Escape Artist #2

The cardboard cat carrier that our cat Emma chewed a hole in when we adopted her on December 22, 2007. Original: _MG_6278.CR2

Scout was an escape artist from the day we brought her home. We tried to keep her isolated from Templeton, but still let her see us, by putting her into the downstairs bathroom and putting a baby gate in the doorway.

No good.

She just climbed the gate like it was nothing. Then we tried stacking a large box in front of the door.

No good.

She just climbed the box. We added another box. She climbed that one too. Eventually we realized she’d just keep climbing and risk hurting herself if she fell, so we kept the door closed. Fortunately Templeton accepted her quickly so she didn’t stay in there long.

Before long she figured out how to open doors anyway. The ones in the old house had handles that she figured out she could jump up and pull down on to get the door to open. Her true master stroke though was her discovery that she could stick her paw under the door and vibrate it enough to jimmy the door open. This became her favored technique and made us all but give up on trying to keep her isolated.

We put her and Templeton in the upstairs bathroom one day when a contractor was working here (we had told him we would), but she jimmied the door open shortly after we left for work and earned both she and Templeton their freedom to wander the house.

I’m not sure armed guards could keep her locked up.

It seems we have acquired our second escape artist. When you adopt a cat at the Oregon Humane Society, they give you these temporary cardboard cat carriers to bring the cats home. We have a plastic one we used for Templeton and Scout, but we wanted each cat in their own carrier, so we used the temporary carriers which had been festively decorated for the holidays.

I didn’t realize just how temporary one of them would be.

We placed each carrier in the back seat and began the short ride home. They were both quiet at first but then I heard some quiet mews coming from behind me. I couldn’t figure out which one was speaking up, but eventually Emma’s carrier started to rock and it was clear who was unhappy.

When we got home, we left the cats in the carriers in the living room while we got their rooms set up with food, water, and litter boxes. My wife came upstairs to find Emma half way out of her box, she chewed and scratched a large hole in the carrier but was having trouble getting her hindquarters out.

Scout would have tried to figure out how to get the top to open up, but Emma apparently prefers a more direct approach. A little less Houdini-like, perhaps, but an escape artist nonetheless.

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