Cats in the front yard

I took part of the afternoon off yesterday. I got home from work and, after lunch, did a bit of work at my computer. Two of my closest friends were coming to pick me up at 3 pm, and then we were going to another friend’s house…

Just before 3 pm, I began to get ready…you know, the sort of last-minute silly but necessary stuff you do before going out–taking a pee, making sure the cats had enough food and water until I got home, brushing my rebellious hair and so on…

I was in my study (on the second floor, overlooking our front yard and the street) when, for some odd reason, I glanced down into the yard and spotted a big black cat sniffing my flower vases.

“Ooooh,” I thought to myself, “what a lovely kitty…why, it looks just like our Prezzemolo…”

Of course, it couldn’t be Prezzemolo.

Before I go on with the story, I should note that our cats are house cats (that is, they stay indoors all the time…We are fortunate to have a rather big house with lots of cat towers and cat entertainment areas…plenty of space for cats and cat litter boxes and cat bowls…). They are indoor cats for a bunch of reasons, as follows:

  1. I’m terribly allergic to cats. No, I’m not kidding. And outdoor cats can give me bad asthma attacks. Since I began taking curcumin, though, during some periods of the year I have been able to stop taking my anti-asthma medication altogether (Ventolin, e.g.), but NOT in spring when we have some much pollen floating around. Anyway, it’s not that bad, really…Let’s call it a minor nuisance compared to the infinite joy that our cats give to me (and to Stefano, too, of course). 
  2. There have been cases of feline leukemia in this area. We don’t want our cats to be exposed. 
  3. Indoor cats live longer, healthier, happier lives (according to vets, not to me). 
  4. There are minor reasons, too: we don’t want our cats killing birds or lizards; we don’t want them to “disappear” for a couple of days or more (gasp!), as happens with many cats in our neighborhood who just wander off without bothering to leave reassuring notes for their owners… 😉 Etc. 

Back to my story.

Okay, I repeated to myself, it couldn’t be Prezzemolo. No way.

But then I took a closer look, and it really looked just like him.

I had to make sure.

I scooted downstairs faster than Usain Bolt (= fastest man in the world). 

And, about halfway down, I saw it…Our front door. WIDE OPEN. And, just beyond, some of our cats…outside in the front yard. What happened next is a bit of a blur…

Now, the cats have gotten outside before. But this time, I just couldn’t find an explanation. I mean, I’d been home for a couple of hours by then, so why hadn’t the door blown open earlier if I hadn’t shut it properly, that is (it has to click, you see…but if I’m bringing bags of food inside, as I had today, sometimes I don’t pay attention to the “click”)? Very odd.

IMG_0963So this is what I think happened: Peekaboo (see photo), who is now six years old, is incredibly good at opening doors. If it’s a bedroom or unlocked bathroom door, she aims for the handle (she must have been a very successful burglar in a previous life). And yes, she HAS managed to open our heavy front door before, provided it isn’t double-locked, of course. 

But that’s not the point of this story. The point, or rather, the points are:

  1. I was by myself. 
  2. Some of my cats were in the yard (all of them? I had no way of knowing at that point).
  3. My friends were about to arrive (and one of them is even more allergic to cats than I am). 

I needed to get the cats inside as quickly as possible. But first, I stopped in the open doorway to assess the situation.

Piccolo, our ten-year-old male, was sitting right outside the front door, sniffing the air. As soon as he spotted me, he dashed right past me inside the house. Ah, my smart boy! The same happened with Peekaboo who was in the yard sniffing flowers. Phooooosh, she ran past me into the kitchen. 

By the way, I swear I haven’t trained them to do that! Honest. 

Okay, two cats inside. Only four (?) to go.

I was most worried about Prezzemolo, our youngest (photo 2). He’s never been outside our house (unlike the others), and he’s incredibly curious, so if he’d ambled through the gate…oh shudder, I don’t even want to think about it…Luckily we don’t live on a busy street but on a rather peaceful side street. IMG_4530

At this point, Prezzemolo was about halfway down the path leading to our front gate, going slowly and sniffing my flower vases…But as soon as he noticed Piccolo and Peekaboo running, he got a bit flustered and didn’t know what to do. He turned and ran towards me, then veered off to the left at the last second, heading for the low wall separating our house from our neighbor’s house. So I called out, “Prezzemolo!” At the sound of my voice, he stopped in his tracks, looked back at me and then turned around and ran past me, straight into the house. Yaaay!

I didn’t see any other cats out there, so I went inside and shut the door. Click! 

I needed to make sure no one else had gotten outside, so I checked the entire house. Pinga was still taking her usual afternoon nap on our bed, under the covers…and Priscilla was sleeping on her hammock on the big cat tower up in the attic. Phew.

But where was Puzzola? I called her name but no, no response. She’s our eldest, the one with hyperthyroidism who needs her medication every day. Bloody hell. 

I ran back downstairs, flung open the front door and was just about to yell “Puzzolaaaaaaaa!!!” when I saw her charging towards me at full speed (hey, not bad at all for a 12-year-old kitty!). She zoomed past me into the house. I think she’d really panicked when she saw me shut the door a minute earlier…

All cats inside. Relief!!! 

By the way, it sounds as though this ordeal took hours…but it was actually over in just a few minutes. My friends drove up moments after Puzzola had come inside, and we all had a good laugh about it. And left on our “mission.” 🙂

My conclusion: our cats must know that they have a really good life with us. The only times they’ve been outside, they’ve been attacked and terrified by other cats (cats with an attitude, cats who live outside…the poor dears don’t have an easy life, based on what I have observed going on out there…cat fights, infections, etc.). Of course my cats, like all cats, are curious and will go outside if the door is left open, but they stay in the yard and don’t wander off. And yet it would be very easy for them to cross the street and get into the fields beyond. 

Anyway, it seems to me that, given the choice, they’d rather be with us than on their own, out in that big, scary, cat-fighting, cat-screeching world…

And hey, that’s just FINE with me!!! 🙂

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