Sunday, September 5, 2010

In the eyes of the Beholder

Extra bowls of cat food on the counter this morning meant only one thing.

—They’re in the tractor shed. I saw the mother and a kitten. Calicos. The coffee’s ready.

I was familiar with the mom, as I missed her two weeks ago at 30 yards. I poured a travel mug, pulled on some shoes, and out we went.

I spotted the first one as soon as the door was open. It headed toward the back and tried to climb the galvanized side of the building before taking off to a further corner. Another was peaking out from under the oil pan I use to drain the tractor. I moved the pan away with care as it still had a few quarts in it. That young one also tried the wall and fell back, but not before I foresaw the inevitable stumbling romp through the sludge and leaving a trail out the door and around the back of the shed.

Holy heck for what to do after things left undone. We snatched gloves and went a-lookin’.

—It might very well be under that plywood you’re standing on. Look out for the nails, too.

—Why are there nails? she asked as she stepped back and I lifted.

—Because it used to be attached to… There it is!

Back into the shed. I chased it down and grabbed a leg. It responded in kind with teeth into my right index through the waterproof gloves. I grabbed the nape but it was a tenuous grasp at best, oil and all that squirming.

Long story short, into the Hav-a-hart it went while we inspected my wounds, dressed them, and fetched the.22.

By the time all of that was done, no others (I counted four including the mother) were to be found again. The bowls came back in the house. I’ll go back later today to finish things up.

As if.

We’ll go back in time.

We came home Friday to a few sacks on our porch, the contents of which were cat-related: food, food and water bowls, supplements, and such. DW recognized the supplies as some of those she gave to a neighbor when that woman started feeding a stray cat from her back porch. As DW makes certain our animals want for nothing, we always have a surplus.

That cat was a tabby and after a while disappeared, only to be replaced by a black one. Both cats were friendly to the woman, allowing an occasional petting. When the neighbors went away for short periods, we were responsible for feeding these animals, although we never actually saw the animals eat, This is not to say that we didn’t see the cats. The tabby kept its distance and the black cat… well, we saw a black cat, but that is the predominant coloration of most ferals emanating from the drug house, and so it is somewhat difficult to recognize an individual.

The neighbors went away for a week at about the same time one of these back cats started frequenting our yard. This cat was a male, not neutered, and somewhat scraggly. Could it be our neighbor’s porch cat? That was the question that kept DW from giving me the go-ahead. Still, this cat seemed to be deteriorating before our eyes, and I was eventually green-lighted. The #4 shot scarred our porch.

Of course the food bowl at the neighbors’ stayed full thereafter, and upon their return, we invited them over for dinner and confessions. She seemed to take it fairly well; he could care less. We get along with these folks.

So, when the cat supplies were left on our porch while we were away, we thought poetically, ironically. Naturally. And when the neighbors brought the little cat house back yesterday, DW had to clear the air. Yes, the woman neighbor was upset and he relieved, except for her emotional state. She could not understand how a cat could go downhill so quickly while DW wondered how the neighbor could pet a cat in such shape. You know, not fat and sassy.

So there I squatted with the oily feline with its matted fur and eyes fiercely bulging, fighting to escape. And as I write these words, I have a feeling of déjà vu.

Yep, as if.

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