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Wednesday, November 06, 2002  

Strat and Orca are both indoor cats, but sometimes we let them wander around in the yard while we watch them and make sure they don’t wander off and get lost (or worse yet, adopted by someone else). Normally all they want to do is rub themselves on the concrete steps and eat some grass. Orca’s usually happy to go back inside after a few minutes, but we have to bodily pick up Strat to bring him back in. Then later that day he’ll try to get outside again, completely oblivious to the gravel already in his fur and the chlorophyll-laden blobs he’s been yacking up.

Every time someone goes out or comes in, Strat is right there waiting to make an escape attempt. It grows tiresome. We have to close the front door before we can open the storm door, or he’ll squirt out between our feet as we step outside. We used to lock him in a bedroom while we brought in groceries (in the pre-Simon Delivers days) because he’d try to make a break for it every time the door opened, effectively turning a food-burdened human into a soccer goalkeeper. We got so tired of his numerous jailbreaks that we punched a hole in the back of the house for a new door. This one leads out from a bedroom, so he hasn’t figured out yet that when we go in there, we’re actually leaving. He will, though, and then we’ll have to start putting doors everywhere else until our house looks like M. C. Escher’s pad or the door aisle at Home Depot.

See, Strat tries to get out of the house every. Single. Time because once a year or so, he actually succeeds in escaping without anyone realizing it until much later. Those odds make it worthwhile for him, I guess. Even the times when he gets caught right away are worth it, because of the time he got to terrorize a German Shepherd.

Oh, I didn’t tell you about that? This was the summer we moved into the house, and Trash’s sister (who I’ll call Lisa, although that’s not her name) was staying with us. Somehow Strat got outside while someone was walking past with a big yellow dog, and fur flew. Surprisingly, most of it was the dog’s. Lisa, being the only one around, waded in and pulled Strat out of the fray. “Rescuing” Strat turned out to be about as easy as rescuing a running garbage disposal from the leftovers. He put a claw through her lip for her trouble. I’m not kidding here. The point of the claw entered the flesh of her face and came clean through into her mouth. Ow. While she was dragging her new, furry, enraged, twelve-pound lip piercing into the house, still attached to her face, Orca picked up on the visible waves of battle endorphins rolling off of Strat and assumed Lisa was killing him. So she attacked Lisa as well. Basically, Lisa endured several minutes during which she must have longed for the peaceful and relaxing confines of a wood chipper.

By the way, that dog was still terrified of Strat years later.

That wasn’t the only problem Lisa had with Strat. The next year, Trash and I were out of town and Lisa, although she’d since moved out, was housesitting for us with her boyfriend Tigger. We got a panicked call in the evening telling us Strat was MIA. I suggested some of his favorite outdoor hiding places and rang off. Later, we heard the story about how they found him.

It was raining at our house (can I say it was a dark and stormy night if it’s not at the beginning of the entry? No? Okay, moving on) and it wasn’t until two a.m. that Lisa and Tigger finally cornered a muddy, pissed-off animal hiding in the neighbors’ bushes. They had to wrap a blanket around it and they still felt like they were bagging an inside out Cuisinart™. They hauled it into the house and pushed the muddy, spitting, thrashing, screaming bundle into our bedroom, shutting and latching the door.

“What are you doing?” Lisa asked Tigger.

“That might not be Strat,” he said.

They watched the door nervously, wondering if they’d accidentally nabbed someone else’s cat, or a rabid stray, or a genetically enhanced wolverine. After an hour, they opened the door, ready with another blanket, a tranq gun, and a velociraptor cage.

Of course, a clean and dry Strat ambled pleasantly out, looking up at them with a “Hey, guys, what’s up?” expression on his fuzzy white face.

Lisa stayed with us for several months without paying rent. Considering all the unpaid kitty-wrangling she ended up doing, we didn’t get such a bad deal in the end.

posted by M. Giant 3:22 PM 0 comments


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