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This column reflects the opinion of the writer. Learn about the differences between a news story and an opinion column.

Opinion >  Column

Front Porch: Younger cat wants to spend all his lives in her presence

My husband looked distraught when I returned home after my Saturday errands.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

He rubbed his hand across his brow.

“It was so sad. The minute you shut the front door he started crying. I tried to comfort him, but he just sat there crying. I didn’t know what to do!”

I bent down to pet the cat weaving in and out of my legs. At 3, Walter’s mama fixation has not abated. In human years he’d be about 29, but he still trails me around the house like a toddler who’s afraid his mom disappears forever when she leaves the room. His voice hasn’t changed either – his plaintive mews sound an awful lot like an unhappy baby.

“Puberty skipped him,” Derek said.

He has a point. Thor, our senior tabby, outgrew his squeaks and mews by age two. Now, he grunts growls and yowls like the crotchety old dude he’s become.

“How long did Walter cry?”

Derek shrugged.

“It felt like forever. It probably didn’t help that I accidentally locked him in the closet.”

That’s right. Walter had slipped into the laundry closet while Derek was getting a towel. When my husband realized the meows sounded fainter, he opened the door and out dashed the cat. No wonder he gets anxious when I leave.

A short time later I asked Derek to feed the cats while I started the laundry.

“OK, where’s Thor?” he asked.

That’s when we realized we hadn’t seen the always-hungry feline since I’d come home.

We looked at each other.

“That damn cat!” Derek yelled. “He’s outside.”

Our cats are indoor-only pets, but Thor has a penchant for the great outdoors. He frequently bolts if the door is opened for longer than a second or two. He likes to sniff his way along the front of the house to the lilac bush at the side and then squeeze through it to the backyard to investigate beneath the deck.

Sure enough, I opened the front door and he sprinted up the stairs to make sure he hadn’t missed lunch.

His paw prints in the snow pointed to his adventure.

“One of these days,” Derek muttered to him. “One of these days I’m gonna leave you out there.”

Walter, having finished his lunch sauntered up to Thor and then stopped, sniffed the air. The junior tabby edged closer. Then, he arched his back and hissed, his fur standing on end.

Bewildered, the three of us looked at him. Thor gave a shake and stretched toward Walter, who promptly backed away, hissing.

“It’s like he doesn’t even recognize him,” Derek said.

We both sniffed our recent escapee, but we couldn’t detect any offensive odors. Just in case, I washed his paws and gave him a good brushing.

It wasn’t good enough for Walter, who continued treating Thor like an errant dog. Aside from the hissing, Thor seemed thrilled by Walter’s shunning.

At dinner, I shared some pieces of my salmon with them and they snacked from the same plate. It seemed their wild weekend had come to a peaceful end.

We’d just cuddled up on the couch to watch a movie when Thor streaked through the living room with Walter in hot pursuit as per usual. Our senior tabby clawed his way to the top of the cat tree, while the younger cat swatted at him from the perch below.

A few seconds later, the dining room lights flashed on.

“He didn’t,” Derek said.

“He couldn’t,” I replied.

But guess who figured out how to work the light switch? At this rate, it’s only a matter of time before Walter masters doorknobs. If he does, Thor will get his wish to be an indoor/outdoor cat.

Do you have a pet who doesn’t want you out of its sight? How did/do you deal with it? Email your responses to Be sure to include your full name and contact information as I may feature your replies in a future column.

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