#Felines Outside Looking In--#Cats This Week by Karen Rose Smith



A typical photo of our furry family often involves one or two felines perched on a bench or condo, looking out the window observing the world beyond the confines of the house. Sometimes a leaf blowing across the deck, other times birds at the feeders, attract their attention. They are mesmerized by falling snowflakes as well as by unusual activity in a neighbor's yard. 


I have snapped photos of a face peeking through the hole in their condo, observing the antics of one of the other felines in the same room. I often see Clyde, one of our outside duo, sitting in the entrance to the igloo shelter, staring across the yard, perhaps watching his sister Bonnie or waiting for a squirrel or bird to attract his attention. 


But this week, I observed the opposite...cats outside looking in. Last fall my husband installed a cat door in the storm door that led into one section of our basement with hopes of acclimating Bonnie and Clyde to come inside during the cold and inclement weather of the upcoming winter months. They were already used to coming in when the storm door was propped open. They quickly adjusted to the smaller opening...as long as the flap was taped open. They easily jumped through for mealtimes and promptly followed the same path to leave. But, as soon as the flap was lowered, they refused to come through. We tried taping cloth strips over the opening, hoping to make the transition to using the plastic flap, but all of our attempts were futile. 

Not wanting to discourage them from using our lodging, we devised Plan B...leaving the flap open during the day and when they were inside for their evening feeding, promptly closing the basement door. They quickly adjusted to their inside accommodations, finding comfortable and warm spots to sleep through the night, even using the litter boxes we supplied. In the morning, I rise early to feed them and then open the door to give them the option of spending the daytime hours wherever they wish. Our camera captures them coming and going during the day and often napping indoors when the weather is wet or blustery. So while the cat door wasn't entirely successful, we have devised a workable plan to help them feel safe and protected while giving them the independence they still want.

I feel good when I capture photos of Bonnie and Clyde sitting outside the cat door, looking in. Knowing that they know where to come for safety and warmth is as comforting as watching their faces surveying their safe zone and checking for fresh food. Seeing them pop through the door at the sound of my voice reassures me that, even though they are not yet ready to be domesticated, they have integrated me into their world. Their occasional "present" on the basement floor is a testimonial of their trust and appreciation. 


I am grateful that Bonnie and Clyde took the initiative to look "outside in" to allow me to extend my hand for Bonnie's sniff of approval or Clyde's acceptance of a gentle back massage. Perhaps someday they will decide to change their view of the world and join our other felines who are "inside looking out."            



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USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 97th novel will be released in 2017.
Karen and Paddy

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 




©2017 Karen Rose Smith








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