Near CAT-astrophe

My dog is dumb as dirt, but he’s hyper and insecure.  He barks at everything, and has no concept of home-territory.  He yaps at butterflies and birds if they enter his yard.  He barks at and chases, but never catches the resident bunny, who always escapes through a tiny hole under the six-foot wooden fence between us and the neighbors.

I’m sure he barked one day when a cloud went in front of the sun.  Birds on the power lines across the street irk him, and, when hot-air balloons used to launch from a nearby park, we almost had to put him in the basement and feed him Valium.  That’s HIS SKY!

When I have to rush out through the French door to shut him up, and pacify the neighbors, especially at night, I have developed a technique to push it closed.  I don’t want it to slam into the frame, so I give it just enough of a quick push to just touch, or remain an inch or two ajar….usually.

When we’d had our little female cat just over a week, Dumb-Dog got mouthy one afternoon.  I rushed out, got him shut up, and forced him back inside, not realizing that the door had been open three inches.  Several minutes later we heard the most piteous yowling outside.

SDC11016Not used to freedom, little Contessa had gone exploring, down off the deck, and into the basement window-well below the living-room window.  I went out to bring her back in.  Already skittish about being picked up, and overwhelmed by the Great Outdoors, she wanted to get in the basement window.  When I tried to reach her, she started leaping for the living-room window, six feet over her head.

On about the third or fourth jump, I caught her in mid-air, and quickly turned for the door.  It was like catching the Tasmanian Devil.  She shredded both hands and wrists.  I put her back down as quickly and gently as I could.  She went back to the window-well.  I went back inside, dripping blood across the deck and kitchen floor.  The wife washed me down, applied antiseptic salve, and used up a First Aid kit worth of gauze and tape.

With her still yowling outside, I went to the garage, donned a pair of welding gauntlets I own, and sallied forth again.  Again, after several leaps, I caught her in mid-air and headed for the door.  She left marks in the heavy gloves, but settled down soon after being tossed in.  Total time spent – more than a half-hour.  Total blood lost – ???!

Fast-forward to about a week ago.  I let the dog out about 3:30 AM, as we were getting ready to go to bed.  He immediately began barking and facing the fence.  I thought the rabbit had escaped again, but he kept it up.  I went out to smack his butt and shut him up.  He wasn’t looking down the rabbit hole.  He was staring up at the neighbor’s pear tree, just beyond the fence.

I thought perhaps he’d seen a bat, so I looked up….and came eyeball to eyeball, a claw-length away from a possum as big as a refrigerator.  Okay, a bar-fridge!  Not exactly running, I headed the dog towards the house.  The door was gapped a tiny bit, and three male cats crouched inside, watching – and then I heard MEEOOW from the front gate.  Oh Shit!!

With the dog inside, I grabbed a flashlight and went back out.  Sure enough, a little pair of green eyes watched me from the fence corner.  Slowly I advanced, so as not to spook her.  Just as I leaned down to pick her up, she scuttled towards the house, and stuck her head in a spot between it, and one of my water barrels.  Like an ostrich with its head in the sand, if she can’t see danger, it can’t see her.

I dropped the flashlight, grabbed her with both hands and headed for the door, post-haste.  She’s become habituated to me handling her.  She didn’t like it, but this time she didn’t force me to leave DNA evidence behind.  In fact, the transfer went so quickly and easily that I had time to wonder if I’d just dumped somebody else’s lost cat into my house.  That’s all I’d need, one more, in a house with four cats and a dog.

Possums are not common this far north, and not in the city.  The wife says she’s seen one on the sound-berm.  I’ve seen the rare one as road-kill, but never a live one, and definitely not at moustache-hair range.  I’m lucky it was just a possum.  The neighbor lady says we now have a racoon, half as big as the dog, in the neighborhood.  All’s well that ended well, and, of course, I was able to go straight to bed and to sleep immediately, after that double-header heart-stopper.

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22 thoughts on “Near CAT-astrophe

  1. 1jaded1 says:

    So glad it turned out ok.

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  2. Hot times in the old town huh?

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  3. Dan Antion says:

    I hope you wanted this to be humorous. We are struggling with a 9-mo Irish Setter with “territory issues” and we have two inside cats. We have always had inside cats but I’ve had to manage a few rescues from the great outdoors. So, while I’m laughing at your story, I can also sympathize. Great post.

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  4. Glad we don’t have cats. Puppy Cody is more than enough to keep us hopping. She’s not too bright sometimes, either – caught her barking at a styrofoam coffee cup that was blowing across the front lawn on trash day. But the cup did eventually wound up on the next-door neighbor’s lawn, so in Cody’s mind, she did her job.

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    • Archon's Den says:

      We adopted my Dad’s puppy-mill Scotty terrier when he had to move into a nursing home. I used to park my motorcycle right in front of our door. Whether coming or going, he used to bark at it until it stopped growling and closed its bright red eyes. In his (tiny) mind, he had done his job, won the argument, and saved his world. 🙂

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  5. Thank you for making me smile and laugh. I’m not exactly sure where you are, where I am in southern Ontario, we have many a opossum in the city, plus raccoons, very large raccoons. The raccoons are easily larger than our beagle, and I have seen a opossum as large as our beagle. Either way, I find both to be rather frightening.

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  6. linda says:

    Hallo Arch, thank you for this humorous story, it really made me laugh. Hope your wounds heal in a jiffy.

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  7. Michelle says:

    This made me smile and laugh, though not at your torn up hands. It’s amazing how bad cat scratches can hurt and for days, too. We’ve definitely got lots of possums where I live, but I’ve only seen one in the yard when I let out my dog. He chased it of course, with me screaming after him. The possum turned on him just as my dog stopped and obeyed me. I think the possum would have won for sure. Now I have a raccoon coming in the yard a couple times a week. It’s twice as big as my dog, and the dog is old now so he hasn’t chased the raccoon. Of course that might also be because the raccoon didn’t run. It just waddled away a little, turned back around and sat looking like, “whatever, dog”.

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    • Archon's Den says:

      Responding right after the nick of time….I’m all for the odd bit of The Great Outdoors, witness the *horse* Flash Fiction, but this chunk kinda sneaked up on me. Just one reason we don’t let the cats run loose outside. 😦

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  8. benzeknees says:

    Loveable though they are, sometimes our pets can be quite a pain in the you know what! Especially in the middle of the night – you want them to go out quietly to do their business & they pick that time to start barking! Glad you didn’t lose too much DNA!

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  9. […] I do my last, on-line crossword, read emails, compose posts, do research, visit websites/and comment, interrupted irregularly but frequently by both two-legged, and four-legged room-mates – coffee, cookies, cat treats, catnip, water, kibble, outside several times for the dog. I read some more while he’s out.  The cats are kept safe indoors, unless you read my Almost Catastrophe post. […]

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