Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Lure of the Scented Outdoors

Spring is here. Though the weather varies daily from cloudy to sunny, wet to dry, chilly to warm, the grass is green, the trees have come out in leaf and birds are everywhere. In my house, which retains its original windows from the 1950s, that means it’s time for the storm windows to come off and the fitted screens to replace them.

This resulted in a revolution in my cats’ world. No longer were they confined to the open front door if they wanted to sniff the fresh air. No more were they condmned to being piled up like a feline high-rise on their cat-tree. And no further need I to drag that awkward, carpet-covered plaything half-way across the room whenever the animals wanted to view the great outdoors.

I have to lubricate the grooves up and down which the window frames theoretically slide, but for now, the sashes move up far enough to give the cats an enjoyment they’ve not had in the new house. Renn was the first to discover the open window. He often watches me when I am in the back garden, no doubt wondering what I am doing (eg. mowing the grass because it’s too long, then watering it to make it grow; that’s a good question, Renn: what am I doing?). The spare room is slowly being transformed into a ‘back parlour’, with a loveseat pushed up against the wall under the window. Its back is perfect for the cats to sit on and watch the outside.

Josie found the open window in the bedroom next. She was so delighted or perhaps just surprised by it that she let out a cry when I greeted her through it from the lawn. It wasn’t long before the other two found the new venue of metaphorical escape. The house may be bigger than our old apartment, but it’s still a rather restrictive world. Now, a wider existence, previously only observed through sealed glass has smells and sounds, as well as sights. The movies they viewed of birds flying and hopping are now talkies.

Because of the interaction and hierarchy in the household, some cats don’t like being up at the windows next to others, so at times there were line-ups. Tucker lie on the bed, forlornly waiting for a space; later, Josie objected to Renn being too near, so she complained and jumped down. It’s a good thing there are two sets of windows that will be open for them.

I worry they will see something that will make them try to get out through the window. The screens, because they are old - and original - are of the strong metal mesh, not the softer kind that became prevalent later on. That alone will deter an attempt to break out, I think, and the screens’ frames are securely in place. This past weekend was a practice run for the summer, though the real test will come, I’m sure, when the weather grows warmer, and the windows are open wider.

So far, the cats are behaving themselves. Tungsten is tiny enough to slip in between the screen and the pane of glass. She looks like a display at a museum. If there were more room, or if a larger cat were to do that, the whole frame of the screen may burst out, even locked in place by the storm window toggles. My fear is that Josie or Renn will see something that excites them and in an attempt to get closer, she or he will use her or his size to push the screen out. I suspect anything of the sort would be inadvertent - but nonetheless worrisome.

But I will watch and weigh the cats’ reactions. They never tried to get through the softer screens at the apartment, which is encouraging, though Tungsten once leaped past me through the open door of the balcony. It’s the only time I’ve ever dragged a cat by its tail. She left claw marks in the snow, but I wasn’t about to let go until I could grab her around her tiny body. I can only hope that a closed screen is a closed door to their conniving minds.

As a post script, I would like to thank all those who have been reading my articles here and have commented so nicely and welcomingly on them. I want to mention that there are a few blogs on which I cannot leave comments myself. Something about the delivery system of commenting doesn’t agree with my computer, and every time I try to leave a response, nothing is posted. It involves the same system in each case, and other methods used on other blogs are successful. So if you were kind enough to write to me, and I didn’t get back to thank you, that’s why.


  1. How lovely to have open windows! The mom remembers those old storm windows from her long-ago childhood days in Gaspé, Quebec.

    Our townhouse doesn't have window sills, but the mom puts cat trees in front of the windows so we can hang out and watch bird TV while she's at work. But we do have our enclosed back space to go out in and we love it, even though it's small.

    Depending on whether you're renting or own the house, you can get those wire mesh "cages" that attach to the outside of windows to allow for cats to sit out while still being safely contained. The mom's always wished to have property, to have a fully-enclosed cat run for us, opening off a window. Ah, that would be wonderful! :-)

  2. I hope everyone behaves and doesn't try to escape!

    They're so adorable enjoying the windows, especially with all four in the one cat tree. I know they have more space now, but wow, that was cute in that first photo! It did not go unnoticed that Tungsten is on top... :)