Caesar Gets In
by Edward J. Langer
It all started off when my sister, Carol, was a sophomore in high school.
One of her classmate's cat had a litter of kittens, and since we had no pets at that time Carol asked
if we could adopt one of them. We got the pick of the litter -- but what to name him?
Well, since Carol had just finished her second year of Latin which includes reading Caesars'
conquest of Gaul, Caesar was chosen for the cat's name.
Caesar was just an ordinary black and white cat. One day, however, our view of him changed.
We were having an early Sunday dinner when we heard the kitchen screen door open close and
Caesar appeared. How did he get in? How had he opened the door? We observed him closely over the next
several days and discovered his trick.
The screen door is next to a window. There is a narrow ledge
just outside the window barely wide enough for a cat to stand on. This ledge lines up perfectly
with the latch on the screen door. Caesar jumps up onto the ledge, places his paw into the latch,
pulls on the latch which unlocks and opens the door just enough to get his nose in. Once his nose is
in it's a simple matter to get the rest of his body in and an angled jump to the floor and he's in
The big question is how did he learn this technique? No one taught him how. I know you can teach a cat
some tricks but can a cat learn something on its own? Who knows. Anyway, it saved us the trouble of
having to open the door for him to let him in the house in the summer -- but he never mastered the
technique on how to open the door to exit the house.