Published in the Rains County Leader on July 5, 2016:
It has been a month since my last Kitty post, and since we have just celebrated our nation’s independence, I thought I’d give you an update on the status of her independence. You may remember that I recently had a ring-side seat at a fox versus rabbit race in which the rabbit came in second. It turns out that I am as over-protective of Kitty as I was of my son. Since I don’t think that rabbit lived to demand a rematch, and since I’m not sure if foxes discriminate between bunnies and kitties, I have greatly curtailed Kitty’s outdoor freedom. In fact, I think she’s been outside once in the last month, and I hovered over her the entire time.
On the other hand, her indoor freedom has taken a great leap forward. Several times in the last few weeks, we have left her loose in the house when we went out to work in the yard for a short time. David did walk in once to find her on the dining room table, but other than that small indiscretion, she seemed to handle her new freedom well.
Then, one day last week, we left her free to roam when we went over to visit a neighbor for a few minutes. As often happens, the visit lasted longer than a few minutes, and suddenly it was time to go to the Senior Center. We went straight to the car and headed out. We were almost ready to come home before we remembered that Kitty was not in the dungeon/laundry room. We took a wait-and-see attitude, and what we saw was that she had probably slept through our entire absence.
One of my least favorite parts of our Sunday morning routine is convincing Kitty that she needs to go into the laundry room when we leave for church. Based on past performances, this last Sunday I decided to leave her loose again. When we came home, she met us at the door but immediately ran the other way. The only thing I found out of place was my computer case. I leave it on a TV table next to my TV watching/writing chair, and it is one of her favorite napping spots. I suspect that she was sleeping deeply, curled up on the case, when she heard David’s key in the lock. The noise startled her, she jumped off the table, pushing off with her back feet and knocking the computer case to the floor. Regardless of how it happened, as long as that is the only thing I find out of place, she can continue to roam free – during the day anyway.
I’m not yet ready to give her free rein at night. She’s way too energetic when our bedtime comes. In addition, we have a window unit in our bedroom, and we close the door to keep the cool air in. I’m afraid if she was left outside the bedroom, she would dig a hole in the carpet trying to get in, and if she was inside with us, she wouldn’t have access to her litter box. Still, she has earned other freedoms, so who knows what the future holds. I just hope she doesn’t follow the example of our founding fathers and stage an all out rebellion.
P.S. Especially for my Internet readers, here is the late-breaking Kitty news. Yesterday, we left her free in the house while we were gone most of the day, and she didn’t get into any obvious mischief. While we were out, we went to Dollar General and purchased another litter box and a bed. Last night we set up the litter box and a bowl of water in the unused tub in our bathroom, and we put her new bed on the quilt-covered cedar chest at the end of our bed. At first, she was very concerned about the door that closed her out of the rest of the house. Then, when we turned out the lights, she spent some time racing around the floor and walking across our legs. Some time around midnight, though, she settled down, and the three of us slept peacefully.
To those of you who are now saying I told you so, you were right. Kitty rules!
A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos