Picking Up “Bad” Habits: Tales of Bernie (the Littlest Terrorist) #5

Bernie is growing up. He is seven months old now and bigger than our Yorkie Bear. Bear has a long history of hiding his treats and trying to bury his food if he doesn’t want it or wants to save it for later. This usually means trying to move the carpet or, more likely, scratch one of the blankets from a nearby bed over it.

Bernie is very fastidious. If I delay cleaning his favorite litter box, he will stand in front of it and complain. He has a second litter box which he rarely uses and is usually clean. Bear is older and we layer pee pads strategically around the house. When Bernie discovers on has been used, he will sniff it before grimacing and then trying to bury it. He prefers fully covering it up by pulling a corner or side over it, but will settle for ruffling it up until it is no longer obvious.

Bernie has several feeding locations and he has begun using the placements underneath his bowls to cover up his wet food if he is either full or disdains the flavor we have served him. This wouldn’t be that annoying except there’s usually kibble and water on the same mat. Who knew they’d be such influences on one another!

Other food related incidences include Bernie’s treat carousel where he has to dip his paw in to retrieve the various treats from the five containers. Bear figured out he was getting food. Sometimes Bernie would pull out more than one piece. After taste testing a few of those, Bear decided he liked them. When Bernie next tried to dip in his paw, Bear growled, barked and bounced. Bernie fell over and flopped onto his back in submission. After a bit, Bear realized he needs Bernie’s help getting to those treats. Now, depending on what types of treats, he waits patiently and then crowds around Bernie and takes what he wants.

Often, they will sit around the carousel eyeing one another until one makes a move. Actual fights don’t ensue, but who’d have believed that Bear would be able to buffalo Bernie! After all the time Bernie spent pouncing on and ambushing Bear as a kitten, I thought it might go the other way. However, Bernie usually runs at Bear to pause before tapping him and running away again. Sometimes he will simply tear through the house, charge at Bear and then leap over or around him. My cat is a playful pacifist!