Monday, April 24, 2006

So Penelope, my cat, has learned to open the cabinets in the house. Because, being a cat, no area within her domain should be closed off to her. And it’s taken about two and a half years, but she’s finally gotten the hang of it. The thing is, the cabinets here are slightly spring-loaded, so it takes some trying for her to get them open enough to stay open. So when I’m home, I can hear this steady “thump, thump, thump” as she paws at the door, only to have it close again. And when I’m not home, I come home to open cabinets. It’s when she manages to open the ones that are not at floor level that I’ll start to worry.

I don’t mind the noise, because it’s not enough to wake me up if she does it at night, and I prefer that she understand that she needs to empower herself. Plus, the alternative is to leave the cabinet doors open, and I don’t want to do that. For one thing, when I leave the house, I like to know where she is, and I don’t need to create a whole new world of nooks and crannies for her to hide in. For another, most of the cabinets have wide doors and are located in major thoroughfares, like under the bathroom sink next to the toilet, or right at the top of the stairs. It’s okay if she can figure out how to manipulate her world to suit her needs, but another thing entirely if I need to change mine for her.

So last night, I was in the bathroom, and she came in and opened the cabinet under the sink to go exploring. And she put her paws onto one of the overhead (for her) crosspieces, I guess to see what was up there. And somehow, she managed to get one of her claws wedged in between two pieces of wood, and couldn’t get it out. At first, I thought she was just messing around with something in there, and didn’t pay too much attention. Then I saw that she was trying to climb up somehow, and it so clearly wasn’t working, I couldn’t figure out what she was doing. And then I heard her crying.

Now, Penelope is an attention-seeker when she wants to be. If she wants something, she’s got quite a set of lungs, and usually, the best thing to do is just ignore her rather than encourage her yowling for attention in the house. But this time it was clearly different. She was obviously hurting and upset, and it was heartbreaking. And I couldn’t see where she was stuck, so I had to feel for it. Which meant pulling on her paw a little, which only hurt her more. But I managed to pull her claw loose, and she didn’t hold it against me.

Obviously, nothing like this is happening while I’m out, because I’ve never come home to find her stuck to anything. I’m so glad I was here to help her when she needed me.