When I came home I thought I saw a package on the front porch. Up close there was something on the porch but it wasn’t a package. I was still glad to see it, though. There are a couple of stray cats in the neighborhood. Even though I love cats, as well as dogs—I don’t think anyone has to be exclusively a Dog Person or a Cat Person, because I’m firmly Team Both—we can’t take in a cat right now. Among other things all three of our dogs are on special diets and having a litterbox around would just be an invitation for them to treat it as the world’s most disgusting buffet tray. And while I wish all strays could find good, loving forever homes there are risks to taking in a feral cat, even if it can be tamed enough to become a house cat. A friend of mine regularly tries to rescue stray cats in his neighborhood and, well, his success rate is about fifty-percent.
When I met my wife she had two cats, and after they passed away we were catless for a few years. During that time we were also down to one dog, a wonderful boy named Baxter. When the owner of a farm where my wife would go for dog training sessions occasionally had a cat who had kittens we decided to adopt one. We named him Hugo—after the author of Les Miserables.
Even though the farm where Hugo was born was also home to a horde of Standard Poodles he seemed completely unprepared for life with a dog and, for three days, hissed and spat and swatted his claws at Baxter. Finally on the third day, cornered in the kitchen, Hugo flopped over on his back and exposed his belly, saying, “I give up! Please be mercifully quick!” Baxter sniffed him and licked his ears. They were good friends after that.
We’ve had some extremely cold weather lately. It’s been cold enough that I worried about the stray cat. They’ve survived coyotes and cars but weather is harder to escape. Now that it’s warming up again I was relieved to see the stray cat still around, hiding behind the concrete planter on the front porch, not a package for me, but better.