Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Franklin: Canines of Mass Destruction

My brother and I were taking our usual early evening nap on the kitty tree today when we heard Mom say, “That’s odd, I hear voices just outside, like on the other side of the wall of the house.” She rose to head upstairs to see who might be lurking near our fence when she – and we – glanced out the big door to see a large, four-legged animal of considerable size in our backyard.

Win and I were immediately on Stage Three Alert. We leapt from the Kitty Tree of Repose ™ and beat paws to the door. Win was on top of it, I must say, puffing his fur to easily twice its normal proportions, whipping the tail back and forth, baring a fang or two – the very model of exceptional domestic protection! I hung back a few feet, the better to admire Big Brother’s performance… or to see if the large, four-legged beast should breach our defenses. I mean, someone has to be ready to call for reinforcements, yes?

Mom said the beast was a “dawg.” And she firmly stated that said “dawg” had no business in our yard. Just then, the human from a nearby domicile – with nary a by-your-leave! – opened the gate, walked into the backyard, and started making lunges in the direction of said dawg. Mom, at the same time, cracked the door open to ask if he needed assistance, while simultaneously, Win and I were approaching the door, bandy-legged and buffed of fur.

All in a split second, Dawg leapt towards the open door, cats adopted pounce position, Mom prepared her Mighty Kick of Protection (that’s a Monk Elite, of course) , and the human from the nearby domicile grabbed for the hardware around the dawg’s neck. And in that split second, a Fracas for the Ages was averted.

  • Dawg was subdued and dragged off in humiliation.
  • Dawg owner called a pledge over his shoulder to install something called “chicken wire” to contain said beast.
  • Mom made courteous noises about how she hoped the problem would sort itself out, and how there was (this time!) no harm done.
  • And Win and I settled back onto the kitty tree to ponder whether said “chicken wire” was some sort of snarky statement about the intruding creature's Inner Dawg.
Because frankly, compared to two sets of pointy teeth, 36 carefully sharpened claws, and Mom’s Kick of Doom, that beast didn’t stand a bloomin' chance.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Evening Meow

In that classic movie, Lady and the Tramp, the dogs in London have a cool way to get news around the neighborhoods. They call it "The Twilight Bark." Each "edition" of this listenable newspaper includes tidbits of news from Kensington to Knightsbridge to Chelsea and beyond, passed along by a chain of loyal “subscribers” who bark the latest info over fences and down alleyways, where it's picked up and echoed by the next canine courier.

Well, I think news of Win and Frankie's kitty handouts may have reached our local edition of "The Evening Meow." It started when their friend -- formerly Name TBD, now called Little Buddy -- started coming around once every few days for a snack. He's show up at the sliding glass door and The Boyz would leap off the kitty tree or, if upstairs, bound down the stairs at my call of "Hey, kids, your little buddy is here!" I'd slip out a small portion of kibbles and Frank and Win would meow in a friendly manner -- sometimes even pat at the window in greeting. With time, the frequency of his visits moved from every few days to once a day, to a couple of times a day. But he's welcome, and he knows it.

I suspect, though, that he has been spreading the word. Yesterday, I noticed a large grey-stripped tabby lingering hopefully outside the door. Today, a grey-and-white partial Persian made an appearance, peering into the bowl with an expectant expression. I figure Little Buddy has passed the word around: "Hey, there’s good eatin’ at the house on the corner with the tall trees in front!"

Any day now, I expect to open the drapes to find a queue of kitties waiting courteously for their victuals. With that in mind, I'd best go to the store now and restock the pantry. After all Little BuddIES don't want to find an empty bowl. :)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Kits Passing in the Night

Little Buddy & Friend

To the left of me, about five feet away from my desk, is a sliding glass door that opens into the backyard. I keep the drapes open all day and sometimes into the night, as Franklin and Winston really enjoy having a view outside. So far they seem to be ok with being house kitties, but I can tell they’re very intrigued by the whole phenomenon of weather: rain, wind, snow (this week's local April Fool’s joke), or even just the long rays of the afternoon sunshine filtering into the room.

Nothing intrigues them more, though, than our local Cat About Town, who stops by at all hours to pay a through-the-window visit. He looks about a year or two old, a mixed breed leaning towards Siamese. Grey tips, blue eyes, stripped tail, I’d call him a Frost Point, if he didn’t have a few missing points to his points. He is, in a word, adorable.

At first, this "intruder" made the boys quite nervous. But over time, Frankie and Win have become quite ardent fans of this “big kid” in the neighborhood. I only have to say “Oh, look, boys, it’s your buddy!” and they come running to the door, to press their noses against the window as they make little half-meow/half-purr sounds in cordial (stereophonic) greeting to their guest.

Who IS that?

As part of our outreach to… ahh, no name! Well, as outreach to our guest, we’ve been putting out a bit of dry cat food when he stops by. Maintaining the kitty smorgasbord in Health Department-approved state poses a bit of a challenge, though, for the spring-awakened garden slugs are quite attracted to the food, and most days, the bowl contains far more protein than Mr. Purina might stipulate on his packages.

Name-TBD just paid the boys a late-night visit. I can’t help but wonder why he would be outside at 11:30 PM. But really, I can’t help but wonder why he’s out at all. Win and Frank immediately broke off their evening doze on the cat tree to perform their usual greeting ritual. Name-TBD daintily accepted a fresh, slug-free bowl of food, ate a few bites, and slipped away into the damp, dark night.

But before he left, I saw him peering inside the house, and from the wistful expression on his face, I can’t help but think he was noticing the climbing tree, the paper-filled pouncing box, the kitty blanket...imagining himself inside such a room, safe and warm. I know if I leave the door open for more than a few seconds, he will be inside. And really, I wonder if that would be a bad thing... :)

Do you have enough kibbles, mon ami?