You all know my neighbor Gwen by now. My neighbor Gwen who knows something about just about everything.
When it comes to gossip and goings-on, Gwen and I have pretty much got the neighborhood covered. In spite of her tall fence, she seems to know a lot about what goes on to the southeast while I have the northwest covered. Due west is the cemetery wherein live the least troublesome neighbors of all except during that awful period of the skunks. Not that our neighborhood is troublesome. Quite the contrary.
Most of the trouble that concerns me concerns cats. Now that my Winston is a cranky old man I don’t have to pay off the owners of the cats he’s fought. Artemis doesn’t fight now that she and Bill’s cat, Suli have finally come to An Understanding. There’s a new bully in town: a red-orange cat with a fluffy tail who terrorizes Suli and Gwen’s cat, Lucy.
Suli can pretty much take care of herself. I’ve seen her take on a German shepherd. She’s drawn blood from me on more than one occasion. One minute she’s purring and rubbing me and the next minute she has launched herself at me and red welts are rising on my arms. Somewhere in between the two states she has apparently told me that she’s had enough and I haven’t respected that.
Lucy is an old cat. We aren’t sure how old exactly, but she’s certainly older than Winston who is 15. As she has aged, she’s drawn lines in the litterbox (so to speak) with various neighborhood cats, principally Cosmo who finally moved to Oregon.
In her young days, Lucy was quite the little outdoorswoman. But she was never the same after being stuck up a telephone pole for four days while neighbors were on the horn with Gwen who was in Texas. Finally someone came with a tall ladder and fetched Lucy down. After that Lucy spent her days inside the fence. If you could see the camera-ready garden hidden inside Gwen’s old fence, you probably would, too.
Recently Gwen told me that some rogue cat had figured out how to get in Lucy’s cat door. It’s one of those doors that require the cat to wear a magnet to which the door responds. The magnet door lets Lucy into the basement. Up the basement stairs and another cat door lets her into the kitchen. Gwen and Lucy curled up in the plaid room reading and napping, respectively, heard the kitchen cat door open and looked at each other.
“What’s wrong with this situation?” they asked.
Lucy probably knew who the intruder was, but for several of his illegal visits Gwen only heard him. But then she hit on the most ingenious idea. Gwen, the technology wizard, could probably fashion surveillance equipment out an angel food cake pan, indeterminate wires from a box in her garage, and an old computer. Here’s what she did: she hung a mirror on the fence outside a bay window so it reflected the outside cat door. When she heard the cat door opening she could stand in her front room and see the activity at the cat door. Still she wasn’t fast enough to spot the cat.
Gwen bought a different kind of door, the kind that requires the cat to wear a coded medallion. A code that can be changed. Now Lucy clinks like she has never clunked before what with her new medallion, her proof of rabies shot, and her I.D. tag.
Gwen finally spotted the intruder. She heard the sound of the cat door trying to open. The intruder waited expectantly for the door to open and apparently was mystified enough to wait long enough for Gwen to take her position in the bay window where she saw a butt and fluffy red-orange tail. It was the bully cat.
Now we are both on the lookout for the orange-red cat. I have chased him out of my yard several times. I chase him down the street until he goes under a house or somewhere I can’t follow. When I see him scaling Gwen’s fence I e-mail her. I’ve not managed to get a photo of him but I’ll leave you with one of the cat who started this blog post: