I put Sancho on his leash and walked out the back door this morning. In my arms, I had a container of cat food for my stray cats who have been hanging around my backyard since June of this year. They are now in such a routine that they are usually right at my deck door’s window meowing and circling. This morning was no different. Dulcinea, my cat, was at her lookout post, searching for a way out. I scooted out the door with Sancho’s leash wrapped around my legs, the container precariously perched at my hip. My hair was askew, and my tattered sweatshirt was hanging off my shoulders, and my droopy sweatpants were hanging around my hips.
Typically, Lucy -the black mother cat (with a white patch on her chest)- is the first one to greet me. This morning it was the elusive all black kitten – Parnell. I know it’s Parnell because of the green eyes. I was unwrapping Sancho and his leash from my leg, when I began wondering about the spitfire black cat -Darnell- with orange eyes. Where was he? Suddenly, as if on cue, I hear a scratching noise above my head. My deck is covered with an Asian-style wooden pagoda. I looked up, and I shrieked in unison with a small “meow” coming right above my head. Darnell had climbed up the pagoda and was now trapped and scared.
I filled up the cat feeders while muttering “Sons-a-bitches” like the dad from A Christmas Story. This isn’t the first time Darnell has climbed and got himself stuck. A few weeks ago, I happened to look out my front room window, and saw orange eyes illuminating from my tall oak tree. I went outside to check it out, and Darnell was twisted sideways and clinging to one of the branches. “Ah crap!” I muttered, while wondering if I would have to call the fire department like they do in cartoons to get the cat out of the tree.
Luckily, in both cases, he managed to get himself down. It was very ungraceful -his legs scattered four different ways, claws out, and a surprised look on his face. He landed with a “thump”. I did feel sorry for him, but like a tired mother sick of her child’s antics, I simply thought, “Well, you got yourself into this mess, figure it out yourself.”
Lucy, and her two growing kittens, Parnell and Darnell, are my regulars. I feel obligated to figure out a way to take care of them, but get rid of them at the same time. Then, there’s the alpha male Walter, a white and gray beast of a cat who at one time was nothing but skin and bones. He’s been showing up with various wounds on his face and hind legs, but still intact. Throughout these months, I’ve flipped on the light at various times in the evenings and early mornings to see Buster (a tiny, feisty multi-colored tabby), Lydia (a long-haired gray and white kitten), and Yucky (a long-haired weird looking cat with a smooshed face) all scatter in different directions.
Yes, I need to figure out this problem, before I start naming the fat-ass possum and raccoon that I’ve seen at my back doorstep one too many times.