Temerity Jane
07. 08. 2009

So as you all know, I live with a dog and four cats. I like the dog, I don’t care for the cats.

One of the cats, oddly the biggest and fattest one, is some kind of ninja-speed freak-stealth cat. When we go in and out to the patio in the back, she tries to get out the sliding door. When I first got here, she’d get out probably 3 out of every 5 times that I went outside. It’s defeating when it happens. I’m so careful and I’m so careful… and then she runs right between my legs and makes a fool out of me.

In recent weeks, however, I have figured out the best method for keeping her inside while I go outside.

Step 1: Assess the living room area. Is she around? Is she lurking? Often, when she sees someone heading for the door, she circles around behind the television and positions herself between the TV and the cabinet next to it. This got me the first 600 times she did it, seemed like she was coming out of nowhere until I caught on.

Step 2: Reach behind and grab the door handle, keeping your back to the door. Keeping my back to the door allows me to keep an eye out for any approaching flying ball of fur throughout the entire process.

Step 3: Slide the door open and step out, backwards, with one foot. Keeping one foot inside the house allows for cat nudging when she inevitably approaches the door, looking for her opening.

Step 4: Convince the dog to come OUT while waving a foot at the cat to keep her IN. This point can be tricky, for there is a second cat who makes only the very occasional bid for freedom. At this point, she will often be hanging around the door as well, and you never know if this is going to be the day she decides to come out. Now, when the first cat comes out, she runs under the grill and directly to the edge of the patio to eat grass. She’s always swooped back up by someone within seconds and is carried peacefully back inside. The second cat, however, has no such specific goals and never goes back inside easily. How she finds something to hook her claws into on a cement patio, I’ll never know. Anyway, so I’ve got the door open JUST wide enough for the dog to come out, with one foot on the ground outside and the other leg inside the door, waving at the two cats and providing nudges as needed, hand still on the door handle for a quick slide as soon as the dog exits.

Step 5: Extricate the dog, slide door shut. Victory.

This new method works every single time. Except for a couple of days ago.

Step 1 went fine. The area was largely clear of cats, and the fat cat wasn’t making any attempt to conceal herself. She was loitering by the door, though.

Step 2, no problems.

Step 3, looking golden.

It’s at Step 4 where things went horribly wrong.

Somehow, while trying to coax the dog out and keep the cat in, I lost my balance on the leg that I was standing on, the one outside the door. The other leg, my left one, was, if you will recall, raised and waving at the cat on the inside.

When I lost my balance and started to fall, my hand was still holding the door handle, so of course I instinctively directed weight that way in order to regain my equilibrium.

Unfortunately, we are talking about a sliding glass door here, to when I threw my weight into that hand, the door slid shut. On my leg. My raised leg. I closed my knee full force in the sliding glass door.

By that time, my weight was already unstoppably moving to the left, where there was no leg to catch me, as it was trapped in the glass door.

I fell over the other way, sliding down the stucco’d wall with my bare upper arm and elbow and went crashing into the dog bowls with the small of my back.

In the space of about 3 seconds, I managed a 360 degree injury.

The cat, being so startled, amazed and frankly, I think a bit admiring of my balletic moves, did indeed stay in the house, so I suppose this one cannot be called a complete failure.

20 responses to “One of my more special moments.”

  1. Why do you not just let the cats out? I have never tried to keep the cat from going out, as a matter of fact, I dislike the cat so much I try to keep it outside, but people in my family keep letting her back in.

  2. TJ says:

    Because they’re inside cats. They stay inside.

  3. Louise says:

    I don’t know if its any use to you but growing up we had both an indoor cat (semi-blind from a young age so not allowed out) and a dog who, unlike most dogs I’ve ever met, seemed to be incapable of learning to come back when called (it may have been genetic as other pups from the same litter grew up to do the same thing in different families and parts of the country!). Her favourite trick when let out was to run to a nearby field and roll in cow manure and she had very little road sense! With children’s ability to keep pets in being slight, my parents came up with the air lock technique. Admittedly it was easy for us as we had a double door on our house (ie a porch) but I’m sure it could be adapted. Both doors were kept shut at all times, unless you were going in or out, at which point we were allowed to open them, BUT ONLY ONE AT A TIME. This meant if the dog (or occasionally the cat) made a bid for freedom, they only got into the porch, from where it was easy to retrieve them.

  4. E says:

    OUCH! The pain, the humility! You, my friend, are in need of some Ben & Jerry’s. go ahead, I insist!

  5. Ale says:

    Ah yes, the cat saga. Our cat is of the indoor variety and yet I try often to get it to run away. She sniffs the fresh air and I open the door wide and tell her, “go ahead, frolic in freedom.” She turns away from the door and remains our cat yet another day. /sigh

    I also try to give her away to friends and family – no takers yet. She is 12 yrs now. She is very healthy and I have this sinking feeling she will be one of those rare cats who live extended lives out of spite.

    Of course, I am the one who make sure she has tags and a collar, so I must not mind her that much. Either that or guilt.

  6. Grimmtooth says:

    I have an alternative plan which may or may not work out for you.

    1) Pick up the cat. If the cat runs away into another room, you’re golden.

    2) Get dog out.

    3) Step outside.

    4) Toss cat back in

    5) Close door.

    I fully recognize that cats often don’t want to be picked up, and in fact I’d never get this to work with mine, but I’ve also noticed other people have far better luck than I in this regard.

