Our indoor cat has decided he would like to transform into an outdoor cat. Unfortunately for him, I disagree. So the battle has begun and I am apparently not as smart as a cat (go figure). He has been outside at least a dozen times in the past week. Every time I open a door, he tries to bolt outside. This is especially tricky when my kid is walking in from school with a backpack, lacrosse stick, water bottle and multiple layers of clothing shed throughout the day. We had developed a strategy where I walked in first to block and then she followed. This worked exactly twice and since then the little furball has taken to darting right between our legs when the door opens. My husband has resorted to weapons and placed a mop next to the door which he uses to corral the beast back indoors. The cat’s counterattack has been to wedge himself under the door so it only opens an inch where he can claw at our feet. We have tried to walk in other doors, but he always manages to beat us to the front door too.
This obsession with freedom seemed to develop after he almost fell out of a second story window. Literally, the cat was hanging by his claws out of our bedroom window. A few weeks ago we opened the window next to his cat tree and he climbed up and lounged in the breeze watching the kids play outside. 10 minutes later my daughter was screaming and my husband was running up the stairs. I looked up to see the cat on the outside of the window hanging by his front legs as if making an attempt to do chin ups on the window ledge. He had managed to completely push the screen out of the frame and was hanging on the top portion of the open window. I am not even sure how he did it, I was just happy that I was able to grab him before he lost his grip. His feet had hardly touched the ground before he turned around and leapt at the open window again. I had to bear hug him until my husband could get the window closed. I then watched my husband hanging from the side of the house while he tried to reinsert the screen. We have kept that window cracked only an inch since then and the little man still hangs his front paws outside.
We occasionally leave other windows in our house open and within minutes the little guy seems to find his way to them where he either climbs up the screen to the top, or pushes at the frame on the bottom in an attempt to escape. He somehow managed to pop the screen out of the track in one of the doorwalls and get his claws stuck in a screen after climbing to the top of an almost closed window. He is like a little mouse squeezing his body through openings the size of a lemon. All of our screens also now look like someone took a razor blade to them. Pretty soon they will resemble swiss cheese and will be completely useless in keeping one critter in and countless insects out.
I think the worst part of this imprisonment is hearing the poor little furball cry every time anyone leaves the house. He stands at the garage door and meows at the top of his lungs each and every time a human leaves the house. Whoever is left in the house with him spends the next 10 minutes trying to get him to relax and stop yelling. When the whole family leaves him, he reacts by pulling all of the rubber seal from the bottom of the door bit by bit. We come home to find mounds of soggy rubber bits all over the rug.
I was about to give up and just let the little man run free until I remembered the late nights waiting up for our previous kitty to return. Somehow I think this little guy would be even later to come home based on the fact that he is a stubborn little shit. Instead, I made a compromise. I bought him a kitten leash. If he wants to act like a dog and beg at the door, I am going to treat him as such and bind him to me with a rope. My husband is laughing at me, but he’ll be grateful when he doesn’t have to replace the screens. Although, somehow I see me getting dragged through the grass on my knees by a 10 pound cat the first time he tries to chase a squirrel. As with most things, this will probably not end well for me.
**I wrote this while listening to Fugazi because we discovered Brody (the punk rock cat) only likes Ian MacKaye’s first band so I’m trying to change his mind. Go figure!**
Mommy’s Little Monster
Every child in my daughter’s class got a new pet last year. This is what I hear at least. I know of at least three that did in fact get a dog in the past year. But I’m pretty sure the majority of the remaining twenty two first graders did not get a new pet. Unfortunately, this is the one area where my kid wants to be just like the other kids and now she wants a pet.
She initially asked for a puppy but quickly decided that a kitten would be a better choice based on the ease of poop retrieval. We went through all of the things she would have to do to care for a kitten and she feels strongly that she is capable of doing them. I told her that she would need help that her dad and I are not willing to give right now but she was adamant that she could do it all herself. I learned quickly at the start of this conversations that all of her feelings about this subject were strong – vehement even. She is seven, so most of her thoughts and feelings are life changing. She is pretty sure at this moment her life is incomplete because there is no kitten in it.
I asked her how she would get her kitten to the vet, and asked if she would be driving herself there. She replied “Of course not. I’m a child. I can’t drive!” I thought this was a good place to end the discussion, but she proceeded to list the other ways she could get to the vet. My daughter may not be able to drive, but next time I leave her at school I can ask why she didn’t just call an Uber because she is clearly familiar with how to get a ride. Uber was one of five ways she listed to get to the vet. I didn’t even want to ask how she planned to pay for the veterinary services.
The problem with having a clever child is they have an answer for everything. She badgered me for three hours. She negotiated, cried, made promises that she was clearly not capable of keeping and batted her eyelashes furiously until I finally told her to go ask her dad what he thought. I immediately hid in the closet and read a book. She may be clever, but she is also afraid to go upstairs by herself. I had approximately fifteen minutes of silence. When we reconvened she told me that my husband had told her she should ask her grandparents to get a kitten at their house since she spends so much time there. The problem with this is she could actually wear them down or talk them into it and eventually the kitten would end up in my house. This was not a good plan.
I reminded my daughter that we had a cat when she was little. Said cat had actually been a resident in our house for years before my daughter was born, and I was pretty confident that she would be evicted the second we brought our newest member of the family home. Mommy’s Little Monster – Monster for short was an adorable little ball of neurotic fury. The cat was very clearly insane and very attached to me. Go figure. We were pretty sure she would completely lose her shit when we brought our daughter home, but somehow she didn’t. She actually mellowed for awhile until our baby became a toddler and was able to give chase. She finally turned on her after one too many close calls with sticky fingers and a tail and we had to find Monster a new home.
Monster getting her head stuck in a glass – a weekly occurrence
I thought some stories about all of the mischievous things Monster did would persuade my daughter that a kitten was not a good idea. That cat was truly a pain in the butt. I shared how she used to break half of the ornaments on the Christmas tree every year, and how she knocked over my water glass in the middle of the night while trying to take a drink. I shared how she attacked the paper in the printer and sent faxes by lying on the speed dial buttons at 3 am, and how she tried to escape the house every time we opened the door. I told her about the time Monster got trapped in a plastic grocery bag and ran herself stupid around the house until she got stuck behind our bed. When we finally got her out, we found that she had literally scared the shit out of herself and had been bouncing around in a bag full of her own poop for ten minutes. We had to take her into the basement and give her a bath in the washtub after cutting the bag off her body. Everyone involved came out of that experience with new scratches and teeth marks. Instead of being horrified by this, my seven year old found it all hilarious. I had forgotten that one of her favorite activities is terrorizing me, so all of this was incredibly appealing, not appalling.
Unfortunately, I think this is a conversation that will continue all summer. I can’t act surprised, I have seen it coming since she told me about her friends and their new pets throughout the year. She is at the age that pets are entering the picture for a lot of her peers and she is hearing about the fun they are having. I guess it could be worse. Her friend’s mom is pregnant. She could be asking for a baby sibling!