Our neighbor has a bad habit of getting a cute little dog or kitten for their kids. I say it is a bad habit because soon the kids lose interest and the poor animals end up running wild, neglected and underfed. After a few weeks animal control picks one up running loose around the neighborhood. A month or so goes by then the pattern repeats itself.
For a while the neighbors had a cute little kitten that eventually turned into a ruthless nasty cat. Hell Cat. It would terrorize the night. After a number of nights being woken up by the sounds of a calamitous fight under our bedroom window my wife decided to put a stop to it. No, we didn’t call animal control which would have been useless as the cat virtually disappears during the day time. My wife decided to put a curfew on our cats.
At dusk she would begin the process of cat herding. Of course this was quite difficult; the cats know that the best time for playing in the back yard was at dusk. That’s when the gigantic moths, crickets, and bats come out to play. So trying to bring in the cats devolved to all kinds of trickery, bribery, and pleading. I soon tired of the effort and figured that cats can’t be taught. My wife is much more stubborn.
I didn’t even notice the transition; it was so gradual that only a person with the patience of a monk would have noticed. One day I was in the back yard reading a book when my wife came out from the kitchen and called the cats inside. “Its night night time” she would sing out. And sure enough Willow came slinking up to her; she would pick up the cat and bring her inside. Then she would call again. Phoebe, who is a cranky and spiteful creature, would start to reluctantly walk up to her while growling and spiting. You could almost hear the indignation in her voice, “Awww do I have too?” Then she gets picked up and deposited in the house with the other cat, followed by the obligatory hiss and dance that cats do when they greet each other. Cat door locked, everyone is now safe.
How did she do that? I have about as much say in herding cats as getting the fish in our pond to swim in circles. I am amazed how my wife can communicate with our cats. If she can only talk them out of bringing in moths, birds, dragonflies, crickets, grasshoppers, candy wrappers, and dead pond fish into the house to show us. “Aww that’s nice, but I would really prefer you didn’t do that. Ok? Thanks.”
By the way, the neighbor’s cat was eventually picked up, ran over, or something. Hell Cat is longer around but my wife still rounds up Willow and Phoebe.
Now that our kids have moved out it seems that our cats are filling in as substitute children. Maybe they sense this and volunteered. Maybe I am giving them too much credit. Maybe my wife really is the Cat Whisperer.