Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Open Door Policy

During nice weather I often leave the door open a bit so the cats can come and go rather than trying to keep track of who's in and who's out. I don't have a kitty door because I really don't want 'possums and raccoons coming in. While Belinda was away, I put a note on the door reminding Bill not to let the cats in. I patiently tracked the cats down each morhing and put them out when I left for work, secure in the knowledge that when I came home the house wouldn't smell like the litterbox and I wouldn't trip over a cat herding me toward the kitchen. On weekends I spent blissful hours doing housework without tripping over cats. Housework went faster 'cause there was no litterbox to clean, no new stains on the carpet, no chipmunk parts to clean up and hardly any cat hair on the furniture. I could even sit down for a break without cats trying to settle on my lap.

It's more complicated when Belinda's home. I work late many nights. She believes, as the cats do, that they should eat at the same time every day preferably at the very predictable hour that she gets home. She feeds then and naturally doesn't want to wait for them to finish eating and go out for their after-dinner business. So, she leaves the patio door ajar. I accept this because the roomful of moths when I get home late is better than cleaning the litterbox and the carpet. (I can't wait to get rid of that carpet.)

Last night when I got home just before midnight, I muttered to myself about the open door and the kitchen light on, gave the kitties a snack and fixed some dinner for myself. For a while it was two cats in, one out, four out, two in, one out, etc 'til I stopped paying attention. An hour or so later, when I noticed that they were all asleep within arm's length of my chair, I pushed one off my lap and went downstairs to close the kitchen door. There was a furry face in the door. As I mentally re-counted the cats I left upstairs I realized it's one of the two young racoons who come to vandalize the birdfeeders every night. It's hard to blame him. The cats hadn't finished their midnight snacks and the dishes are just inside the door. I've never been very nice to the vandals, so he still doesn't like me much. When I say, "Shoo" he goes. But, I need a new door policy.

Please don't lecture me about rabies. I understand. I respect this pair of racoons and, for the moment, they respect me, too. Getting in my car and driving to work every morning is no doubt riskier than my occasional, brief interacttion with the racoons from a polite distance. Still, I need a new policy.