Just imagine the complications that Sue Roberts and Richard McCluney of Williamsburg, Va., encounter when ordering a pizza. The main complication is Sherwood, their rescue cat.

The cat came to the family several years ago loaded with inexplicable phobias that they’ve done their best to try to accommodate. Such are the joys of pet ownership, a topic I’ve explored in recent columns.

“Doorbells send Sherwood into a frenzy of terror, growling and hissing and eventually hiding under a bed for hours,” Sue wrote. “We have taped over the doorbell, to the dismay of friends and delivery persons.”

Since the sound of doorbells on television are just as frightening, they scramble for the TV remote when commercials come on.

Let’s say they don’t finish their pizza. Can they wrap the leftover slices in aluminum foil? Yes, but since Sherwood has a hatred of foil, they must tear off a sheet somewhere he can’t see or hear it — the porch, usually.

Like my dog, Archie, Sherwood suffers from separation anxiety. The cat waits at the back door for them to return. God forbid they go out for a pizza.

Wrote Sue: “When we must travel, a loyal friend stops by each morning to read The Washington Post aloud to him. And, no, I am not making this up.”

Sue said that on the advice of the experts at the local shelter, the family adopted a second kitty.

“The idea was that the confident kitty would comfort and teach the anxious one to chill,” she wrote.

Alas, Sherwood has now taught the new cat, Sebastian, to be wary of doorbells and aluminum foil.

Martha E. Powers and her husband, Larry Gomberg, share their Lake Frederick, Va., home with a 19-pound orange feline named Oscar. Oscar, Martha said, is a CCC: a Counter Clearing Cat.

The main living area in their home is nice and open: two easy chairs, two couches, a dining set, as well as the kitchen with its countertops and a very large island.

“When he’s decided it’s time to be fed — at least 19 times daily — Oscar will patrol the counter, howling at anyone within earshot and knocking off any object weighing less than five pounds,” Martha wrote.

The toaster and coffee machine are too big for Oscar to shift, but canisters are affixed to the counter with a system of nonslip coasters and putty.

“Friends laugh when they visit because our counters and island are almost totally devoid of the usual kitchen paraphernalia,” Martha wrote.

Any object on a horizontal surface is like a bowling pin waiting to be toppled.

Wrote Martha: “The dish detergent, hand lotion and cleaning spray that reside by the faucet are frequent victims: Thunk! Whack! Thwop! Any tomatoes ripening on the windowsill are at risk, as they provide the added entertainment of falling into the sink and rolling into the drain.”

When Barbara Ryan and Bob Jacobs of Silver Spring, Md., were wed in 2008, Bob entered a union that already had a rescue cat: Auggie.

While Barbara was accustomed to the way Auggie announced he wanted to be fed — jumping on the bed in the middle of the night — that wasn’t something Bob relished. So they tried something. They set up an alarm clock outside their bedroom door and set it for 5 a.m.

“Whatever Auggie did in the middle of the night was ignored, but when the alarm went off, one of us leapt out of bed and fed him,” Barbara wrote. “Slowly, he began to get the message: Alarm means food.”

They were able to inch the time later and later, until 6 a.m., when they were getting up anyway.

Wrote Barbara: “We knew we had it for sure when one of us got up to go to the bathroom around 4 a.m. and there was Auggie, sound asleep beside the alarm. . . . just waiting.”

Auggie went on to live for a full and happy 14 years. The couple now have new joys — and challenges — courtesy of their Puerto Rican rescue dog, Coqui.

Karen H. Clough recently cared for Merlin, a neighbor’s “operatic/yowling Siamese.” Among the supplies that came with Merlin were an antibiotic requiring a syringe and a can of whipped cream.

“Merlin would not take the medicine alone but would accept it if it were mixed in with a rosette-shaped glop of whipped cream,” wrote Karen, who lives in Rockville, Md.

“Herein lies the mystery,” Karen mused. “How did Merlin teach his humans that whipped cream in a can mixed with an antibiotic is exceptionally tasty?”

Twitter: @johnkelly

For previous columns, visit washingtonpost.com/john-kelly.