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Thursday, May 06, 2010  

Pipsqueak No More

I heard some insane howling noises when I was in bed the other night. Unfortunately they weren't coming from my wife.

She heard them too, although being deaf in one ear, she was unable to determine the source. The first few times, she thought it was coming from inside the house -- M. Edium emitting some blanket-muffled moans, maybe as a result of nightmares in which he was competing on American Idol -- but I was certain the source was feline, and outside.

Our cats are strictly indoor, even more so than our previous generation. Unlike Strat and Orca, who would run to any door that opened (and in Strat's case, find ways to get out through doors that didn't), they're not even interested in the outside beyond crashing out on a windowsill once in a while.

The next-door neighbors' cats, on the other hand, are not indoor-only. Except for their newest one, a two-year-old who's too cute to be allowed outside, we're used to other people's cats being in our yard, garage, cars, etc. Moonbeam is all black and about 17 years old, because the eight-year-old girl she belonged to when we moved in is approaching her two-year wedding anniversary. Fievel was all white, like Strat, but we could always tell them apart, even when their weights coincided, because Fievel never let us get within twenty yards of him. Most fearful cat I ever tried unsuccessfully for over a decade to meet. More like a squirrel really, except for the time I saw a squirrel letting Fievel chase it at a slow jog.

Fievel's replacement, to the extent a cat can ever be "replaced," is pretty much his opposite in temperament. I keep forgetting what gender Pipsqueak is, and at this point it seems rude to keep asking (it's been like three years). Pipsqueak is almost exclusively an outdoor cat, except for when it sees me or Trash outside. Then it meows, stretches appealingly, and goes up to the neighbor's back door, watching us expectantly the whole way. If the door's unlocked, we open it for Pipsqueak and it goes straight inside and downstairs, where its litter box is. More often than not, it's outside the next time we are, even if it's been less than a minute. Maybe it just doesn't like peeing outside (which, unfortunately, makes him the opposite of M. Edium in that sense).

This is not to say there aren't interactions between our cats and theirs. Occasionally, when Exie or Phantom is camped out in the bathroom window, Moonbeam or Pipsqueak (usually Pipsqueak) will come up onto our back deck. Our cats view this as a blatant invasion of their territory, and protest loudly. Whereupon a noisy argument ensues through the screen. Sometimes these arguments start to get physical, but again, screen. They can hiss and spit and scream at each other all they want, but they can't do much damage to each other beyond the psychological, as severe as the psychological damage may be.

That's why I didn't think much of the howls I was hearing at first. For one thing, the noise was only coming from outside, so I was pretty sure our cats weren't involved. For another, the wall joists weren't shaking.

After a while, though Trash chased me out of bed to go make sure things weren't getting out of hand. What I saw when I went out the back door was Pipsqueak locked in single combat -- mostly verbal, but still -- with an even larger black-and-white cat I'd never seen before. I told Pipsqueak to knock it off, but the other cat was already being run off. In fact, it bounded over a five-foot chain link fence to get away.

This display of aggressive defense of territory reminded me of the time I'd encountered Pipsqueak in our front yard, late one night when I'd forgotten to roll the trash bin to the curb. He let me pet him for a minute, but then he spotted not one but two giant fucking raccoons two yards up and took off after them. I tried to call him back, but you know how cats are. They don't listen to anyone, least of all the neighbors, especially when they're determined to commit suicide by wildlife.

But on the other hand, those raccoons disappeared into the bushes and I haven't seen them since. Whereas the next time I saw Pipsqueak, he was fully intact and not a dispersed cloud of wheat-colored fur.

Pipsqueak, the neighbors call it. It's not really appropriate to rename another person's cat, I know. But I'm considering installing some iron grillework outside our bathroom window.

posted by M. Giant 8:26 PM 1 comments


We used to have an awesome grey and white cat named Grey. He would chase huge dogs out of our yard, which was always awesome. People would walk their dogs on the other side of the street, so as not to make him think they were getting in his territory.

By Blogger Sara Bishop, at May 7, 2010 at 7:51 AM  

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