  7. Ellie says:

    Step 1: Wait for thunderstorm with lightning and tons of rain.
    Step 2: Let cats out.
    Step 3: Hold door open as the come running inside scared.
    Step 4: Never have to worry about them going out again.

  8. Ouch, TJ. Hope you’re not hurt too badly?

    No sliding glass doors or yard in apartment life, but one of our three cats does occasionally bolt for the door.

    We have a modified “airlock” system…you enter the apartment through the kitchen, and none of the cats are allowed into the kitchen. They know this, they stop where the carpet stops. In fact, they are so well trained now that if you physically carry one to the kitchen, he or she will return to carpeted area.

    That said, one miscreant occasionally sits at the edge of the carpet and tries to TIME the span between grocery drops during a multi-car trip. Fortunately, once when she bolted, she thought I was the only human and didn’t count on my wife blockading her just beyond the portal.

    Unfortunately she did once vanish when my wife wasn’t home but my old college buddy was…the day before my wedding. I don’t recommend added stress for that day.

    To the commenter who advocated letting the cats out, I grew up with primarily “outdoor” cats whose indoor space was limited to selected areas. However, when adopting felines our research revealed that you have to prepare for a whole different set of diseases and provide a different diet if you plan to let your cats out of doors. Cats can be outside critters, but cats raised as “indoor” cats are woefully unprepared for the wider world.

    For one of our adoptions, we had to sign a contract stating we would never make her and outdoor cat due to the higher mortality rates.

  9. Chris says:

    As I have always tried to figure out is why you guys dont want the cats outside. That said the best suggestion I can offer is use the water bottle of death when going outside. when you see a cat decide to position themselves in a place to bolt for the door squirt them several times. Trust me it works for dog, cats, and kids :D.

  10. Palladiamors says:

    I don’t really understand how people can not like cat’s. Its honestly like saying you don’t like PEOPLE. There are so many different kinds of cats with so many personalities out there that your bound to find at least one that you like. Part of the problem is, they have to like you, too.

  11. BlueTiger says:

    Palla – I don’t like people. Sure, specific people yes, but People no. I do like cats and dogs though. In general.

    TJ – that was one spectacular injury-sequence, hope it won’t leave any lasting marks.

  12. Chris:

    I’ve read a lot of statistics on mortality of outdoor cats vs longevity of indoor cats. Forget about those. I’m going to give you my own personal statistics.

    Growing up, we had cats off and on. Here’s what happened to each:

    -Bailey, died of worms as a tiny kitten. Never had the chance to be indoor or outdoor.

    -Jungle, outdoor cat, killed by a dog. (A cop brought her to me in a paper dog and then lectured me about the dog getting out while he was standing in the doorway.)

    Jungle’s Kittens:
    -Sunshine, outdoor cat, killed by a car.
    -Midnight, outdoor cat, killed by a car.
    -Checkers, adopted by our cousins, became indoor cat, lived at least 7 years by the last time I’d seen her.

    -Tasha, outdoor cat, disappeared, either lost or killed

    -Max, outdoor cat when my parents and grand parents lived on a huge park in the Ozarks, disappeared, either lost or killed

    100% either died or disappeared.

    As an adult, I’ve adopted three indoor cats. They’ve already lasted longer than most of my childhood companions. 100% survival rate.

    …that’s why I don’t let them outside.

  13. That was supposed to say “cop brought her to me in a paper BAG” not “paper dog”. I hate interfaces that don’t let you edit.

  14. Vronak says:

    Imagine what the cat would say if it blogged, lol.

  15. Palladiamors says:

    Jason ((Funny, that’s my name too)) I had a similar experience. Indoor cats tend to live far longer then outdoor cats, and personally, I am very fond of my cats. At current we do have some outdoor cats that are topping ten years old now, though the state introducing coyotes into the wild around the mountains is starting to make some of our cats disappear.

    Course, we do have about twenty cats now. It’ll take them a while, and me and Mr. Shotgun have a few things to say if we ever catch those stupid things.

  16. Catastrophe says:

    @Vronak

    Hey internets,

    So today, I continued with my plan of world domination, but first I had to get out the house.

    I lured my pet human into a false sense of security by chilling out round near the shineybox stand.

    My human opened the sliding invisible shieldwall and I could feel the breaze of freedom on my whiskers… this way MY time.

    As I went to carry out the second part of my plan (dart through the humans legs) my human did something unexpected – I think shes been to a ninja class of some sort… this was spectacular.

    She begun to do a flip like maneuver, slamming the shieldwall shut while balancing on one leg, taunting me by keeping one foot in the gap, flipping the “V” toes then continued to slide outside up against the wall so I couldn’t see her.

    Clearly by this point I was not going to try to get out as I could tell this was a trap.

    You may of won the battle human, but you have not won the war!

    Until next time my feline fellows.

  17. Vronak says:

    @Catastrophe
    lol, thanks

  18. Aboo says:

    I soooo wish your cat had a facebook account. You know it’d have pictures and much mockery.

  19. Patti says:

    Squirt bottle.

    Go outside. Position a Temerity Jane. Open door. Fire at will. Repeat. Several times.
    End result. Happy Jane

  20. Patti says:

    Hmmm….fire at will…did I mention a SQUIRT BOTTLE. Geez…comment fail.

    Slinks away and DIES