"There’s someone at the door!"
That’s a common phrase at my mom and dad’s house. The banging at the back door isn’t from strangers, but from one of the two black cats my parents own, Blue and Iris.
I have spoiled the young shorthair felines, letting them explore the fenced-in backyard when I visit. They have learned that if they want back inside, they come to the back door, leap up against the storm door, and hang from the screen like spiders.
My mom inevitably hears a thud, then nails making a screech noise against the aluminum door from the climbing and hollers out.
"There’s someone at the door!"
We have to hurry our way to the scene and usually laugh over the black bodies with wide golden eyes hanging from the door, looking through the screen. It’s that look of panic, that look of, "Save me!" that has us laughing. Sometimes they drop to the porch before we swing the door open. Other times we have to swing them along attached to the door screen by their front claws and pluck them off like cocklebur seeds.
It never fails that they act out this panicked door-hanging skit right after we start doing something inside, such as vacuuming, cooking dinner, or sitting to read a newspaper.
We go back to the door, let them inside, and they run like rabbits. We go back to doing what we were originally doing and they are at the backdoor again meowing, wanting to go back outside. Then the routine repeats. Pet owners surely can relate to these funny routines.
Several of these exist at my house. Some involve indoor-outdoor transitions, others involve feeding, still others involve the scooping of litter boxes.
One “Let me in, let me out” routine included two cats and one dog. I was preparing to work one evening in my home office. My dog, Trucker, wanted outside in the backyard to be with one of my male cats, Jack. I let Trucker out. I came back inside, climbed upstairs to work, sat down and heard Trucker barking, wanting to come inside.
I went back downstairs and outside to let Trucker inside and my female cat, Joan, was at the back door wanting outside. I carried Joan outside to put her in the backyard and brought Trucker back inside with me. I returned inside and heard Jack meowing loudly that he wanted to come in.
I went back downstairs to let Jack inside and Trucker went out with me to be with Joan in the backyard. I knew that this union wouldn’t last long since Trucker is intimidated by Joan.
I settled down at my desk again and heard Trucker barking, wanting to come inside. I went back outside to let Trucker in and had to also carry Joan inside with us.
It’s a wonder I ever get anything accomplished.
Now my cat Forest has a shtick every morning when I come home from work. I open the back door to receive a kiss from Trucker, and he dashes outside and down the driveway to investigate a small park area across the street.
Forest dashes out the door too and trots down the sidewalk to the street. It’s a safe, dead-end road with a small wooded area. Sometimes he rolls on the dusty road, but his main mission is tall grass where he nibbles the blades.
I have to follow Trucker with a plastic bag to pick up after him. All the while I keep one eye on Forest so he doesn’t vanish into the brush. When Forest starts to move, I run to fetch him and carry him back to the house. Then I hurry back out to locate Trucker.
Next we embark on a breakfast-serving and litter-box-cleaning routine before I even remove my work shoes.
I lift Joan onto the kitchen table to eat. I move Forest from the table to the sink so he can eat there and Joan doesn’t growl at him. I open a jar of cat treats and give a couple to Jack, Joan, and Forest. Then I measure a scoop of dog food into Trucker’s bowl and place one dog treat on top. (He will not eat without the treat!)
Next comes the scooping of litter boxes in the kitchen and basement, and by this time Trucker has drunk all of the water from their bowl and it must be refilled with bottled water from the fridge.
These routines -ÔÇô from the norm to the comical to the frustrating -ÔÇô I treasure because the years we are blessed with our pets are so few.
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