Thursday, June 4, 2009

Disadvantages of a Cat Door

Our three cats are both indoor and outside animals. For quite a while, we got our exercise by getting up to let a cat in or out. This got tiresome. So Dr. Lobo installed a cat door and our cats could come in or go out as they pleased.

Then a new problem developed. Other cats, who do NOT belong to us, sometimes visit. Once we found a small orange kitten in our kitchen helping himself to the cat food in the feeder. (We never did find out where he came from. He hung around for a couple of days, then disappeared, which is a good thing, since I was ready to adopt him. I’m partial to orange cats.)

Another cat, who must belong to someone in our neighborhood, comes around regularly. We call him The Applicant, as we think he’s applying for adoption. He sneaks in and gobbles down a meal whenever possible. Sometimes he meows loudly as he comes in, looking for a kitty playmate. This meets with mixed results. Sometimes a cat plays with him, but other times one promptly chases him away. A few times he’s gone upstairs to find a fellow feline, but failing that, he’s found a place to sleep until a human or a cat runs him out.

Now I don’t really begrudge a few meals to visiting cats. After all, I’m a cat woman, and I seldom find a cat I don’t like. But I am NOT happy to play hostess to other animals.

We saw the evidence before we found the intruder. For several mornings in a row, we found water, dirt, and footprints on the floor. But the biggest clue was the water bowl. It was filthy and had bits of food in it. Ewwww!

One night last week I was sitting in the kitchen reading when some unfamiliar paws came through the cat door.

Then a body pushed its way through.

It was not a cat.

He looked at me warily, then backed out. I found the camera. He returned a couple more times, but wouldn’t stay when he saw me in the room. After a while, I tired of being on raccoon watch, so I handed the camera to Dr. Lobo and went off to take a shower. I looked out the bathroom window, and saw the raccoon sitting right under it. He stared at me. I stared back. All three of our cats were in the area, but they seemed unconcerned. They must have thought he was a weird looking cat.

Dr. Lobo reported that as soon as I turned on the shower, Mr. Raccoon decided it was safe to go into the kitchen. From the dining room, Dr. Lobo recorded his visit. Even when he used the flash on the camera, the brazen interloper was undeterred. He just looked at Dr. Lobo like “Please! I’m trying to enjoy my dinner!”

He washed his food, just like Mama Raccoon had taught him to do.

Dr. Lobo figured he just had to lay down some rules. (I don’t know why he thought that would work. Our kids never paid much attention to rules.)

I have my own solution. Whenever we get ready to go to bed now, we block off the cat door. Our cats are learning about curfews. (They seem to get the concept better than our kids did.) Any cat who is not inside when the cat door is closed for the night must wait until morning to get back in.

I like wild life. Just not in my kitchen.


drlobojo said...

The animal has been named Vincent R. Vancoon. After that French Painter guy.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

HA! Love it.

One winter's day, about 10 years ago, an opossum got trapped on my parents' back porch (where they feed their cats) by a sudden, fast, heavy snow. My mother went to scare it off with a broom, and when she opened the door, the possum made a mad dash for the door and the warmth of the utility room. When Mom brandished the broom, the possum hissed but stood its ground. I think they said it stayed there a couple days, eating the cat food my Dad put out (Mom refused to go out on the porch as long as the possum was there).

smeade said...

Those are great pics! My mom has a cat door also. One night she was watching T.V. and she looked in the kitchen and there was a skunk sitting there eating the cat food. She said a quiet "shoo" and it just looked at her and then casually turned and left. Animals are so funny. I guess a free meal is a free meal huh?

Anonymous said...

A Cat Door or Cat Flap gives you and your cat the freedom they deserve.

Cindy Downes said...

What a great story - you need to turn this into a children's book!