Published in the Rains County Leader on February 2, 2016:
In 1959 the song “High Hopes” became popular after Frank Sinatra sang it in the movie “Hole in the Head.” With its lyrics about an ant who moved a rubber tree plant and a ram who butted a hole in a dam, the song became an anthem of encouragement for both anyone who was discouraged and anyone who had big ideas. Recently, there have been times when Kitty has reminded me of that song.
It’s said that cats are extremely curious. That’s especially true when a closed door is involved. Regardless of which side of the door they are on or how recently they have been on the other side, the grass is always greener, the carpet is softer, or there are more toys on the other side.
Kitty loves Saturdays because that is the only day when David and I might possibly stay home all day and she doesn’t have to spend any time in the dungeon, also known as the laundry room. She really likes it when the weather is nice, because the exterior doors are opened many times during the course of the day. When David goes out to cut and burn trees, till the garden, or mulch the dry leaves, Kitty runs out the door just ahead of him. A few minutes later when I take out the trash or make a trip to the compost pile, she runs back in. Then, when I come in, she goes back out again.
Interior doors are equally fascinating to her, at least when they are closed. Even though she is released from the dungeon when we’re home, she still doesn’t have free run of the house. Since she is not yet civilized enough to be trusted out of sight, the doors to all three bedrooms and both bathrooms stay closed. She is fully convinced that Kitty heaven lies behind those doors and spends a great deal of time trying to prove the accuracy of her theory.
She has discovered by experimenting with an occasional open door that she can swing it back and forth by hooking her paw under it. She hasn’t quite learned that the same technique that works on an open door doesn’t have the same effect on a closed one. When she and I are on opposite sides, I often see a white-tipped Kitty foot poking under the door. Her high hopes are cute until she turns her attention downward and tries to dig her way under by scratching at the carpet. That’s when we have a talk about unacceptable behavior, sometimes reinforced with a spray bottle.
She is an observant little thing, though, and pretty smart for her age. She has noticed that there is something special about the shiny round things about halfway up the door. One morning last week I was blow-drying my hair when I caught a flash of movement in the bathroom mirror. That mirror gives me a view into the bedroom and across the bed to the opposite wall – which incidentally includes the closet door.
I turned off my dryer for a minute and put down my brush, curious about what I had seen. I didn’t have to wait long. A second or two later I saw a ball of black fur bounce up from behind the bed, extend one white paw, and take a swat at the door knob. She bounced up a couple more times before my laughter broke her concentration, and she came into the bathroom to find out what was so funny. Since then, she has made several more assaults on door knobs, sometimes using two paws, one on either side. So far, she has been unsuccessful, but she still has high hopes.