Guy Abandons - Been?... Oh! - collection."Child" Proof By Valerie Gawthrop My husband and I had just returned from the grocery store when a blood-curdling feline scream from outside rattled our front door. I was terrified that one of our two inside cats had slipped past us on our way in and now was in trouble. When I threw open the door, a strange cat - and I'm not using the word strange loosely - casually padded into the foyer. "Hey, you don't belong here," I told the dusty white animal as I reached down for him. Too late. He was on the run now, into the kitchen. Replenish yourself so that you can nurture others Our two pampered felines studied the interloper, who looked back and forth between them and the tempting bowls of food on the kitchen floor, as if to ask, "Were you going to finish that?" Before anyone could answer, he buried his head in the nearest food bowl. "Hey, fur ball, that's enough," I said, putting him and the confiscated cat chow out on the patio. "Nobody gets in the house without a pass from the vet." Not only was I not in the market for another cat, but, more importantly, for the first time in years, our household was free of feline leukemia - and I wasn't taking any chances. The scruffy-looking cat was patient. He hung around the patio, basking in the sunshine and eating the food I supplied on cue every time he tapped his paw against the window. We chatted when I brought him his food, or at least, I chatted. He pretty much nodded his head and swished his tail. He was solid white except for a gold tail and one gold ear. I named him Bogus because he didn't look quite real. He looked like two cats put together into one. I should have suspected that naming him was the same as adopting him, but it took another week of searching for his owners before my husband and I took him to the vet for his official checkup. We started to realize how clever this cat was, and so did the vet, when Bogus nudged a bottle of vaccine off the table. Then he knocked the syringe out of the vet's hand. Finally, the vet declared Bogus healthy except for sunburned ears, which he assured us would heal on their own without the need for a follow-up visit. Like that first night, as soon as we opened the door and let him into the house, Bogus made himself at home. He would cozy up to our other cats, then steal their favorite sleeping spots. He was always first in line when dinner was served, and he picked the best lap to sit on at any given moment. All was well except for one bad habit - well, maybe more than one - toilet-tissue demolition. In a matter of minutes, he could shred a double roll of Charmin. But we're smarter than the cat, my husband and I told ourselves. We hid the paper in a cabinet over the toilet. It took Bogus about ten minutes to find it. Now, we had streams of toilet tissue flowing out of the cabinet, down the wall, over the bathroom floor, across the hallway and onto Bogus's favorite pillow - one he'd stolen from one of the other cats, of course. That's when I discovered the child-safety aisle at the market. Among the handy supplies designed to protect children from such hazards as might lurk under kitchen sinks or behind electrical outlets, I found the perfect cabinet lock. "See this?" I waved the package in a very curious cat's face. "This will keep you out of the toilet tissue once and for all." Bogus watched as I struggled to remove the plastic packaging from around the simple gizmo that I was certain would save the Charmin from his obsession. Twenty minutes later, with the help of heavy-duty shears, I managed to free the childproof lock from its wrapping. It was a narrow, U-shaped plastic contraption that fit over the cabinet knobs with a sliding lock that tightened it on one side, making it impossible for any child, furry or otherwise, to open the doors. I was impressed. Now, if it just worked as well as its packaging . . . Bogus blinked his gold eyes at me from the bathroom doorway. "There you go, big guy," I laughed as I patted his head and rubbed his gold ear. "Let's see you open that cabinet now." I settled down in my favorite chair and picked up the novel I'd been reading. Bang, bang, bang, came the sound of the cabinet doors as Bogus tested the new lock. I flipped the page and laughed out loud as the banging grew more intense. Suddenly, the noise stopped. An eerie silence . . . the soft padding of paws on the hardwood floor of the hallway . . . the thump as Bogus landed next to me. I looked down at the childproof lock he'd dropped in my lap. That's when I knew: I could childproof my home, but I couldn't Bogus - proof my heart. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
(Tuesday, 24 November, 2020.)