Oliver is getting more comfortable being on the landing. He met me up there several times today. Play time is still a little rough as he still associates the stairs with being nervous. But I assume that every time I get him to attack the feather on the stairs adds one more point to his confidence score.
At bed time I glanced over the edge and saw Oliver sneaking cautiously up to the landing area. I called to him and at the same time he heard a small noise of some kind, like an ant footstep perhaps, got spooked and ran back down the stairs.
I wanted to be upset with this development, but I have decided to be glad it had happened. The worst thing, I have decided, is that Oliver gets too comfortable in the downstairs area and loses interest in coming upstairs at all. Once he gives up, and I am the only one trying, there is likely to be no progress at all. I recognized this episode as an attempt from him to face the fear. Although it was unsuccessful, at least he is trying.
There are two mind sets in which he approaches the landing area:
1. With me sitting there he is thinking about being loving and purring and his mind is in a more relaxed state. In this mind set, every once in awhile he glances up to make sure the monster isn’t coming to get him, but he is pretty much thinking about avoidance. This mind set helps to blur the invisible line (visible to him only) where the safety zone ends.
2. When he approaches the landing with nothing but thoughts of advancing forward, his mind is in a determined state. Nothing but his fear and his invisible safety line and curiosity to approach on his own accord and see if he can get a smell of some kind from the scary beast.
Both of these mind states are important for his advancement. I will help him blur the safety line, but he has to cross it on his own accord and at his own pace.
My goal is to get Oliver so comfortable on the landing area that he comes up there all the time. It would be wonderful if he would begin to sleep there at night. Once I see that he is comfortable in the space, I will move the food bowl to the landing. As much as I want to move it now to force him up there more, I feel it would be cruel and counterproductive. Having patience sucks.
I am going camping for the weekend, but Tim will be home. I know I am worrying about the situation more than he is, so I am hoping that with me gone Oliver will worry less, but I’m not crossing my fingers for a miracle.
I dreamt that I woke up and saw Oliver sitting at the top of the stairs.
My cat is afraid of the ceiling fan.