It has begun — the season of our discontent.
The rain started falling Monday, it rained through the night and into the next day. In the time it took to scramble an egg Tuesday morning, my cat, Clancy, had asked to go out four times.
Each time I opened the back door he studied the rain, backed up and retreated to the living room.
Seconds later, he was back, ever optimistic, absolutely certain the rain had stopped and the sun was shining brightly.
If the whole process weren’t so annoying, I would have felt sorry for him.
I have two cats, though Madeleine, the aged one, catches on more quickly than Clancy.
Madeleine has been known, however, to enter through the front door, walk to the back door and meow to go out again, as if by traveling through the living room and kitchen, she will enter a new plane of existence much better than the one she left at the front door.
This persistent denial is a common character flaw in cats, who believe they sit at the center of the universe.
A friend also has two cats — two cats that don’t get along. One, in fact, spends a great deal of time trying to make the other cat miserable.
Mean Cat, I will call him, discovered how to open the screen door this summer. After that, he was allowed to come and go as he pleased.
Cat No. 2, whom I will call Nice Cat, decided he would go outside also. Trouble is, whenever Nice Cat wants to come back in, Mean Cat blocks his path. Hissing ensues.
Nice Cat does not deserve this mistreatment.
“What’s going to happen this winter when you can’t leave the door open?” I asked my friend.
I heard a sigh on the other end of the phone.
“Maybe you can just leave the door open no matter how cold it gets,” I offered. “Then your cats can stand half-inside and half-outside, saying, ‘Could you turn the heat up a little bit, it’s cold out here.’ ”
“Maybe I can get a fan to blow the hot air outside,” she countered.
We laughed, because we both know she is in for a winter of cats meowing at the door to go outside only to be stymied by the fact it is still cold and damp, just as it was seconds ago when they asked to go out for the first or fifth time.
Though Clancy is a perfectly wonderful cat, he does not take no for an answer. He starts meowing and doesn’t stop until he gets what he wants or a reasonable facsimile thereof.
His sense of entitlement is annoying, if I must be honest.
It is clear my cats tolerate my deficiencies. I do not have a tail that signals my mood; I am a pitiful hunter; I do not have whiskers to gauge distance; and I cannot purr.
They can forgive all this, but one shortcoming they cannot overlook: I cannot find, as my friend said, the door to summer.
Jan Hearne is the Press Tempo editor. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.