Every now and then I meet or talk with someone who says to me, “Hey! Remember when you blogged about XYZ? You never gave us an update! What ended up happening?” And then I have to reach back into my brain to access the compartment where I’m storing XYZ, and generally if I never updated on it, it means one of four things:
1) Nothing ever happened. I didn’t update you because there was nothing to tell.
2) Something boring happened. I didn’t update you because the update put me to sleep, and I was there.
3) Something happened that somehow fell outside the bounds of what I’m comfortable sharing, and so I just… let it go and hoped you wouldn’t notice. Sorry.
4) I forgot. Probably I saw something shiny.
The truth is that Option 4 is the most likely scenario, closely followed by Option 1. Options 2 and 3 are less common. And today you get Option 5.
What’s Option 5, you may ask? Well, I didn’t know there was an Option 5 until yesterday. But Option 5, it turns out, is:
5) Something boring happened, followed by something horrible, so first I didn’t update and then I updated to say YOU GUYS, OHMYGOD EWWWW.
But first, let’s recap. Last month, I came to you and said, “Hey you guys, I’m currently overrun by the neighbors’ feral cats, what should I do?” And you, lovely readers, because you are supremely awesome, you had lots of ideas for me. As well as many choice words about my neighbors and also my local animal control folks. Which I truly appreciated. And then I didn’t update because…
… as soon as I wrote the post, the problem just… stopped.
After about a week of the kitty versions of the Sharks and the Jets meeting on our deck every night for some yowling and flicking of itty-bitty switchblades at each other, everything went back to normal. Oh, sure—the neighbor’s yard is still full of cats, and I still occasionally find ONE cat sauntering around our property, but the Grand Cat Convention Designed To Drive My Dog Insane seemed to have dispersed.
“Huh,” I said to myself. “Well that was… weird.”
And life went on. You might even say I’d completely forgotten about it, as the compartment in my brain reserved for CAT ANGER is smaller than you might think.
Okay. So! Life is going along swimmingly, relatively catless, and then yesterday Monkey and I went out on a walk. In the normal course of family life we always use the garage and back doors, but yesterday for some reason we went out the front door. And going out the front door revealed a yellow cat laying in our (yellow; hey, it’s winter in Georgia) grass which we’d previously not seen. Correction: I hadn’t seen it.
“I saw that same cat there yesterday!” piped up Monkey.
We walked towards it and it didn’t move.
“Uh, Monkey?” I asked, trying very hard to sound casual. “Did you see that same cat in EXACTLY THAT SAME SPOT?”
“Yep!” he answered. “He must like it there. Probably he’s sunning himself!”
It was overcast. Earlier it had been raining, and the cat was definitely damp.
I took Monkey’s hand and steered a wiiiiiiiiiide circle around the cat. “Okay, honey! Let’s go!” And off we went on our walk, while I tried to figure out what protocol might be for when you find a dead cat stretched out in your front yard. Perhaps a giant stake, like the ones the reps carry at the DNC to show which state they’re from? Only this one would say “IS THIS CAT YOURS?” Did I need to bury it? Did I need to TOUCH it? My mind raced, mostly with REVULSION.
And here’s the thing: I’m not going to lie, we made a lot of jokes about cat-killing during the Week Of Yowling. I would NEVER hurt an animal, you understand, but I still felt like I’d been clipped by the karma bus. (YOU JOKE ABOUT DEAD CATS? HERE YOU GO!) I felt guilty. Even though I didn’t have a thing to do with that cat’s death. Also, aren’t animals supposed to crawl off into the woods or whatever when they die? Since when do sick cats stretch out on the neighbor’s lawn??
Now, the crazy neighbors with the giant trays of food aren’t the only ones with cats. We have some nice neighbors who have a cat, too. And I was pretty sure this wasn’t theirs, but I wasn’t positive. But as luck would have it, we ran into that neighbor while we were out.
“Hey,” I said, again trying to sound infinitely casual. “Spot’s a longhair, right?”
He looked at me oddly. “Yes, I guess you’d call him that.”
“Big tom? Orange?” I persisted.
“Yeah, that’s him,” he said. And I exhaled. Thank GOD. Not theirs. “But have you happened to see Ringo anywhere?” he continued. “He didn’t come home last night.”
My heart sank. “Ringo? You have two cats?”
“Yeah, Susie brought him home one day. Found him as a stray kitten. She’s just crazy about him. I wonder where he is.”
I gulped. “Is he… yellow? Short-haired?”
He brightened. “That’s him! Have you seen him?”
I tried to think of what to say. “He’s sunbathing in our yard!” piped up Monkey.
What to say? “Uh. Yes. He’s sunbathing in our yard, and he’s overbaked to crunchiness, actually.” No, that wouldn’t do.
“I think you’d better come with me,” I finally managed. And we walked back together, and that was how I got to watch our perfectly nice neighbor extract his dead pet from my yard, because I have Bad Kitty Karma.
Monkey was only a little traumatized. Actually, he was fine until the neighbor went to turn the cat over, and then he was completely freaked out by the cat’s stiffness, and first thought that meant the cat was resisting and therefore still alive. Oy. But we came inside and talked though it and everything was okay.
But about an hour later, Chickadee was about to take Licorice outside—her hand was on the back door—when I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. Craning to look out the window, I saw two enormous black dogs I’d never seen before, roaming around our yard. One of them only had three legs, and both of them had collars, so I assume they were pets, but HELLO, what were they doing in our yard?
Clearly the Animal Gods are angry with me. I repent! I’m sorry I complained about the cats. I hope the renegade dogs found their way home.
I gave Licorice an extra treat to try to rebalance my pet karma, and I hope it works. Because that was just a very weird day in the animal kingdom here in our yard.