Jo Ann Jaacks: The cat in the cube

Darlin' the catio cat in her domain.

I’ve been working on a new beginning, so I’m open to all new things.

My brother messaged me: “Are you going to be home this morning? I need to look at your apartment. It’s a secret.” That was intriguing and mind you, he lives two hours away.

I said yes, and two hours later, he arrived on his BMW motorcycle. He had a measuring tape in hand and asked to look at all the windows — obviously, a man on a mission. He had seen on my Facebook page that I was enamored of the latest craze for crazy cat owners — the catio. Described on the Tiger Wire Screens website as “a chance for indoor pets to get outside without encountering dangers of the outdoors,” the catio is claimed to be impenetrable by cat claws, or teeth, I assume, just in the eventuality that the cat is determined to escape.

My cat, Darlin’, is VERY determined to escape and already succeeded in doing that by opening a supposedly secured door in the attic and disappearing down a rabbit hole in that creepy space. Two visits from the patient and sympathetic local volunteer firefighters, listening with stethoscopes to hear meowing, investigating the basement crawl space which literally required slithering, and using a borrowed piece of equipment that could see through walls (really), resulted in failure to find a 7-pound tiger kitten.

Since none of those valiant efforts turned up any evidence of Darlin’ in the house, I began to post flyers and canvass the neighborhood. Two days later two angels (human) helped me conduct a door-to-door search, and I’m sure there were some authentic angels involved as well, because I eventually found my kitten in the hay mow of a nearby barn, where she leaped into my outstretched arms.

Mindful of that trauma, I quizzed my brother on the safety aspect of the catio. He assured me it was completely air-tight and cat-proof. When he showed up a few weeks later with his wife, I noted the claim that the catio installation was “as easy as a window air conditioner.” I don’t think my sister-in-law would have agreed, since she had to shimmy out the other window and crouch on the roof to hold the box level while my brother screwed it into the sides of the window. I put a soft towel and her favorite toys (Teddy Bear and Lambie) inside, but Darlin’ was staying away from all the noise and unexpected activity.

The cube is screened on all sides, allowing fresh air to flow through. The next morning, which began with rain, I decided to put my espadrilles inside the cube to dry out, since I had been running in wet grass. That lasted about as long as it took for me to turn my back and Darlin’ to swat them both out. That sealed the deal — the catio is her domain!

Connecticut Media Group