My erstwhile outdoor cat Julianne has gotten used to the good life with a vengeance.
No longer relegated to the outdoors only or playing second banana to an indoor cat, she has asserted her independence and dominance over the household.
She now spends the night indoors, usually sleeping on top of my husband or curled up as close to him as possible.
He assures me she must be inside for her own safety as there are two owls which would swoop down and carry her off if she were outdoors during the night.
There are two large owls that have a nest in our neighborhood. In the late evening, they are usually together in a tree in my backyard and you can hear them hooting.
But I don’t think they are interested in Julianne. We have more than enough squirrels and chipmunks for the owls to feast on, and Julianne survived outdoors at night for the previous five years.
Spending the night inside in the lap of luxury suits Julianne just fine until about 4 a.m.
Then she either gets hungry or restless. She wakes my husband up with a few howls, and he gets up and puts her out.
She comes back in for breakfast when I get up to get the morning paper. She is usually waiting for me at the back steps.
The remainder of the day she is in and out, in and out and in and out. The number of times depends on my husband’s patience.
When she is inside, she is usually on my husband’s lap as he sits in his recliner and reads the paper or watches TV.
When she is outside, she is usually close to the back door.
If the door opens or someone drives up, she is on the back steps waiting for you to open the door and feed her.
As far as I can tell, she never leaves the yard or gets more than 20 feet from the back steps unless she is following me or my husband in the yard.
If you are outside, she is right there with you. I try to weed or plant some flowers, and she is on top of what I am doing. I have to pick her up and move her aside.
If you walk toward the street, she will follow you, but she stops at the end of the front porch and will go no further.
Her tail is crooked at the end and must have been broken at one time. I think it must have involved a car, since she will go nowhere near the street.
She is a small cat, solid black. She is tolerant of the grandchildren and will let them pick her up and carry her around for a limited amount of time.
However, her new status as one-and-only pet has led her to the belief that she is entitled to certain perquisites (perks).
She gets a little milk in the morning in a cap right next to my husband’s chair at the kitchen table.
Likewise, she gets a few bites of whatever meat we are having for dinner. Not from me.
My husband monitors the cat food situation and has dictated that I can no longer buy the cheapest brand as Julianne doesn’t like it.
How can he tell?
She has developed a demanding yowl.
I swear I wonder how my glasses don’t shatter sometimes.
She can be sitting on the top step of the back steps and start howling, and I can hear her.
That howl has to penetrate the back steps door, go across the back porch and penetrate the door into the hall.
She can do it, and not just once.
If you don’t respond to her kvetching, she can keep it up for at least five minutes.
She uses the same tone of howl when she wants to go outside.
She is standing at the back door, and you are sitting two feet away from her.
She doesn’t need that much volume when she is inside. But that thought has not occurred to her.
My husband commented the other day that Julianne was developing the same sense of entitlement my indoor cat had.
I think he worded it differently.
He said she was getting as nutty as Ernest.
Gee, I wonder why?
Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.