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Cats Train Humans to Open Doors

Humor by Robert Kirby
Via the Salt Lake Tribune

Anyone who has ever been owned by a cat knows it's almost impossible to reason with one. Cats see humans as a necessary evil. The people who live in my cat's house are nothing more than automatic door openers. Bob Valdez speaks several languages fluently, but all I ever hear him say is, "Hey, fat guy! Open the door."

Unfortunately, Valdez rarely wants to go out in the daytime. Mostly he wants to go out after 2 a.m., when police patrols are thin and he can murder with impunity.

My wife has surrendered completely. When Valdez starts scratching the carpet, she staggers out of bed and opens the door. Ditto when he wants back in an hour later.

Don't bother with the advice. We tried a cat door. Once. I nailed it shut when I got up to eat some Cap'n Crunch one night and found the neighbor's wiener dog in our kitchen.

Valdez has all the amenities -- food, water, litter box, toys, satellite TV with the Playboy channel -- so it's not as if he's suffering by having to stay inside. It's just that he has my wife trained.

Yesterday, Irene announced she was through taking care of my cat. Every time Valdez woke her up, she was going to wake me up.

The problem is that my wife hates confrontation with anything other than me. If Valdez makes her get out of bed, she won't make Valdez pay for it. I will.

Because Valdez feels the same way about dog slobber that vampires feel about holy water, last night I filled a spray bottle with murky water from the dogs' dish. If it was war he wanted, it would be to the death.

Sure enough, at 2:17 a.m., my wife kicked me. Valdez was scratching the carpet. I grabbed the spray bottle and blasted him twice. He tore off down the hall cursing.

He was back at 2:41. This time I got up and chased him into the front room, where I shot him again behind the sofa. He bashed out of there, knocking over a plant.

At 3:20, the scratching woke me up again. Valdez bolted down the hall before I could get a bead on him.

He returned at 4:14 and found me waiting for him. This time I followed him downstairs and got him a good one as he hurtled into the basement, knocking family pictures off the wall.

I found him under the pool table and let him have it. From there, the fight spilled into the storage room, where I managed in the nick of time to get between him and the gun safe. I wasn't sure whether he had the combination.

We broke some Christmas ornaments, and I slashed my toe. Valdez popped up from behind some food storage and spoke in cat tongues. He was soaking wet by this point, but I got him again.

After bandaging my toe, I got back to bed around 6:30. The wife got me up a half-hour later to clean dog slobber off the walls.

If Bob comes back tonight, he'd better be wearing a raincoat.

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