For the last time, do you want to come in?
I’m a cat person. I don’t have anything against dogs. I’ve just never had one as a pet, whereas when it comes to cats there’s been Nicky, Boots, Greg (not named after my husband), Smudge, Casey, Smokey and Coco.
This week marks the threeyear anniversary of us finding Smokey and Coco, as kittens, wandering around on our property. The cat who would become Smokey ran right to me in sort of a ‘Rescue me! Rescue me! I don’t know you human, but I already love you!’ kind of moment.
The cat that would become Coco ran off in the woods. It took my son and his friend 45 minutes to capture her. Perhaps we should have seen this as a precursor of things to come. She’ll come to us, but on her own terms.
My cats are indoor-outdoor cats.
They are also, like all cats, indecisive.
One recent day Smokey was at the patio door. When he wants to come he’ll stand on his hind legs and swat the door with his paws. I opened the door for him. The conversation went like this. Me: “Do you want to come in?” The cat: No movement.
Me: “Do you want to come in? … Do you want to come in? … Do you want to come in? … Do you want to come in?”
The cat: No movement. My husband: “He doesn’t want to come in!!!”
Me: “Or, maybe he’s just thinking about it.”
Last Friday it was giving a heavy rainfall warning. I wanted to make sure both cats were inside before I left for work.
The scene unfolds. I open the patio door and call for Smokey and Coco. Within less than a minute Smokey is in the house. Leaving the door open for Coco, and not wanting Smokey to go back outside, I put Smokey in the laundry room and close the door. I can tell he’s wondering why he’s gotten the timeout since he didn’t do anything wrong. He’s meowing and scratching at the door. I relent and let him out.
As for Coco, there’s no sign of her. And so on it goes with me yelling through a tiny opening of the patio door – “Coco! Coco! Coco! Coco! Coco, where are you? Coco, are you hungry? Coco! Coco!” Over the next 20 minutes it feels like I’m setting a Guinness record for the amount of times a person yells the name Coco. Eventually she appears near the patio door. Not close enough for me to grab, and not close enough for her to decide to come in. She walks away.
I go outside and she’s sitting on the bottom level of our deck. If there is one thing I know about this cat, if she’s not in the mood to come inside and I approach her she’ll run off. And so I sit in a chair and try to coax her to me. “Hey Coco! Coco look what I have!” I actually don’t have anything, other than patience that is wearing thin, but she doesn’t know that. Or maybe she does, since she doesn’t come. I stand up, she runs off.
I go to lower deck level and plunk myself in another chair since I know she’s under the deck. After calling out her name another 50 times she appears and saunters across the deck, again just out of my reach. I’m trying to reason with her. “You don’t want to stay outside. It’s going to rain.”
As I’m invoking logic, she’s sitting there licking her butt. When I reach for her, she moves away.
I keep trying to coax her to me. I’m now talking in a crazy pet voice, although it doesn’t seem to make any difference to her if I talk in my normal voice or if I go five octaves above. Just when I think she’s going to walk over to me, she does an about face and takes off. Aha! I have a new plan.
I go back into the house and open the front door. Sometimes if she sees the front door open she’ll come in. Against my better judgment I don’t banish Smokey to the laundry room.
I look out the front door and see Coco coming towards it. It’s working! It’s working! I position myself behind the door. Once she’s in, I’ll shut the door behind her. Here she comes…here she comes…here she comes…wait for it…she’s about to step over the threshold… she’s almost in.
And then – darn it! – out of nowhere comes Smokey who chases her back outside.
Why am I a cat person? Smokey is so predictable within 30 seconds he’s back at the patio door waiting to come back in.
As for Coco, do they make umbrellas for cats?