Sep 1, 2013

On Kitty Curfew and Doomed Best Intentions...

Here's the deal: school starts in two days. We have had a glorious summer.  I have gotten up early (but not always early enough) and improved my fitness and back/butt health, the boys have made great strides--or strokes--in swimming lessons, and now we are tired of being in each others' faces and need some structure. They are looking forward to school, I am looking forward to school, we are all looking forward to school.

Except Nipples. He's in a bit of denial, walking around like he owns the place, but in a matter of days his kitty-curfew will be reinstated, restricting his roaming to non-school hours.

Actually, I'm in a bit of denial too. In reality kitty-curfew will be in effect only as long as Nipples consents to enter the house sometime in the vicinity of school hours. Otherwise he will just live outside indefinitely, being fed BBQ from a restaurant by generous and loving neighbors.

The thing about Kitty Curfew is that it originated as the weather was cooling off for the winter, so while it wasn't always easy to enforce, it was at least somewhat doable, as Nipples felt compelled to come into the warm house.  The downside, of course, is that Kitty Curfew is precisely during the warmest and most pleasant hours of the day in wintertime, so my wandering through the house with small children yowling and hanging on me added an element of the cat yowling and clawing my pants in an effort to help me understand the urgency of his need to go outside.  

On good days I responded just as I might with the kiddos--kindly unyielding to his demands, maintaining the boundary. On some days my perspective was skewed though, and in weaker moments I trudged up the stairs thinking, "Everyone is yelling at me, even the cat. There is no way I can be expected to abide such hardship." 

Another lesson learned is that it is entirely possible to speak with the principal, understand where he is coming from, agree to be on board with Kitty Curfew (KC), and subsequently have ZERO buy-in from anyone else in the household. Certain children would listen intently to the whys and wherefores behind KC, and agree that we must be good helpers by keeping Nipples inside until after school (write that down, kids), only to gaze blankly as he bolted outside when they opened the door to greet the day. Certain other household members may or may not have thought the whole thing was funny and refused to enforce KC because they are instigators and like to see Skerrib become nervous about breaking the rules.

Outside of school hours, life was grand. One afternoon we all--cat included--went to the playground to work off some sillies for a while. We took the long way home, which involves using the crosswalk where our neighborhood lets out onto the main road. We were a motley parade, what with me carrying the squirmy baby ala sack o' potatoes, His Highness motoring across with a sense of purpose, and the Littler One, for whom it took a little more effort to keep up.  We crossed mostly single-file in front of patiently-waiting drivers, and had very nearly cleared the crosswalk when Nipples decided to join us, sauntering at his own pace thank-you-very-much, and clearly impressing both the principal and assistant principal, who were in line at the intersection, waiting for the cat to cross the street.

As the school year began to wane, so did my resolve. It was springtime. Flowers bloomed, the weather warmed, a new batch of young birds and rodents was born, and suddenly Nipples ramped up his escape efforts.  Being watchful and stealthy, he began to succeed more often, and I trod the line between "I don't care," and "Dangit, now we're gonna be in trouble."

The thing about Nipples is that he is clever. He watches and waits, and he is opportunistic. On days when he had either escaped or hadn't come home to begin with, I carried a spray bottle in order to dissuade him from trouble areas, but never used it. He knew enough to keep a certain distance from us when out & about, lest he be caught. He knew to bide his time until the stars aligned and conditions were just right to accomplish his objectives, and he saved his best efforts--his piece de resistance--until the end of the year.

To be continued...