I think it’s interesting to see a mostly indoor cat like five-month-old Mollie (pictured) changing into her outdoor persona. Here she is swaggering down her driveway, obviously feeling her ancestral oats. She’s conquered everything inside the house, now she’s out to dominate what’s outside. Watch out grasshoppers, lizards, and butterflies, Mollie’s on the prowl.
I remember seeing the shift in Smokey, my mother’s part Ragdoll cat (who looked nothing like a Ragdoll), when he’d get outdoor time. He still had that, “I own everything” cat-titude inside or outside, but he seemed to put on a different air when he’d step outside those sliding glass doors. He became king of the backyard, overseer of all things wriggly, slithery, feathery, or blowing in the wind.
I see cats in the neighborhoods I walk every day. I watch them crouch in the shrubs peering out in hopes of capturing an unsuspecting cricket or moth. They hide out in tree branches surveying their domain often secretly. Most people walking and driving past don’t even notice and that’s the way they like it.
Even when you spot a cat and stop to admire it, she pretends she’s not there at all. No, she’s not posing for your invasive camera lens, she’s invisible. It’s a game she plays with humans, dogs, and birds.
Cats who go on the prowl even if for a few minutes each day come home with skills and dreams that indoor cats like Sophie and Lily can only imagine. Although if you watch your indoor cats closely when they sidle up to a window or screen door to feel the outside air, they sometimes are caught up in the same dream. They take in the scents, watch birds flit and bugs skitter and they enter that world of wild, unexplored places, if only in their minds. When I watch Lily and Sophie enjoying a sun puddle or feeling a natural breeze, I can sometimes see a flicker of desire and maybe familiarity with their wild side.