We do not have outdoor cats. Believe me, I would love to get rid of litter boxes and all the joy they entail, but our house is situated near both a busy road and a couple of homes with absolute psychos inside, so it's a no go. Mary is still upset over the family cat who ran out and got hit by a car and that was almost two years ago.
So while the cats alternately bring me happiness and drive me crazy, I have their best interests in mind and keep their fuzzy butts indoors. The cats, being cats and also some of the dumbest examples of the species I've ever seen, have no such sense of self preservation and attempt to run outside at every opportunity. Figaro, the Fat and Dumb, will go on the front step and immediately turn around and come back in. Pamina, the Tweaky and Stupid, will run out and get stuck in a tree for five days before animal control finally finds her and sends her home, much to my kids' delight and my husband's consternation. (Totally happened last fall.)
Yesterday we were preparing to head out for art camp when I realized there was no furry entourage helpfully "guarding" the front door.
"I letted Pamina out so she could go peed," Anna announced, as if sensing my confusion.
"Anna!" I exclaimed. "You know you can't do that. Pamina can't go outside!"
"She had to go peed," Anna said simply, as if announcing the weather.
"She has a litter box for that!"
I swear to God, the kid shrugged.
"She no like dat," Anna said.
"That doesn't matter, she goes to the bathroom in the litter box, not outside."
"Figaro, he throwed up outside."
Which is true. Since I can trust Figaro will not leave the front walk, once, when he started in on yet another completely gross hairball adventure, I put him on the front lawn to save my couch cushions. He completed his disgusting journey, crouched under a bush and glared at me and then came back in.
"Yes, but Mommy was there and Figaro doesn't run away, honey. If Pamina gets out, she might get into trouble. She could get hurt."
"She could go in the road," Anna confirmed. "She could get hit by a car and go up in the sky to God." As I stated, the pain and trauma from our cat Jack's death in 2010 has been passed on to Anna via Mary.
"She could," I said, trying to convey with my voice how sad that would be. "And then you would be sad."
"Cause she would be with God and we wouldn't see her no more," she said gravely.
"That's right," I said, glad things were sinking in, after a fashion.
"Well," she said, her tone reverting back to completely pragmatic, "If one of our kitties gets hitted by a car, we will still have one kitty at home. His name is Figawwo," she added helpfully.
Life lesson failed.
Some parents save for their kids' college funds. Some days I feel like I'd be better suited getting her a good attorney on retainer.