Hardcore Housecat

Until Athena arrived (wrapped in a blanket, at most 6 weeks old and projecting cuteness rays that would persuade anyone to take her in), I’d never met a cat who did not want to go Out. You see, the cats at Redquarters have all had this idea that a paradise existed on the other side of the door, a paradise called Out. And oh, how they wanted to be there.

Why leave? It's warm, and quiet, and the food and water are three feet from my tail.

Why leave? It’s warm, and quiet, and the food and water are three feet from my tail.

Cat #1, Rowen, had a harness and got put out into the yard on a chain affixed to a picket pin, with water available, and happily ate grass, rolled in stuff, chased leaves, and did cat-ish stuff.

Cat #2, a second-hand feline named Beauty, would get out but didn’t go to far. She did not take to the harness and chain, and that experiment was not repeated.

Gigancat. Yeah, he pulled the stake out of the ground while trying to get to “that leaf over there,” outgrew any harness available, and insisted on getting Out. So much so that two people had to answer the door, one to do the usual  people-at-the-door stuff and one to intercept 20 pounds of sprinting short-hair. We ended up calling the mud-room the “catport” or “catlock.” Enter the mudroom, confirming the absence of cat. Close door and make certain that it latched, wedge if necessary. Then exit into garage or yard. Upon return, repeat the process in reverse to the sound of pounding on the door as Gigancat tried to break it down.

Once we let him go . . .Out. There’d been almost two feet of snow, and Dad opened the door to get the mail. Here came the cat. So Dad just held the door open. Out went the cat. He hit the snow, got about three feet from the porch and stopped dead in snow up to his chest. Gigancat froze, not moving, absolutely stunned by this turn of events. Then he began crying loudly, “Come get me! Save me!” And the furry little b*stard was just far enough from the porch that someone had to wade into the snow to get him. Almost six weeks passed before he tried to get out again.

And then Athena arrived. She had a traumatic kittenhood, and apparently decided that, having been delivered once from the Parking Lot of the Shadow of Death, she wasn’t giving it a second chance. She paws at glass doors and begs for you to come in.

No, I’m not joking. If I’m on the back patio at Redquarters and she sees me, she paws the door, crying, until I go inside. If you open the door and she’s there, she scampers (with matronly dignity) as far from the open door as she can get. She likes sitting in front of open windows and sniffing the breeze, she enjoys looking out and basking in the sun, but there is no way she’s leaving the building.

Outside is cold, or hot, and that's where the Wild Things Are.

Outside is cold, or hot, and that’s where the Wild Things Are.

Mr. DeVille, I'm ready for my— Oh, hi!

Mr. DeVille, I’m ready for my— Oh, hi!


7 thoughts on “Hardcore Housecat

  1. So, she’s not a devotee of The One True Door, eh?

    The One True Door

    Cats were born on the wrong side of the door. They can’t find this door again, though, having been shut out in a moment of curiosity. So every opening must be explored and complained about if closed, because it might be the avatar of the One True Door, through which they will pass into never-ending bliss.

    The dark secret of the religion of The Door is that they have already found The One True Door and passed through – it was called by humans Domestication, where they passed the burden of finding food and shelter to servants, and received warm fires in winter, mice in the grain storage, catnip farmed for them and petting on demand – with only the uncertainty of undependable servants and the loss of freedom that came with giving up being wild.

    But nobody wants to be in a religion where the ultimate promise has been fulfilled, and even cats can’t stand to be always content with what they have, so all that’s ever been passed on these days is that they must keep searching for the One True Door to Happiness, when not taking long naps or being petted or playing with people.

    • No, Athena has reached Catvanah, at least until her servants misread her commands and have to be nipped, er, gently corrected.

  2. The late Whiskers used to love sitting in open windows. It was almost his undoing. My parents were cleaning the windows late one afternoon, but were interrupted by a telephone call. Putting one of the sashes back was forgotten until a noise drew Dad’s attention. The next morning, when he went out to pick up the paper, he found Whiskers meowing pitifully at the front door, eager to be let in. That’s when he realized what the sound we’d heard the previous day had been: Whiskers rolling out of the open window and hitting the ground outside with an unhappy thud!

  3. A bit beyond my sister’s cat (of Once Upon A Time) that was brought/let out once. Cat looked around and had enough. Sort of “Big world out here? How about we… just leave it out here. Seen enough of it.”

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