A Word about Cats, Part 2
I wrote an 80,000 word rant about cats and their effects on wild birds, and promised more. This time, I will describe my experiences with one particular cat, known by some around the neighborhood as Big Louie.
When we first moved into our house, new windows were still going in. Most of the work was finished, but the screens had not been put back up. We arrived in the late summer, and kept the windows open most of the time because the weather was only slightly less warm than Satan’s waiting room.
The very first morning in our new home, I woke up to get ready for work. I trudged toward the kitchen to make coffee. Halfway down the hall, who should I meet but Big Louie, who had come to say “welcome to the neighborhood.” Needless to say, I chased him out my daughter’s bedroom window before he had the chance to give me the plate of freshly-baked cookies he had brought.
I live in a household of nearly all women and girls, and they think all cats are cute and cuddly, and I should love them. My wife, my daughters, and their friends all told me I should give Big Louie a chance. He’s just a cat. It’s not his fault he’s so lovable that he just had to come in and give me a kiss that first morning.
After a while, the women’s encouragement (some less tactful writers might call it “nagging”) broke me down. Even though whenever I’d weed my garden (a task I do by hand), I always found a nice gooey glob of half-buried cat poop, perhaps it was true that I was being too hard on Big Louie. And since he kept coming around no matter how vigorously I chased him away, I decided to try kindness.
Pretty soon, Big Louie and I developed something of a rapport. I spend a lot of time reading on my back patio, and soon, whenever he’d see me there, he came around for scratches on his head. It even got to the point where he’d crawl up in my lap for a nap.
It seemed as if this story would have a happy ending, two buddies whiling away the hours together. Unfortunately, it was too good to be true.
One day, as we sat together, a starling landed in the middle of the yard. In a flash, Louie leapt from my lap and snatched the bird in his jaws. He rushed around the side of the house with his prize, splattering blood all over the patio.
From that moment on, Big Louie was again no longer welcome in my yard. I am a bird watcher, and my yard has been landscaped to attract birds, not to provide Louie a private hunting ground. Now, whenever I see that cat in my yard--no matter what I’m doing--I’ll rush outside to chase him off. If he’s in someone else’s yard, I’ll leave him be, but just stay out of mine.
Some time after that fateful afternoon (henceforth referred to by the starling community as Black Saturday), I was bringing groceries into the house. Between trips, I naturally left the front door open since I’m not very good at opening doors with my teeth. On my way back outside, guess who was standing in my dining room, drooling and looking up at my parakeets in their cage? It wasn’t Santa Claus, that’s for sure. It wasn’t even Dick Cheney.
Now tell me, if one of my children or my dog or my alligator (funny story about that one; I’ll tell it another day) went into somebody else’s yard on a regular basis, and killed small animals about the neighborhood, and went into a neighbor’s house more than once, don’t you think I’d catch hell? Don’t you think my neighbors would scream at me and possibly even threaten to call the police?
But hey, it’s just Big Louie, and he’s small and cute. What can you do? Cat’s will be cats. Well, let me tell you, there is a double cat standard here, and I don’t like it!
All right, I promise, no more cat entries.