Small Houdini's and big Conan's


There’s something about closed doors. Especially when there is a cat sitting in front of it! We have had our share of stories about cats and doors!

Long ago we had a petite cat named Tipsy. We had hand raised her after finding her and her sisters at the age of three weeks thrown out on the street. Tipsy remained afraid of the outside world all her life. The front and back door were the only two doors that she respected! As for all the other doors in our house, well that was a complete different story! I have never met another Houdini-like kitten as she was!

There was no door that she could not open! No matter if we had the door handles pointing down or up, no matter if the door had a bolt or a breve; Tipsy could open every door she set her mind to! I have seen her once balancing on a pointing down door handle on her hind legs sliding open the bolt with her muzzle! Oh, of course, a locked door, or a door with round handles she could not have opened. But our house had at least twelve doors and since it was a rented house, we were not eager to make so many costley changes!

One of the doors in the living room led to a little hallway in the centre of the house with a staircase to the first floor gallery. At night we used to lock up the cats in that hallway. They had the entire first and second floor to roam. As long as we were upstairs and as long as she had access to a litter box and her feeding bowls and toy’s, there was no reason for her to open up the door to the living!

One night we returned home late after a party. We rallied up the cats and went to bed. The next morning Edwin woke up early and found the door to the living was opened… as was the door to the hallway at the front door, as was the front door itself! On the corner of our dining table he found our tv, our stereo and some other valuables, as well as the cats staring curiously at the stack. Fortunately, after a quick inspection we found that nothing was missing. But what had happened?!

Soon after our telephone call the police came to investigate the burglary. We had locked up the cats upstairs, so the police could do their jobs dusting the room for fingerprints. After working in silence for a short while, we heard a heavy stumbling coming from the central hallway, as if someone was climbing down the stairs. One of the policemen asked us if there was someone else in the house. “Well eh, no?!” we answered...

But then we realised something!!! Beneath the stairs we had the boiler storage, a hollow space, underneath wooden stairs in a hallway with a stone floor! The perfect resonance box!!! Add to this a silly, clumsy kitty that instead of gracefully sliding down the stairs, used to hop down the bunny-way and there you are!!! A sound that in the night, amplified by the resonance box resembled the sounded of an adult man coming down! Surely the burglar must have thought that the man of the house had woken up! Afterwards we often had a laugh remembering this story and our little guard-cat!!!


Another time our clever Houdini opened a door was that time that we had just bought a new pet: a small Russian hamster that we had named Rasputin. Alas, other than the original Rasputin who had survived several assassinations, our Rasputin had no such luck! We had to rush to an other branch of our pet-store to pick up the cage that we liked. Meanwhile we put Rasputin in his carton box on the salon table and we locked up the cats upstairs. When we came home after no more than fifteen minutes, we found the central hallway door open. The box on the table was tipped over to the side and empty. And there was a trail of sawdust leading to the attic… There we found Nicky, one of our other cats; (a foolish, fat, red little devil that we used to call “Simple Red”) still licking her lips!

Surely she was not smart enough to open the door to the living, find the box and tip it over so she could catch the hamster! That had to be the work of our little Houdini Tipsy. But killing something to eat it, well that was just not her style! The last part was most certainly the handiwork of Nicky! She always had an appetite for almost anything! …

We decided to return the new cage to the pet store and never took in another pet (other than cats of course!) again

These day’s we have an entirely different kind of door phenomena: our compulsive Maine Coon Smirnoff! Bear (as we lovingly call our 20 pound darling) just can not stand closed doors!!!! And other than Tipsy, he surly is not the agile Houdini-kind; no he’s more like a “Conan-the-Destroyer”-kind of door opener! No subtle methods are wasted on this guy! He just growls and howls, scratches the door edge a few time’s and if that does not work: he takes back a few steps, builds up some speed and than he simply rams the door with his massive shoulders!!!!! Well, either he managers to force the door open, or he keeps assaulting the door until we give in and open it for him…

Cats… you've just got to love them!