Monday, February 17, 2014

An Unlocked Door Is A Burglar's Dream Come True!

Dear Tazi:

I am a widowed woman who lives with my elderly mother-in-law, "Millie", so as to assist her around the house. This arrangement allows her to stay in her own home, and helps me to feel more secure - both financially (I do pay rent, but much less than I would pay for a private apartment; Millie has no mortgage) and personally. My problem is my feelings of personal safety are starting to dwindle.

About six months ago, Millie and I brought home a shelter cat, for companionship and to keep the field mice that have invaded our yard in check. Since we do not have a pet-door installed, we must personally see to letting "Bruiser" in and out of the house. Millie does not sleep well at night, and has taken to letting Bruiser out in the middle of the night - and then forgetting to lock the door behind her when she returns to bed. When I wake up in the morning and find the door unlocked, I am completely unnerved; and I find that Millie's bad habit is now affecting my sleep. Whenever I hear a strange noise in the night I am petrified that someone has entered the house to rob us.

I have mentioned my concerns to Millie, but she just pooh-pooh's me, as if I am acting like a scared child. Tazi-Kat, my late husband was a police officer. He always insisted we keep the doors locked against the risk of home invasion, and passed this lesson on to Millie and his father, as well. He would tell me that most robberies occurred due to unlocked doors and windows, and as a police officer he saw more than his share of heartbroken homeowners who wished they had taken such simple precautions against theft and other crimes!

With the holidays just past, the annual rise in home invasions is set to occur as thieves are on the lookout for brand new big-screen TV's and other electronics; fine jewelry (from Christmas and Valentine's Day); and other in-demand items, like computers/laptops that go on sale in January (and, according to my late husband, get stolen in February!). I do not care for our house to be on some burglar’s hit-list! Do you have any advice on how to get Millie to see the seriousness of the situation?

Not A Scaredy-Cat!

Dear Not A Scaredy-Cat:

You do not say how old Millie is, just that she is "elderly"; but with age can come stubbornness. Millie is probably very set in her ways, so trying to get her to develop new habits is going to be an exercise in futility. However, if Millie's forgetting to lock the doors is a new habit - did she ever follow her son's advice about locking doors? - perhaps she should be screened for illnesses that affect memory - Alzheimer's, senility, dementia, or other issues that will escalate if not caught and treated early. According to WebMD, early signs of these diseases include difficulty exercising good judgment and sudden changes in personal habits.

As for the problem of the unlocked doors, perhaps a pet-door would be the solution to your problem? They are relatively easy to install, as well as inexpensive. A pet-door for a cat - even one as large sounding as one named "Bruiser" - will not be anywhere near big enough for a human to squeeze through, so it will not compromise your safety. Some pet doors also come with locking mechanisms, so you can secure them if that is your preference. As for wild-life finding their way though it, once Bruiser starts using it your friendly neighborhood squirrels and field mice will give it a wide berth,so this should not be a cause for concern either.

Thank you so much for your wise insight into theft and how thieves think - something many an honest person would never have realized!


P.S. I compliment you on your wise choice to adopt a shelter cat! Although most people want kittens, you don't know what kind of cat they will become! With a grown cat, you know the personality of the cat you are adopting. (Yep, my Mommie lucked out when I chose her! She got herself a top-of-the-line quality feline who loooooves to snuggle!).

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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