My Husband and the New Neighbor's Cats
My Husband and the New Neighbor’s Cats
Around here we wake to the animals, no alarms necessary. This morning shortly after opening the door for the cats and dogs to go out, I heard Whitey crying and mewling like he does whenever he sees something new or disturbing. New and disturbing, as far as we can tell, are the same thing to Whitey.
We have quite a few items in the house that make Whitey cry out each time he sees them. We hope he will grow out of it. Another thing we hope he grows out of is tail-raking the coffee table. Since it was long enough, Whitey has dragged his curled tail along the edges of the table to see what he might harvest—think shiny and noisy—to play with. We haven’t been able to find any of our watches since last year.
Where it All Comes Unraveled
While the cats and dogs streamed out around my legs and into the front yard, I noticed movement at the house across the pond. By the time I saw the moving van, all the animals knew there was something terribly out of place, terribly bad, terribly unknown.
Then We Saw It
When I found Whitey on the porch, he was standing with the other cats in a semi-circle around Welcome Kitty, the new neighbor’s cat, in a most unwelcoming manner, hissing a bit but not puffed up yet. As I walked up, Welcome Kitty ran away, and every other cat body immediately assumed an innocent, freshly awakened look.
I went inside to mention the new cat to my husband. The minute I turned my back, the cats instituted martial law and called up the Cat Yard Guard. The yard guard, in its usual knee-jerking panic, formed a more militarized yard gang calling itself the Stripes.
Since the Stripes Gang is made up of two tabbies, one black, and one Sylvester, we don’t understand how they arrived at the gang’s moniker. But we are well accustomed to cat panic.
Allegations Surface of Lack of Cat Commitment
We feel like if the cats were really committed, then they would have chosen a name for their gang that really described them as a group, a name like, The Integrated Gang, or All Fur Types Welcome, because the day is inevitably coming when some slick cat comes ambling along the fence line poking fun at the hodgepodge gang calling themselves, “Stripes.” It can’t forever go unnoticed that only one gang member is fully stiped.
The Second Welcoming
"What kind of cat do you have there, Neighbor?"
The neighbor's cat is
"In ancient times, cats were worshiped as gods. They have not forgotten this."
What is Normal Anyway?
Think of nothing but killing
Scare things to death
Only kill food
Steal all food, even vegetables
Steal our cats' food
We think our cats are within the normal range of cat behavior, and we have explained that to the neighbor every time something happens. Our neighbor is beginning to avoid us at the mailboxes.
"Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea."
When Dinner is Late, There Will Be Blood
There Will Be Food
Few people know that cats actually live in highly structured groups much like bees. However, in a cat pride, every member is the queen at certain times and every member is also a Food Worker, either hunting, begging, or scamming for food all day everyday with committed fanaticism. There are no Worker cats as there are Worker bees, and when questioned about that, our cats claim the bees are letting someone run game on them, "me-chumps-ow" is all they will say.
For some reason, the new neighbor has begun building a fence around his yard. He didn't open his door when we delivered our housewarming gift.
We try to get along with other beings, especially cats, as well as we can. Sigmund Freud said that "time spent with cats is never wasted," and Dad agrees, but he did say he doesn't feel like the cats explain things to him enough. He said he finds them a little to quick to scratch him when he gets things mixed up.
We learned at the neighbor's cookout that he doesn't agree with Freud, and he would like to buy our house.
Finally, as with most of our household problems, the cats tired themselves out hating the neighbor’s cats and the rest of us looked for a way toward peace. The Great Truce of ’18 was called last November, and other than endless cat negotiations, no actual progress has since been made.
The neighbor's fence is 8 feet tall and very solid. We think his phone must be disconnected because when we try to call him to explain, his phone just rings and rings.
Reptiles Banned from Negotiations
Citing brown oyster mycelium, the leader of the dissenting cat faction, Big Whitey, said “While we recognize the contribution of many creatures, such as good bacteria and tree fungi, if it isn’t warm, we won’t powwow with it,” leaving many to suppose that fear, rather than his desire to create a mammals only faction, informed his bombastic, anti-reptiles and others remarks.
Well-informed cat insiders added that including other species would involve many years of cat research, consternation, and deliberation as is characteristic in any situation involving anything even slightly changed or new among cats. Insiders cited the incident back in ’09 when the living room furniture was removed and new furniture, which the cats had not seen nor smelled nor properly stalked for signs of danger to the family, was moved straight from the delivery truck, by strangers, right into the house. The cost to human-cat detente was almost irreparably high.
Treats were bought. Cat trees were added to the new furnishings in the living room. More treats. More petting. More explaining. It was endless, according to eye witnesses. The meows could be heard all the way to the pond some days.
We think the neighbor put his house up for sale. We waved to him at the market, but we couldn't seem to catch up to him.
Accusations Were Made, Oh, the Accusations That Were Made
Well Yes, There Were Delays
My husband overheard the cats hissing about the phoniness of diplomacy and questioning the usefulness of détente. He listened but said they hissed in angry circles never describing any future political actions. Even though the neighbor erected a fence the second week he lived next to us, the cats have fastened, he said, on the idea of a large wall between our yard and the neighbor’s.
Funding for such a wall would have to come from the animal development account, effectively de-funding other projects, such as the catwalk scheduled to be installed in the living room and the formal catnip garden, both items known to be valued by the cats. A stalemate ensued.
Some Additional Delays Did Occur
A storm felled a tree in the backyard, necessitating a complete cat examination of the tree since it had been a cat favorite and was located near the bird feeding station, an area of compelling interest to the cats.
We wanted to clear the tree away, but the cats indicated that their investigation might take as long as one week. They would not hear of shortening the investigation nor of limiting its scope since the tree had always stood about where it now lay. The cats maintained that the radically changed structure of the tree, despite its history, altered the tree completely, raising faux security concerns among the more timid cats.
Since a startled cat can be a dangerous thing, we saw no option but to comply and leave the tree where it had fallen.
Luckily, the dogs were able to get the fallen tree peed upon almost immediately, thanks God! Because the tree had been so tall, the Schnauzer Squad had missed much of the tree during past markings.
After things seemed as if they couldn’t get any worse, strangers mowed the neighbor's lawn, and no sooner had the cats calmed down from that, painters came in and began to paint the neighbor's house. He sure was getting things fixed up around his house for some reason.
We followed the neighbor home from town to ask him what was up with his house, but after he closed his garage door, he couldn't hear us anymore.
We Tried Hard to Explain
We tried hard to explain to explain about the fire, but the neighbor’s text function on his phone must have malfunctioned. Finally, my husband went over to the neighbor’s house, but when he knocked no one answered.
Late week a realtor put up a for sale sign next door. It looks like we won’t next to like friends after all.