Animal Control

I hope you agree that it’s time for an update on the cats.  Specifically, Cat Containment.  We live each day trying to get in and out of the house while avoiding any desperate kitty escape attempts.  It’s pretty important to keep them in because we have those adorable foxes and precious raccoons in the backyard and the first thing one of our cats would do is bound down to the woods to meet their friends.  The problem is, they’re tricky; 3 of them can go from 0 to 60 in one split second, and Helen can waddle along at a decent clip if she’s determined.  So when we brought them home last year we implemented an airlock system; we go from the house to the garage but don’t open the outside garage door until we close the inside door without incident.  We go through the same routine when we get home.

Unfortunately the little beasts are wily and it’s not always easy to shove them back from the door.  So Dan “repurposed” the top of a plastic hamper and it became The Shield, our supplemental security measure.  It’s like a riot shield; the perfect way to shove them back in the house without having to shoot into the crowd.  When we leave the house, we have to back out the door while holding The Shield down to their level, and when we get home we have to hold it until we open the door and get inside.  We are not of an age where our backs and knees can always take this.  Now, just for a challenge, throw on a heavy purse and take a cup of coffee in your hand and then start working The Shield without harming yourself or others.  Given the fact that I can’t sit upright in an inner tube for more than 5 seconds, this is my equivalent of the Olympics.

Every other Tuesday morning we escalate to our highest security level, the double airlock, so that Roxana can get in and out.  We close the little mud room right inside the door, and she can bring her stuff in under the first airlock while keeping the cats safely scratching and howling on the other side of the door.  She of course exits the same way, and we just hope that all goes well.  There are issues with inside doors as well, particularly with our clothes closets.  The kittens find it terribly amusing to leap as best they can onto whatever is hanging in the closet, and then claw the rest of the way to the top of a garment.  Once sitting precariously on a hanger, they take a little stroll across the top of the clothes with no worry, because if they start to fall they can easily just sink their claws into a silk blouse or suit jacket or whatever.  So we have signs on the closet doors reminding Roxana not to open them.  It’s not easy for her.  The cats we had before this batch (who had the good sense to keep their butts well inside the house) each spent some inadvertent  “me time” in the pantry or linen closet, so our original mantra was don’t close anything except the front door when you leave.  Now we have a series of doors that must be closed at all times.

Given the consequences of a cat closet invasion, I not only have to back myself out of the house every day, I also have to back myself into my closet(s) every day.  When I come out of the closet (mom, please don’t panic, I mean this literally) I have to crack the door just a sliver and assess conditions.  Given recent breaches in closet security, we may need another Shield.

We’ve learned to live with all of this because they trained us to respond to the heartbreaking and melodramatic silent howl.  What are we going to do, take them back to the shelter?  I mean, have you seen a first rate silent howl?  Look, I’m not saying this is the ideal way to live, I’m just saying it’s the reality of how we live.

Come visit soon and meet all the kitties–you will love the ambiance of the garage waiting area.

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4 Responses to Animal Control

  1. mimijk says:

    I may never come to visit, since I’m short enough to be a fascinating scratching post, but your visuals are enough to make me laugh and wonder how one goes through life walking backwards without falling..

    • Jill Foer Hirsch says:

      Don’t worry, if they thought you were a scratching post they wouldn’t go near you. We have a sofa for that; they reach around the posts right in front of it so they can do some damage. And you know what an extra challenge it is for me to walk backwards when I can barely walk forwards!

  2. Betsey says:

    When I come out of the closet (mom, please don’t panic, I mean this literally)
    I laughed out loud when I read that!
    BTW, Justin was quoting one of your earlier blogs today.

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