Thursday, October 27, 2011

Walkin' After Midnight

I go out walkin' 
Out in the moonlight 
Just like we used to do
I'm always walkin' 
After midnight 
searching for you.
                          (Alan Block and Donn Hecht)

I have a bad habit of anthropomorphizing my cats. I hold whole conversations with them (both parts) and attribute to them all sorts of knowledge and common sense. Then when they go ahead and act like cats, I’m frustrated.

When I first got Truffle, I had to sign an agreement that he would remain an indoor cat. Truffle, however, never put his paw print to the page and when he saw Poppy going in and out, he decided to follow. I tried to keep him in, but he could slither pretty fast. So my compromise was to make sure he was in at night before I went to bed. For a few weeks that meant I was searching the neighborhood until the wee hours, but he finally started coming in on his own by ten, most of the time. Every three months or so, he’d stay out until 2 AM, but mostly he was in by what I jokingly referred to as his curfew.

Then we got D’Artagnan. D’Artagnan is a young cat and still loves to play, and his favorite form of play is wrestling with Truffle. Truffle will put up with D’Artagnan for a while, before smacking him one or chomping on him, but he’s also spending more time outdoors. Over the last week or so, Truffle has been staying out late (and probably smoking nip with his deadbeat friends).

One night he didn’t come in at all. John woke up at five and went out looking for him with the flashlight. A few minutes after John gave up, Truffle appeared at the window. Mama was not happy with him.

That night, D’Artagnan decided to go outside, too. We got D’Artagnan in, but Truffle was still outside. Around midnight, I slipped outside to look for Truffle. I walked around our half of the block and didn’t see him, but a few minutes after I came in, Truffle again was at the window.

So the next night, I tried again, this time around ten. Sure enough, about two minutes after I returned, Truffle was there.

“This is easy”, I thought. (Always a bad thing to do. With Truffle, nothing is easy.) The next night Truffle came in early on his own, but D’Artagnan was still out. I was in my office playing a computer game when I heard John calling D’Artagnan. “I need to go tell him to shut Truffle in the back when he opens the door”, I thought, only too late. D’Artagnan was in, but Truffle was back out. So I put on my shoes and went walking. Truffle came up to me and headed home with me. Problem is, when I got to the door, he hared off in another direction.

I finally got him in at 2 in the morning, after two more walks. If this keeps up, I’ll at least get my exercise. I had a calm, reflective talk with my husband on the subject of being more careful with the cat.

Last night, Truffle was in by 9. He’s mama’s good baby. He knows when his curfew is.

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