As many of you know, Jeff and I are owned by two cats: grey tabbies named Touchy and Hobbes. [We are temporarily possessed by a long-haired calico named Nala, but she will be moving out to be with her true family in a few days; we're keeping her while her humans settle into their apartment.] I have no shame in admitting that a fair portion of joy and amusement in my life comes from these kitty cats.
Touchy is pudgy, a bit clumsy, sweet and shy. He will come and hang out with me, and follow me around the house like a puppy, but he is not a lap cat. Hobbes is leaner and meaner, the alpha cat in the household. He is not a lap cat, either, but he does make a habit of sleeping on our bed at night, and I like it, because he sleeps ON my feet, and keeps them warm.
Hobbes is the primary subject of my post. He is a cat that is far too smart for his own good. In our old apartment in Fullerton, Hobbes figured out how to open door handles; we always had remind guests to lock the bathroom door, lest Hobbes take it upon himself to open the door and invoke a rather embarrassing situation. Fortunately, our current home has round knobs, rather than handles, on the doors, and since Hobbes lacks opposable thumbs and is furthermore unlikely to acquire them anytime in the near future, we think things are safe for now. But Hobbes also took the opportunity, in the Fullerton apartment, to figure out how sliding glass doors work. He knew how to open the sliding door to our balcony. Of course, Hobbes is only 11 pounds and maybe 11 inches long, so he could not actually MOVE the sliding glass door, despite his best efforts, but it was pretty undeniable that he understood how it worked: when he wanted to go out onto the porch, he would stand on his hind paws, hook his front paw through the door handle, and lean back, trying to pull the door open.
In truth, Hobbes has outdone himself. We now have a sliding glass door, coupled with a screen door, that leads to our back yard. It has been my habit to open the glass door in the morning, allowing fresh air to circulate through the house before it gets too hot (or what others would consider "too hot", since I myself don't usually feel the heat) by mid-day, and just leave the screen door shut to keeps cats in and bugs out. In the past few days, Hobbes learned how to open the screen door. Day before yesterday, I was out doing some yard work and heard a scraping sound from the direction of the house. I looked up and discovered that the door was opened about three inches, Nala was on the little patio, and Touchy was cautiously poking his nose outside, while Hobbes was nowhere to be seen. Oh, no! I ran and grabbed Nala, shooed Touchy back in, and began calling Hobbes. He didn't show himself, so I pulled a trick from the Bad Parenting Handbook and got out his favorite treat (powdered milk), intending to bribe him back into the house. I called him again and made the tsking noise the cats associate with treats, and sure enough, he came running back inside. Too smart for his own good.
All's well that end's well, but now I can't leave the glass door open even a few minutes, if I'm not standing right there to catch Hobbes poking his paw at the screen door and scooting it open. I'll have to rely on opening the windows to keep the the house fresh and airy.