Since we've come back from our Holiday in Canberra, I've decided that Shmoggleberry isn't allowed outside. The -not at all, never, not a chance, forget it baby, over my dead body- type of not allowed. The reason is not because I'm the meanest owner in the universe, although I'm sure Shmoggleberry would dispute that, but because of fleas.
Its summer here, and Shmoggleberry picks up fleas. Even though I top-spot him regularly, he still gets one or two, and then licks his belly bare, which is not a good look. The fleas get bored with boring every-day cat blood, and decide to go for the exotic taste of pommy-with-insect-bite-allergy blood - mine! So although I can never find a flea on the cat, I'm always well aware of their presence.
So Shmoggleberry has spent the last few weeks staring forlornly at the screen door. I also have severe doubts about the outcome of weido-neighbour / cat encounter, so I have made absolutely sure, despite his whinging, moaning, and pitiful gazes, that he would not get out. He has sat staring at the silly door for hours at a time, trying to will it open, I'm sure. (well, it works well enough on the fridge door) and is very, very persistent and trying to dart around my legs when I'm carrying way too many bags of shopping.
And on it goes...
More recently, he has taken out his frustration out on the fly-screen itself, with some very obvious claw-marks now giving away the presence of an illegal alien to the landlord. A good shoosh of water or serious amounts of yelling stop him hanging off the screen, and I had hoped that my human-bloody-mindedness would be enough to defeat cat-bloody-mindedness.
So the other day, I went outside to hang the laundry on the line - and out the corner of my eye "I tawt I saw a puddy-tat" dashing under the house. I knew it couldn't possibly be Shmoggleberry, because I knew I had made very, very, sure that the screen door was shut. Of course, Shmoggleberry always races straight under the house whenever he succeed in his jail-breaks, so with that seed of doubt, I went back to the door. It was shut. Must've been my imagination.
I came back in, and got onto the computer. After an hour or so of reading my newsgroups, I went back out into the loungeroom, and there was Shmoggleberry, fast asleep. Yup, must've been my imagination - if he does go outside, he makes a huge racket when he wants back in. Hmm.. I must get my eyes checked...
Later on, I retired to the bedroom with a good book, all the while leaving the front door open (and screen door firmly shut) in the vain attempt at keeping the place relatively cool. After a few hours of that, I returned to the lounge to watch the nightly news. No sign of the cat, but I didn't think anything of it, because he has so many different sleeping spots, he could be anywhere. Wherever he was, he'd return to the sound of the cat-food can opening for his dinner.
The news finished at it was getting kind of late. By this time, he is usually around my feet, begging pitifully for food. Odd, but not so unusual, I'd notice. I opened up the can and started calling, and Shmogglebrry came to me pretty much straight away...
...through the bottom of the mesh he had pulled out from the screen door. I hadn't noticed because there wasn't an actual hole there. The mesh was just not attached to the bottom 10cm of the door, and it was just hanging there, like a cat-made cat-flap. You wouldn't know anything was wrong unless you witnessed something actually walking through it like it was supposed to be like that.
Joel fixed it, and Shmoggleberry had managed to re-install it in under 10 minutes by pulling at the corner and then working his way across.
I now keep the front door shut and swelter, Shmoggleberry sits at the front door and stares, and Joel just mutters under his breath about the smart-assed cat. I can't wait to get into the house with security screens on everything. I'd like to see Shmoggleberry get through that. (and you know the sad thing? I'm not 100% sure he couldn't)