Friday, September 23, 2016
The End of the Open Door Policy
The cats made friends with a new Siamese cat in the neighborhood. Occasionally I would find the cat in the kitchen, eating cat food. I would chase it out, proclaiming “You don’t live here!” The cat got bolder. My daughter called me upstairs to help her with a “critter.” I’ve helped her chase birds and bats out, but she thought there was a possum under her bed. No, it was the Siamese cat. How did a cat who is afraid of us make it upstairs?
My daughter then left for college. I took a bag of garbage out one day and spotted a small possum in the garbage can. He did not want to come out. I had to dump the entire can on its head to get him out, while my cats gathered around to watch. Did they chase the possum off? No, they followed him under a vehicle to watch. Apparently, they made friends.
Not long afterward, I walked in the kitchen at night to find the possum eating cat food! I chased it out, and scolded the cats. I didn’t want four cats in the first place, so you’d think that at least one of them would try to make sure the house was vermin-free. That’s when we discontinued the open door policy. I started shutting the back door at night as well as the afternoon. I still left it open for a couple of hours during morning and evening.
However, there were two mornings when I discovered that the possum had sneaked in before dark and stayed in all night. “You don’t live here!” If you’ve ever dealt with a possum, you know that it would rather hide than run, so it was not easy to get him to go outside, even after being shut in overnight. From then on, the door was only opened when one of us humans was standing there. That was about a week ago. No one entered or left without us seeing.
The cats have always come and gone through the back door, because it’s glass and we can see them asking to come in. Twice during the past week, I saw the possum looking through the back door, as if I was going to let it in to eat, like the cats.
I got my husband to hold the back door open (lest a possum come in), and I chased the cat out from under a bed upstairs. The cat ran downstairs, into the living room. When I flushed it out, it ran back upstairs. I chased the cat down a second time, and then blocked off the stairwell with a piece of paneling. I yelled “You don’t live here!” I swear the cat meowed, “But I do!” The cat ran to the kitchen, but took a right turn into the pantry and hid behind a Dutch oven. There’s barely room to stand in there, much less chase something. I ended up throwing a towel over the cat and pulling her out, while she desperately clung to the shelf.
We managed to get the cat outside, so now we are down to four cats again. And no possum for the moment. But the laundry room smells like terrified cat pee.
I don’t think we are going to install a cat flap.