Saturday, September 30, 2006
It’s weekend, so I cruise the house in ridiculous shorts, a T-shirt that’s so old it has more holes than textile and a very wrong print on the front, a hammer in my left hand and a screwdriver in my right. My mission for the day is to install a cat flap. Our cats can roam freely since a couple of weeks, and as long as it’s summer we just left the door wide open. But now the evening chill enters the house, not to mention a gazillion mosquitoes.
Buying a cat flap isn’t as easy as it used to be. You have your ordinary flap, then one price-category up there’s the windproof flap, followed by the windproof flap with a button that allows you to decide whether the cats can only get in, get out, get in and out or stay locked inside. Towards the top of the range there is the cat flap that only opens if your cat carries a small magnet on its collar. And for the wealthy cat owner there are the cat flaps with infra-red digital entry codes so that only your cat gets in and not that ridiculous – not to say common – cat from the neighbours that doesn’t even have a pedigree. We settled on the not-quite-top-of-the-range model that works with a magnet to keep other cats out and give ours free access if and when we allow them. It also has this gizmo that’s supposed to show you if your cat is indoors our outdoors.
The instructions were clear and simple, basically you have to cut a hole in the door and then attach both sides of the frame to the inside and outside of the door. Ready is cheese (klaar is kees*), as we say here. Only the first step gave me a lot of trouble: measure the height of your cats body above the ground.
I chased Snijeg trough the house for half an hour with my measuring tape in hand. It didn’t help that I fumbled and stumbled in the beginning and then it got worse because he took refuge on the stairs and then onto the attic. It’s a jungle of boxes and junk, so I tried to lure him out by pretending I wasn’t interested in him anymore and that I just wanted to play with the packing paper in the boxes. Curiosity killed the cat – he came out of his hiding place – but it didn’t get him measured up. He ran back downstairs with me and the measuring tape in hot pursuit.
He was long gone by the time Mr. Super Athlete entered the kitchen, but there was Macka, completely unaware of my evil plans. It took him only two seconds to figure them out, so he too scrambled for the open garden door and left me not as much as his shadow to measure.
So I made a rough estimate. It worked out fine.
* translation may not be completely correct