Cat defies moat to wake up owner

August 21, 2014 • 2:28 pm

Anybody who has ever been on a cat’s staff knows that the animal’s scheduled breakfast time is at least two hours before yours. And they’re not shy about telling you, either. Who hasn’t tried a variety of wiles to outwit cats who jump on your chest at 5 a.m., knock things off your nightstand, or bang at the door, caterwauling?

One devious cat staffer even built a moat outside the bedroom door, thinking that the watery trough would deter his moggie.  That’s a laugh!

After the moat was defeated, the staff did some research. As the YouTube notes say:

I wanted to know how Mulder was defeating the “moat” this time, so I set up a camera and returned to bed.

Cat FTW! The same cat, Mulder, is even more devious here:
h/t: Roo

29 thoughts on “Cat defies moat to wake up owner

    1. Yeah that’s great. But I gotta ask – if you’re going to own a cat, do you honestly think you’re going to keep it out of anywhere it wants to go?

      I’ve kept cats out of places, but only by training (i.e., positive and negative reinforcement). I’ve never attempted to keep a cat out of a room ‘just because’, because what’s the point of that?

    2. That sigh reminded me of the guy (Simon?) in the Simon’s Cat cartoons or me every time my cat decides to stand in front of my monitor.

  1. I’ve had many cats and they have always had free access to food, so this has never been a problem; they eat when they want/need. I know for some cats this is a problem, as they tend to gorge themselves with food and become very fat, but most cats actually are very restrained and quite able to eat only what they need, if they are brought up with access to food all the time.

    1. You have obviously never had a Burmese. They are the Labradors of the cat world and will eat till they can bare arise from the couch. My Ragdoll is a more restrained eater but the other two are bottomless pits and Chairman Meow is going to have to go on a diet very shortly.

      1. I had a Siamese that we left food out for, but he hated to eat by himself so he would come and get me in the morning (by attacking my toes as I stumbled toward the bathroom) in order to get me to watch him eat.

      2. In grad school we had a very lovable cat for whom we had a “sweet 16” (when he passed 16 lbs), a “coming of age” (when he passed 18 lbs), and a “maturity” party (when he hit 21 lbs).
        You know those giant rubbermaid containers in which you can keep 40 lb of dog food? He could open them. He’d first get on top and pull one side of the lid up. Then he’d get down on the ground, reach up, and pull the entire container down, spilling food everywhere.

        We also tried the timed cat feeders. Didn’t work. He’d bat them around the room until they broke open.

        Having said that, it was hard to be mad at him. He started out a stray/abused cat, and was extroadinarily lovable. Would literally climb up your chest and put both paws around your neck and purr into you, because he loved human contact. I put his purr on my answering machine and got many “oh my god what is that incredible noise” messages. 🙂

      1. I’ve seen cats open doors with round knobs by hanging from the knob by their two front paws, pads in contact with the knob, and swinging back and forth like a pendulum until the knob rotates enough to open.

    1. Needs those big door knobs that you can never open unless there is a plastic thingy over it. I call those “stupid man door knobs”.

  2. He’s going to need a considerably bigger moat. Ironically in providing the cat a platform from which to reach the doorknob he seems to have made it easier for Mulder to reach rather than harder.

    1. Definitely – I’m thinking that if the subject can get between your ‘moat’ and the thing you don’t want opened – then back to the drawing board on what constitutes a ‘moat’.

  3. My next door neighbour had a d*g. A hunting d*g Irish red setter, which figured out the back door handle similar to the ones in the video. So my next door neighbour added a latch to the door. D*g watched figured out how to work both at the same time, only way to stop it was to put a shelf on the door preventing him from hitting both at the same time.
    He also figured out how to get out of his enclosure which had ten feet walls by studying how the cats got out.

  4. You can buy canisters of compressed air with motion sensors. When the cat comes near, it gets a poof of air in its face which most cats don’t like. They’re pretty fool-proof and work well, or so I’ve heard.

    Our cat is pretty good – we feed her only after the alarm goes off. It means waking up early on weekends but the cat has associated food with the alarm (and not with us!) so it’s a happy trade-off 🙂

  5. I have trained my cats to wait patiently, and without the slightest sound, outside the bedroom door.
    Any deviation means no food this morning.
    I like my cats but, hey, I’m still the head poncho!

  6. I am Kris Svenson, owner (staff) of Mulder, and the one who took these videos.

    I’m a fan of your work, Dr. Coyne. I listened to the “Why Evolution Is True” audiobook last week (I have a long commute).

    Ask me anything!

    1. Ah! Well, thanks for writing.
      1. Why is the cat named Mulder? After the X-files
      2. Why didn’t you simply lock the door, as one reader asked?
      3. Didn’t you realize that that moat, providing an edge, would probably fail?
      4. Please send photos and story about Mulder to my email address (you can get it by Googling me and the University of Chicago.

      What a delightful cat!

      1. 1: It was kind of round-about, actually. I don’t dislike the X-files, but I’m not really a fan, either.

        When I adopted him at the age of 2 months (from a local animal shelter), I had no idea what to name him. I was just calling him “kitty” for the first few days. A friend of mine suggested “Sully”, which is the name of the furry blue monster in Monsters, Inc. (since the little girl keeps calling him “kitty”, get it?)

        I ran the “Sully” idea by another friend.
        “You mean like from the X-Files?”
        “No, that was Scully.”
        “Oh. Well anyway you should name him Mulder.”
        It’s a cool name, so it stuck.

        2: The primary purpose of the moat was to keep him from scratching the door. I had been trying other methods (cat repellent spray, double-sided tape on the door) but nothing worked. The “moat” was a suggestion from a friend. Mulder circumventing it by opening the door just added insult to injury. I now lock it nightly.

        3: I recognized there was a possibility of failure. I lined the rim with double-sided tape because cats supposedly hate stepping on that stuff. It kept him at bay for a few days, then he stopped caring.

        4: Sure.

        Some other FAQs:

        * Why not install round door knobs?
        It’s a rented apartment, and also I’m lazy.

        * Why not just let him in the bedroom and he’ll sleep with you?
        I’ve tried. Oh believe me I’ve tried. I’ve had Mulder for 11 months now and 100% of the time I let him in the bedroom I end up regretting it. Every single time. He attacks the blinds, pounces on my feet, scratches the closet door. I love him to death, but I also need sleep.

        1. I let him in the bedroom I end up regretting it. Every single time. He attacks the blinds, pounces on my feet, scratches the closet door. I love him to death, but I also need sleep.

          This makes me really like Mulder! 🙂

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