© Cindy Beck, 2008
(Keywords: Cindy Beck, cat, kitty, nature, tomcat, humor, Latter-day Saints, LDS, YourLDSNeighborhood.com)
Ahhh, nature! Flowers blooming, birds chirping, and tomcats yowling under the windows at midnight. What more could one ask from life?
In the past, a neighbor’s feline used to visit. During the day he was a fine specimen of a cat, with blue eyes, dark ears and a fluffy tail. After dark, he turned into a demon. Despite the fact that all our female kitties were spayed, he seemed to feel they were still a part of his harem. Every night, just as we’d fall asleep, that cat would show up, yowling, hissing, and spitting. Then he’d get in a tussle with whoever responded to his calls.
One evening, just before heading off to bed, I looked out the front window. The moon slid beneath a cloud, and everything lay in deep shadows. I could just make out the outline of that cat, pussyfooting across the front lawn.
“Russ, come quick,” I hissed to my husband, trying not to warn the cat of my presence.
Russ gave me a look that said, “I’m not getting up off this couch for another one of your hair-brained ideas.”
I moved the curtain ever so slightly and peeked out again. The animal stood motionless, no more than a dark shape on the grass. “It’s that cat! If you come over here and are really quiet, you can surprise it, jump out and scare it off. I bet it will never come back again after that.”
“How do you know it’s the neighbor’s cat?” An attitude of reluctance oozed from Russ. I don’t know why; it’s not like any of my schemes have ever backfired.
“Because I can see his fat, bushy tail. There’s only one cat with a tail that big!”
The animal moved a step closer—a delicate step for such a big tomcat. He sniffed the breeze, as if searching for something.
“If you don’t hurry, he’s going to leave,” I said in a stage whisper.
As Russ got up from the couch, I quietly, ever so quietly, turned the lock open in the door’s handle. This was our one chance to scare that caterwauling beast off and I didn’t want to ruin it by being a Noisy Nancy.
Russ walked over and peered out through the lace curtains. His reluctance turned into interest as he saw the animal. “You’re right, that’s him. You pull open the door and I’ll jump out and scare the beejeebers out of him.”
I flung open the door, and with enough noise to wake the whole town, Russ leaped out and clapped his hands. The sound echoed through the neighborhood with a crack. The cat turned his back on Russ, and then gave no response, just stood there as if he owned half the county, and the other half belonged to his in-laws.
What an arrogant tomcat, I thought. It’s like he thinks he’s invincible!
Russ slapped his palms together again and stepped toward the animal. “Shoo!" The moon peeked around the edge of the clouds and the night fell silent. Even the crickets stopped singing.
The only sound was a “whoosh” as we both sucked air, in surprise, at what we saw.
Running down the animal’s back was a white stripe. The “cat” stamped its foot and raised his bushy tail straight in the air.
“Russ, it’s a skunk!” I yelled, slamming the door at the same time. Not that I was trying to shut Russ out, but someone had to keep the furniture safe from skunk perfume. Peeking through the window, I shouted encouragement. “Just back up slowly and he probably won’t spray.”
No man has ever backpedaled so fast. Fear must have paralyzed his brain, because he kept saying “Nice kitty, nice kitty,” until he made it back inside.
It’s been several years since the incident. Surely, Russ has forgotten it by now. And there’s a tomcat yowling outside my window, making it hard to sleep. Maybe I’ll wake Russ and ask him if he’d go outside and chase it off. After all, it looks like it’s just a nice, friendly cat … with a fine, fluffy tail.
What's playing in my head: What's New Pussycat by Tom Jones.
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