Tuesday, April 24, 2007
DogCat For Dawn...
Dawn needs a bit of perking up, and since she's not only half a nation away from my little cheese hamlet, she's also unfortunately happily married with kids, my usual tactic for cheering up a pretty lady with troubles goes flying right out the window, and I'm thus reduced to writing about my pets.
It's not a bad thing, mind you. I love my pets. We have a nifty relationship, and like all relationships, it takes a hell of a lot of work, patience, and compromise. In other words, so long as I understand that I am only being kept alive for the simple fact that I have opposable thumbs which are to be used for things like opening doors, opening cans of cat food and cleaning the litter box, we all seem to get along just fine. No one gets hurt, and no one winds up with "surprises" in their shoes.
And, in return for my loyalty, I get a cold, wet nose in my ear at night, the occasional assault upon my toes, minor blood loss, and no end of something called "unconditional love."
Anyway, several days ago, that love was utterly, devastatingly betrayed when I came home to find DogCat chasing down a rather pesky squirrel who's been raiding my bird feeder (for the record, DogCat generally ignores birds and squirrels). At first I was somewhat happy to see what I believed to be the impending demise of the villainous little rodent. I accepted it as the way of Nature, survival of the fittest, and all that silly "circle of life" stuff that tends to happen in the wild of my suburban backyard. And, as I was getting ready to cheer on my beast of a pet, something strange happened...
Both cat and squirrel stopped dead in their tracks. Then, the squirrel turned and started chasing DogCat --an animal several times its own size.
To say I was puzzled would be an understatement. My cat is not a cowardly animal, and he tends to lead with his head when it comes to any brawl. In fact, whenever I take him to the vet's to get one of his occasional head wounds tended to, the vet usually runs down the long list of his medical history and remarks on the complete and utter lack of a single wound to his back end. "Your cat needs to learn how to run away, Dan," he always says. "A good swat on his ass would be a refreshing change of pace, ya know?"
Needless to say, after watching a squirrel chase my cat, I was hurled into a bizarre world where nothing made any sense whatsoever. Rodents chasing felines is just not normal on ANY part of the planet, so just what the hell was happening in my backyard? I mean, what's next?! With this sort of weirdness going on, it's entirely plausible for me to answer the door to find a cow standing there holding a tenderizing hammer and a bottle of barbecue sauce while wearing an apron that says "Kiss the cook!"
As it stands, I've only known my cat to be afraid of two things: Garbage trucks, and street sweepers. He's terrified of them, and every Tuesday when the behemoths lumber down the alleyway with brakes squealing and hissing, DogCat bolts into the house to find a safe, dark corner of the basement and doesn't come out until Wednesday.
Clearly, this squirrel most certainly didn't resemble a city sanitation vehicle in any way whatsoever. He's a louse-ridden, tree hopping rodent. They cluck and chirp. They don't carry guns, they don't breathe fire, and there's no good reason why my cat would ever run away from such a non-threatening little garden twerp like that.
I stood there dumbfounded and watched as DogCat did one of his amazing I'm-a-Velcro-Cat leaps onto the trunk of a nearby tree which gave his pursuer a reason to pause. When DogCat pulls out this sort of craziness, it's only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose, and I knew the squirrel was done for. DogCat was merely having a bit of fun with setting up the obnoxiously bold little rodent for a little Ninja Kitty Madness which decapitates anything foolish enough to stand too close when he leaps from the trunk of the tree in a whirling torrent of razor sharp claws --think Chow Yun Fat with long fingernails and a thick coat of dense, black fur.
Unfortunately, things didn't quite turn out as I expected, and when DogCat lept from the tree, he spun over the squirrel and landed directly behind the chattering little vermin. Then, he chased the squirrel up the same tree, and down the tree, and into the yard... and when the squirrel went under the fence into the neighbor's yard, DogCat went over it.
Once there, I have no idea what happened. My guess is that the squirrel pulled out a handgun because shortly after touching down in the neighbor's yard, DogCat came bolting back into my yard and straight up the apple tree as though his back end was ablaze. And, as he sat there perched upon a safe branch near the top, I scratched my head and realized that my cat was just playing --yes, playing-- with a little rodent who treats my bird feeder as though it were an all you can eat buffet.
How do I ever learn to cope after such betrayal? My backyard is supposed to have a food-chain for a reason. And, that reason should be to keep me from spending more than $100 a freakin' week on bird-seed that my cat's new little chum simply throws around the yard. I mean, it's bad enough that I've got tulips growing in odd places since that little rat decided that he's got a better eye for gardening than I do and dug up all the bulbs I planted and buried them God knows where (although, I will commend the squirrel for planting some by my garbage cans since it really DOES brighten things up, but that's still no excuse).
Nonetheless, it's clear I am going to have to sit down and have a little "talk" with DogCat. Perhaps we will sit on the couch and watch Animal Planet. I will explain to him that cats are supposed to eat squirrels, and though I understand it probably will trouble him greatly to devour his new friend, it really is for the best.