Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In Need Of A New Screen Door

Today I priced new screen doors for the front and back doors.  The old ones have been here since the house was built in the early 1960's by the looks of them.  The front door has the fly screen separated from the bottom corner and all the cats who have shared the house with me, except for Ambrosia and Nefertiti have used it as an entrance and exit spot - so too, I'm sure have many, many flies and other creepy crawlies in summer.  The back door no longer shuts properly and all you have to do is push it to open it - no need to use the handle at all.  It's because of this door that I've decided to buy new, modern screen doors - because of the door and Ambrosia to be truthful.

When I first met Ambrosia she was communing with nature (while heavily supervised) in her owner's front yard.  Ambrosia, her sister and her mother were having a wonderful time ambushing each other from the undergrowth and exploring every bit of garden they came across.  Their owner told me the cats came out twice a day and loved it.  I thought of my very large garden area with sheep wire for fences and populated with a large and beautiful variety of native birds and made the decision that hence forth Ambrosia would be an inside cat.  Her hunting instincts and supreme skill meant that little of our beautiful bird life would not survive if she were to go out and commune with nature at Spring Rock. Ambrosia was young, she had a little friend in the shape of Nefertiti coming to keep her company so I thought she'd adjust to the rugged life of only having carpet under her feet and soft furniture to sleep or sit on.  Nefertiti is also an inside cat, more in solidarity with Ambrosia than because she's a threat to wild life.

Ambrosia hasn't taken well to her enforced homebody status.  Whenever I go out into the garden I'm stalked by a little leopard cat who follows me around the house from window sill to window sill starting in the lounge room at the back of the house, moving to the bathroom window at the side of the house and onto our bedroom window at the front.  The only window on the fourth side of the house is the kitchen window and as the sill if full of pot plants she can't get herself up there to complete here complaints.  She doesn't follow silently either.  Ambrosia has the loudest wail I've ever heard from a cat.  My time in the garden now is always accompanied by accusing wails from a cat demanding to be let out for her share of the fun.

During the day she lurks around the back door waiting for an opportunity to streak outside and lead us a not so merry chase around the farm. Worse still, lately she has learned to open the door by pushing on it.  Thankfully she is not successful in opening it far enough to get through before it closes again, but with persistence she manages to escape at least once a day if we don't remember to close the back door. If she hears the front door open she is there and out the door almost before it's been opened, and with that gaping screen at the bottom she doesn't even have to wait for us to open the screen door.  Graeme and I now take a few precautions before going outside.  Like maximum security prison guards we ensure that the feline prisoner is contained or at least impeded in nay planned dash to an open door, before we open a door. 

The weak point in all this has proved to be Tristan.  I think I've mentioned before that Tristan hates being on the wrong side of a closed door. Whatever side he's on is the wrong side.  Pre-Ambrosia Tristan spent a lot of his time (and mine) going outside, changing his mind, coming back inside and starting the process all over again.  Now, because he is huffy that once he goes out no-one rushes to let him in again straight away, he takes his time considering if he wants to come inside 9or go outside as the case may be) while I hold the door open waiting for the big decision to be made.  While he ponders the advantages of inside versus outside I usually have my body blocking the small space created by the slightly opened door while Ambrosia does everything she can think of to squeeze through and escape to the countryside.  Graeme tells me to leave Tristan out there, but those of you who know me by now will know that I can't do that, especially if it's raining.

Once Ambrosia has managed to get outside the fun is on.  She skips past Billy and the kelpies, barely giving them a looks as she zooms bywhere she proceeds to roll on the ground and wail in triumph. With a resigned sigh (because I know what is going to happen) I go after her.  Ambrosia waits until I've almost caught up, just lowering my hands to grab any bit of her I can reach,  She then cannons off again only to stop a few feet away and repeat the process beginning with the wailing in triumph. Thus we do circuits of the house, sometimes moving out to the paddock outside the house for a change of scenery - Ambrosia zooming off for a few feet, stopping to look back at me and wail a taunting phrase or two, sometimes even going so far as to lie down and roll on the ground just to rub in how unlikely I am to catch her. 

Billy likes to help with the cat hunt and in the past has actually been a big help.  He often manages to corner her, and hold her there until I catch up.  Unfortunately Billy is now getting too big for his boots and has tried to take a nip at Ambrosia for good measure.  While I'm all in favour of the nip after having stalked Ambrosia around the house for far too long, I'm not inclined to encourage Billy to bully the cats.  I'm worried he'll take his duties a bit too seriously and all I'll get back is a thoroughly chomped cat. Ambrosia is becoming a bit wary of him, but not enough to give him a wide berth or to prevent her initial escape.

While all this is playing out Nefertiti sits at the back door on the inside, and dreams of being as bad as her spotted sister.