We have an ancient cat. Elizabeth got her from the SPCA back in 2000 and they estimated her age at that time to be “about 2″ which is pretty much the age of every cat ever adopted from any SPCA (as far as I can tell). She was our barn cat, but when we no longer used the barn she figured out our dog door and became a house cat. I am allergic to cats, and I don’t really understand them, but this cat knew how to use a dog door instead of a litter box so I let her stay.
Fast forward to 2011. We have moved more than a thousand miles from the little farm with the barn and dog door. We now live where having a dog door serves as an open invitation to the wild kingdom to come and hang out in your house. Since my husband doesn’t want to have to call Billy the Exterminator to get rid of an opossum (yuck) from our bedroom, we decided to simply have the cat let us know when she needed to go in and out.
We started with a little bell on the door. That worked great, until she decided to play with that bell in the wee hours of the morning. Then we decided to just let her yowl. She is VERY loud. Years go by. Then, this past winter, our kitty had a run-in with a feral cat. The feral cat won, and dear Lacey injured her rear leg and can no longer jump onto the laundry room sink to get at her cat chow. (If we leave her food on the floor then the dog eats it, so don’t suggest that). So she yowls in the laundry room when she’s hungry and we pick her up. (and then I scrub my hands, ’cause I’m allergic, remember?)
So now she’s yowling to go out, yowling to come in, and yowling to eat. She also yowls just for grins. Here’s where it gets interesting. My husband can sleep through a nuclear holocaust. He did it when the kids were babies, he did it when they had the croup and when they did that “mom, I think I threw up” thing, and he does it now. Even though his side is closer to the door, he somehow NEVER hears the cat yowling after 9pm. Hmmmmm.
On the plus side, he is an extremely early riser. When the cat yowls at 5am she doesn’t have to wake him up because he’s already reading the paper, and he can usually hear her pleas for attention. One would think this would solve most of my troubles. No such luck. This morning, early, the cat starts yowling to come in after her night out prowling or doing whatever she does all night long. He lets her in, and goes back into his cave to read. “feed her!” I yell from bed; because I KNOW that if he doesn’t go and lift her majesty the ancient cat up to her bowl that I’ll have to listen to yowling for the next 30 minutes. He disagrees. “How do you know she’s hungry?” he queries. “Because she’s ALWAYS hungry when she comes in” I answer, not so happy to be having this conversation more than an hour before dawn. “Are you sure?” he says.
You can see how this went down. I am now awake. I get up. I take that darn cat to the laundry room and hoist her up. I wash my hands. Now I have to pee, and wash my hands again, and brush my teeth while I’m at it, and then TRY to go back to bed.
I had almost forgotten this whole exchange (because it happens almost daily) until just now. It’s 8 o’clock in the evening and the cat just came in, and he reminded me that he was unconvinced about the relationship between entry and eating as it pertained to the cat. Rather than take the bait, I started typing. I feel much better now, but I fear that nothing but time and the passage of about 4 more kitty cat lives will do much to free us from the yowler at the door.