You forget how much energy a kitten has until you get another one.
Our last cat was 19 when she crossed the rainbow bridge, so it had been awhile since we’d experienced the exuberance that a kitten possesses.
We live in the country, so for the first several months after we got our new cat (who we named Cola because her color is the same as the beverage), she stayed in the house. Coyotes and other vermin are plentiful in our neck of the woods and to let her out too soon would have been unwise.
We enjoyed her racing around the house, swatting at her cat toys, and leaping tall La-Z-Boys in a single bound. But, as she began to grow from a very young kitten to a slightly older kitten, her cries to go outside became quite pointed.
She would stand at door and protest in a voice that only a kitten can manufacture.
So, we introduced her to the great outdoors – slowly. She went out to the garden with my wife, and to Cola’s credit, she stayed fairly close to her. It was heartwarming to see one of God’s creatures discovering His world.
After a bit of outside activity, she would be returned to the safety of the house. Each new excursion offered her a bit more outside time.
Eventually, much like you have to trust your 16-year-old with that first time driving the car by himself or herself, we had to trust Cola to go outside on her own.
And boy, did she enjoy that.
The same energy that once was focused on my recliner was now directed at the pecan and elm trees in the front yard.
Cola ran from one to the other; zipped across the yard, and swiped at any tall blades of grass or sprouting trees.
The world was now hers.
But, as all cats do, Cola would come to door every five minutes, looking as if she wanted in. Of course, she didn’t want in, except for every 43rd time she approached the door.
I thought about installing a pet door so that she could come and go as she wished. But, since it was spring and the weather was nice, I decided to try just leaving the door ajar – just enough so that she could get in or out when she wanted.
For those who live in East Texas, you know that there’s only about a three-week window when the weather is cool enough to leave the doors and windows open – before mosquito season kicks into high gear.
So, I thought this would be the perfect time.
I was right. Sort of.
The first incident with the door open was one day when I was sitting in my cat-clawed La-Z-Boy watching a rerun of the old Dick Cavett Show. Groucho Marx was the guest, and just as I was in the middle of a hearty laugh, Cola came through the door – with a huge lizard in her mouth.
She seemed to want to show it to me. That is, until I tried to take it away from her. Then, she darted down the hall and into one of the bedrooms and under the bed.
I couldn’t convince her to come out or bring me her newly acquired conquest, so I went back to the Dick Cavett Show waited for her to come out.
She eventually came back into the living room. Groucho was done and Mr. Cavett was now talking with Truman Capote.
I asked Cola where her lizard was. She refused to disclose its location, so I went to the bedroom and looked for it under the bed.
I went back into the living room to the sounds that only a cat makes when they are about to rid themselves of something they’ve recently eaten.
My efforts to pick her up and get her outside were too late.
I began to rethink the whole pet door idea.
But, her cries to go outside only seemed to get louder, so I continued to try and leave the door slightly open so that she could come and go and I could have some peace and quiet.
Many more lizards would come, and I would pick up their tails, legs, and other parts as I found them. Some were easily found, others were under the rug, bed, or other location.
I thought I could handle this more than the screeching to go outside.
That is, until Cola came into the house with a live mockingbird in her mouth. She ran into our bathroom – where the bird got loose.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever had a bird loose in your bathroom, but on the off chance that you haven’t, let me just tell you that it becomes chaos for all involved.
The bird doesn’t want to be in your bathroom. You don’t want the bird in your bathroom. And the cat is unhappy that the bird isn’t still in its mouth.
I finally got the cat out and shut the bathroom door. After chasing the bird from light fixture, to the door, back to the light fixture, I was able to throw a towel over the exhausted mockingbird and get him back outside, where he promptly flew away.
I went back into the bathroom to see feathers everywhere and towels pulled off the racks. I also learned that angry birds can do their business on your ceiling. I have no idea how, but trust me, they can do it.
More and more, I was less enthused by the pet door idea. But, I was willing to give it one more try.
A couple of days later, I was watching Dick Cavett interview a young Paul Newman, when, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that Cola had come into the house with something in her mouth.
Assuming it was another lizard, I didn’t pay much attention to it. That is, until she came closer and mewed for me to look at it.
It was a snake. And it wasn’t a dead one.
Cola promptly dropped the snake in the middle of the living room and went back outside.
I clumsily climbed on top of my cat-clawed recliner and tried to think of what I could use in the house, other than a 12-gauge pump shotgun, to rid myself of this snake.
One fireplace tool and another towel later, the snake was let go outside, and I shut the door.
The good news is that I didn’t have to go to the gym that day and I won’t need to drink the prep for my next colonoscopy.
The bad news for Cola is there will be no pet door.
©2019 John Moore
John’s book, Write of Passage: A Southerner’s View of Then and Now, is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can reach John through his website at www.TheCountryWriter.com.