Once again I have had my nose rubbed in that little innocent looking warning........you have before you both a triumphant Lois - Mighty Tamer of Cats and a Defeated and Exhausted Lois - Slave to those of the Feline Persuasion.
Loyal readers may recall that I recently took in a small gray waif of a cat who immediately threw my entire household into a state of chaos. Overnight my sedate LadyCats, Gussie and Winnie, found themselves being hissed and growled at by this impertinent young whippersnapper with no breeding and the manners of an alley cat. And while they were coping with how to handle this interloper, I found myself cast back in time to the role of guardian of the gates which required much rushing around on roller skates (a figure of speech of course......clashes mightily with my new primary rule of "Don't Fall Down") to slam doors ahead of the little ingrate who seemed only to want to escape from this prison and/or my kind ministrations.
After enduring this struggle for almost 2 months I finally said, "Enuf is enuf....the hell with it......if you want to go out and be eaten by large dogs, rained on, starved, ignored and despised, well go right ahead, Missy". And I dramatically flung open the front door, whereupon the little snippet gingerly extended a paw onto the porch, smelled and sniffed her way down the steps, checked out each blade of grass on the lawn and eventually turned right out of my line of vision.
As I closed the door I had mixed feelings. (being a Gemini I always have mixed feelings, sigh) On the one hand - Free of that little pest at last....no more being awakened in the middle of the night with unholy shrieks of cat warnings, and on the other hand, sadness that I might never see her again and how would she ever survive in the harsh cruel world. I made the serious mistake of saying a short prayer for her safe return. I should have saved my breath and my sympathy for myself.
Not 3 hours later I was ensconced in Crochet Corner in my lovely recliner industriously poking the crochet hook in and out and trying not to think of cats at all when a strange sound forced its way into my consciousness.......could it be??? Yes, it was!!! There at the front door squealing and complaining bitterly at being barred admission and left out in the cold was the little gray thing. When I flung the door open she marched in like she owned the place, cast me a disdainful look, headed straight for the snack bar and then disappeared out the back door (which is left partly open during the day to accommodate Baskin, the mentally challenged tabby who dines and pees indoors but sleeps out in the garden shed. Go ask!)
I must confess I was overcome with relief and triumph, both of which only lasted about 10 minutes when I heard the same strange sound at the front door again. Dragging myself out of the recliner once more I tottered to the door, flung it open to see Miss Congeniality march in once again, pause for a snack and disappear out the back door. I will save all of us the time and strength by skipping to the punch line which is that it only took about 17 repetitions of the scene to reduce me to a small puddle of sweat and tears and to knock it into my own mentally challenged brain that Bitsy had learned how to find her way home and intended to use the lesson to her advantage even if it killed me. Thankfully, now that she has got the maneuver down pat she no longer has to repeat it endlessly. Now, after the return and the snack, instead of rushing out the back door she wisely takes a nap to prepare herself for the next round. And, while she has not forgotten how to hiss and growl she seems to have found it less necessary. There may be hope after all.
Oh, yes......and she has even learned to come in out of the rain......will wonders never cease?
The New Yorker covers: February 10, 1975
4 hours ago