Friday, September 26, 2008

The return of White-trash

Months & months ago, we had problems with a large white tom-cat. By we I mean ourselves & W***** next door.

We both have cats that live in our barns, but we treat as inside animals: unlike our neighbors, we get them spayed, we give them inoculations, in inclement weather we might even bring them inside for safekeeping, on a day-to-day basis we will probably talk to them, scratch them, hold them. Trust me when I say this is not the norm for our neighborhood.

We had caught glimpses of White-trash for months, but he mostly left our cats alone (it is hard to seduce a cat that has been spayed), but something made him come closer for a look & that is when he learned the astonishing truth about us: we put food in bowls on the back step. Cat food. For cats. It was like manna for White-trash.

First he tried muscling in at W*****'s, but after the first night, her cats united against him & he was driven off. Not before he had given one of them a puncture wound, though, that required a trip to the vet.

At our house things were both easier & more difficult. Katje & Bianca are not fussy who they eat with. More than once I have opened the back door to find two cats & an elderly possum waiting for me. We are quite sure the armadillos bring their babies through the yard most nights. More difficult because we actually check up on the eaters. If you are as people-wary as White-trash is, seeing a human face at the window can be quite alarming. White-trash decided he would prefer to eat next door rather than risk being seen.

The brawling with W*****'s former-toms was a daily adventure & we had to do something. The humane trap was cleaned out, a can of cat food was purchased & in the end, he was caught here. He had taken to lounging in the tea olive tree outside the front window, lolling around, putting his paws on the glass & looking serene & driving the dogs inside out of their minds. It was easy enough to set the humane trap & he was plenty big enough to spring it. & spring it he did around 4pm one afternoon.

At first he did not care much. An entire can of cat food was like a dream of heaven to him. He ate & ate & ate. He put his paws into it & licked them clean. He thoroughly cleaned the underside of all the edges. & when we was done, he turned around to go back out the way he came in & learned he was TRAPPED!

It was a long night. He yowled, he prowled & while he prowled, he rolled the trap with him. It was like an large angry hamster in an over-long, squared-off, cage-ball.

By dusk the whole neighborhood knew he was there. By bedtime, every animal he had wronged came to call. The cat-traffic through our front yard was too much for the dogs & no one got much sleep.

Around dawn, I met W***** at the top of the driveway to hand her the cage (she was dropping him at the vet on her way to the farm) . When she picked him up on the way home he was a new man. I set up a nest of old towels in the barn furthest from the house & put food out to lure him in; we wanted to be sure he had a safe place to rest up. I knew when he did spend the night there by the odor in the morning (did I mention he had a strong man-cat smell?). When he did come to the house, he ate & left no fighting, no courting. Eventually, we saw less & less of him, only glimpses of a large white cat sitting on a distant fence.

Until last week. The heat has peaked. It is 9:38am as I type this & only 69F. & White-trash has returned from his summer home & is lounging again in the tea olive tree. The dogs cannot take their eyes off of him. Or his buddy. He has brought with him another male cat I am calling Bib&tucker because he is all gray with a white bib & a small white stripe that wraps almost the whole way around his neck. Tuck seems like a gentleman & is quite clean & silky, so I am fairly certain he has a home & is just slumming for fun.

& what could be more fun than driving large house-bound dogs out of their minds?

No comments:

Post a Comment