It is the first day of summer and, as seems normal in this neck of the tall woods, it is cold and raining. Technically, the rains should have stopped a month ago and we should be experiencing dry, if often foggy, weather. So I spent a good portion of the day with at home, with the cats. We have three. They are good trainers. That is not to say they are well trained, rather that they have trained us well. Each morning, Ben, our oldest and, at 16 pounds, our chunkiest, sits in my lap, disturbing me as I read the local paper (actually not much of a disturbance considering the woeful state of the Times-subStandard). He has managed to train me to do his grooming. I set aside the paper and take up a flea comb to prepare him for his day. He may deign to stay with me for a time after he has been groomed as a reward for my efforts.
Cats are much smarter than the average public believes. One of our former cats, Claudius (yes, I wanted to spell his name Clawdius, but Joy would not subject a cat to that indignity), learned how to open pocket doors. Since our bathrooms, at that time, had pocket doors, guests were told to lock the door if they did not wish to have visitors.
Ben has gone one step beyond Claudius — he can open regular doors. Our current doors have lever style handles and Ben stands on his back legs stretching his front paws until they surround the lever handle. Then he engages his considerable weight to pull the handle down and pushes the door open. This was a considerable feat, but he has even topped this, he has managed to open doors that must be pulled inward. He now accomplishes the feat regularly so we must keep all the outside doors locked at all times to keep the cats in. So if you think you know the intellectual capabilities of cats, think again.