving Time changes prompted the purchase. Gracie didn't care that her previous breakfast time of 5:30 am was now actually 4:30 am. Consistency was crucial to her state of mind. I just needed to adjust.
The automated feeding machines were my solution to this dilemma. I put a teensy portion of Benjamin and Gracie's breakfast serving in tray #1 which opened at about 4:30 am - the old breakfast time. I put the rest of their breakfast in the second tray and set the timer on it to open at 5:30 am - the new breakfast time. It took a little getting used to, but they eventually adjusted to this new arrangement. Disaster diverted - life returned back to its normal state of chaos. At least, it did for awhile.
Benjamin Bunny is very mechanically inclined. He loves to figure out how things open, close, turn on, turn off etc... He is still trying to figure out the printer situation from last week. Yesterday, He got stuck between the back of the printer and the wall while trying to see if that's how the paper gets into the machine.
Each evening he stops whatever he is doing to watch me open the two compartments in each feeding maching, fill each with the appropriate amount of food, close the lids, and set the four timers (each machine has two timers - one per compartment). You can almost see the wheels turning in his little brain while he observes my movements. I really should have anticipated the events that were getting ready to unfold.
Lately, Benjamin and Gracie have started playing a vigorous game of hide and seek each morning after eating their "1st breakfast" at 4:30 am. So by about 5:30 am, Benjamin wants to eat his "2nd big breakfast". And, he wants to eat it THEN. Waiting one second longer is not an option.
Unfortunately for Benjamin Bunny, the timers on the automated feeding machines are not the most accurate devices ever made. You have to sort of approximate the time you want each compartment to open and hope for the best. Apparently my best is not good enough for a hungry Bunny.
You see, I recently found his automated feeding machine flipped upside down beside his water dish, the top of the compartment holding first breakfast completely removed from its hinges. It seems that Bunny, frustrated with it for not opening on time, decided to try and open the 2nd breakfast compartment himself. Alas, he was not very successful.
The first time this happened I figured it was the result of rowdy behavior by either Gracie or Bunny or both of them. By the fifth time, I decided it was time to investigate.
Since whatever was going on always happened between 1st and 2nd breakfast, a stakeout of some sort was going to be necessary. I decided to get up between 1st and 2nd breakfast and camp out on the couch. The couch is located in the family room which connects to the kitchen. I would be able to sneak a peek at the cats the moment I heard any noise.
A few minutes after 5:30 am, I began to hear a bumping noise coming from the area where Benjamin's automated feeding machine sits every night. I peeked over the kitchen counter and saw him head butting the machine. He was bending down low enough to get his nose under the edge of the compartment top sealing in his 2nd breakfast. Once in position, he tried to force it open with an upward swing of his head. The goal was for his nose to connect with the outer edge of the compartment top and force it open.
Each time this method failed, he became a little more aggressive with his upward head swings. As in the past, this caused him to accidentally flip the machine upside down and send it crashing into his water bowl. Water splashed everywhere.
And it didn't end there. Still determined to get to his 2nd breakfast, Benjamin Bunny proceeded to push the upside down machine into the kitchen leaving a trail of water behind it.
I knew I had to intervene at that point. There was no way Bunny was going to get his 2nd breakfast now unless he flipped the machine back over. The top was being held shut by the weight of the upside down machine. And all Bunny seemed intent on doing at this point was sliding it around the kitchen, richocheting from one kitchen cabinet bottom to another.
Hurdling the streaks of water making my kitchen floor resemble a slip 'n slide, I retrieved the feeding machine and popped the top open so Bunny could eat his 2nd breakfast at last. The poor thing was so pooped from his attempts to open it that he collapsed in a heap on the rug the moment he finished eating and fell sound asleep.
Until I can locate an automated feeding machine with a more accurate timer, I am seriously considering getting my old lesson plans on simple machines out of the garage and teaching Bunny about levers, ramps, etc... Despite his failure to open the feeding machine, he showed great ingenuity in his attempts. He may yet achieve his dream of becoming the first feline construction engineer - unless he makes it as an outfielder for the Boston Red Sox. But, that is a post for another day.
Until next time, remember...
If I had to select one quality, one personal characteristic that I regard as being most highly correlated with success, whatever the field, I would pick the trait of persistence. Determination. The will to endure to the end, to get knocked down seventy times and get up off the floor saying. “Here comes number seventy-one!
~ Richard M. Devos