As I start to slide the patio door closed, Paddy leaps out of the flower bed and dashes for the house. “Quick! Quick! Before she closes the door!” he runs pell-mell across the yard. “YES!” Just inches before the gap closes entirely, he dives through, skidding on the throw rug sliding to a stop against the dining room chair.
He gives me that accusatory look and I say, “Paddy, you know I wouldn’t leave you outside.” But that’s not always been the case.
Paddy — originally named Money because apparently he cost a lot of it — used to live across the street in a house with 8 other cats, two large dogs and a host of children. Sitting at my computer I could watch cats come and go through the front windows. It looked like a cat waterfall — three or four cats appearing in the window and then sliding down to the ground one after the other. It was funny and made me smile.
But it wasn’t really funny. Too many cats! Too many dogs! Too many children! Money, being the smart cat he is, removed himself from there and began appearing in my yard — the one with shade and grass and fresh water — and if I wasn’t watching, he’d come in the cat door.
At night I closed that door only to be awakened by persistent pounding as he tried to get it open. Yes, pounding. He clawed and scratched and did everything in his little cat power to get that door open. Now mind you, it wasn’t like he was being set upon by wolves or even stray dogs. Safe in my back yard, he just wanted to be inside. He finally got his way with the help of my friend (and his great benefactor) Jean. It was she who renamed him “Paddy O’Cat” because I already had two housecats and he was my “patio cat.” Clever.
The odd part of all this is that Paddy still loves to be outside — he just wants to make sure he has a way to get back in. Because of the plethora of cats in my neighborhood, I have closed the cat flap permanently so now I have to leave the sliding door open onto the patio whenever he goes outside. He rolls on the warm concrete, then jumps onto a soft-cushioned chair or sidles over to the flower bed and settles beside the snapdragons for a snooze. All is well — as long as the patio door is open and he knows he isn’t locked out.
This is not really a bad thing as long as the weather is mild, but when it’s chilly and I have the heat on, leaving the door open can get expensive. I’ve explained this to him, but cats apparently don’t understand about money. I wish I could train him to close the door when he comes back in. Surely that’s not asking too much for a cat as smart as he is.
But on the other hand, he’s smart enough to have found a full-time butler …