Sunday, May 21, 2006

Dixie the Weather Cat

Dixie lives next door. She's a very beautiful cat, with stunning china blue eyes.

A master mouser, too. And ratter, and catcher of such exotic other critters as a Knight's Anole.

She also predicts storms with an unusual cat habit.

Dixie and I, we have an interesting relationship. Before Walter and I moved in, three humongous dogs lived in the back yard. When they left - between the last owner and us - Dixie'd had the run of the back yard here for a few weeks. She figured it was now Her Territory, and was satisfied with that.

Babycat and his mother April were not.

They both were always friendly with other cats, and rarely got in cat fights. April soon did well enough with Dixie, and at any rate, April's no longer with us. But Babycat?

Dixie and Babycat hate each other's guts.

Babycat's too old to do much about it any more. But for the first several years here, I'd catch him and Dixie at all hours of the day and night, sitting on each side of the fence, cussing at each other in Cat. Deep low drawn-out growly cat sounds. --yo' mama! --yer dog daddy! --HA! which ONE of YOUR daddies? hyuh!

Dixie was so convinced this was HER territory that she was coming in the cat door and eating Babycat's dinner in the middle of the night. I figured it out after being abruptly awakened from a dead sleep by the most god-awful raucous screaming cat fits you ever heard. Sounded like all the torments of hell broke loose in my kitchen. Fur flying, all that. Several times, no less.

So one day I made sure to catch her at it. I was prepared. I had a big cup full of water waiting. And as that beautiful head poked its way inside the little cat door, I hurled the water full in her face.

For the next 10 years, every time she saw me, she'd run away like a bat out of hell.

She still comes around, though. Verrry cautiously.

The last couple of years, Babycat's pretty much given up. As a 21 year old he just doesn't have the zing he used to...and isn't concerned about the same issues any more, either. And I've been trying to let Dixie know it's okay for her to come by.

She doesn't always take off like a streak any more. Sometimes she'll even stay put in the yard as I putter around.

But she has a certain way of telling me her opinion.

At least, that's what it looks like to me. Sometimes, our pets do things, and we just wonder... *What is the Author Trying to Say?*

Like when Livey's dogs brought her an overripe dead squirrel. On the doorstep? No. On the floor by the bed in the middle of the night.

I'm not quite sure why this made me feel so silly. It seemed like that squirrel was responsible for everything odd going on in Livey's life just then.

Her cursor changes colors overnight? Squirrel did it.

Is a snow day ruining your nice spring sunshine mood? Good time to toss a dead squirrel in the snow.

No man in that bed? Ha! no-brainer there. Ripe dead squirrel'l do it every time. Whether or not Livey farts in her sleep is not the main issue when there's a dead squirrel in the picture.

A couple years back, I was just finishing up some hurricane preps when the weather changed and it was time to go in and close the hatch. I'd been picking up loose things from the back yard so they wouldn't become flying debris in the storm.

I went to go pick up an empty 5-gallon bucket. I was startled to see it contained three freshly killed rats.


But what were they doing in my bucket?

The temperature had dropped down low. Was she...refrigerating them?

Hurricane supplies?

Or was she displaying her opinion on MY hurricane preps?

Or maybe, with the storm approaching, she just hadn't gotten around to finishing her dinner?

A few days ago, I was picking up the back yard again for our incoming Prolonged Rain Event. I have big stacks of empty pots along the east side fence - by Dixie's house. I kept walking by them, back and forth, and noticed something odd. A...noise. A smell. A big huge bunch of flies, which took to the air in a great loud buzzing swarm every time I brushed by.

I looked inside the empty pot with the flies inside. And saw three rats there. Freshly killed.

I think she's snarking me again.


Desert Cat said...

Oh I wish water to the face were so effective for my cats!

The only thing they've learned is that it is okay to lounge on the counter any time *except* when papa comes around.

Although I think Mister Squirt has finally convinced them that lurking at my feet when I open the back door (in hopes of zipping out) is a bad idea. I merely need point and say "PST!" and they suddenly remember their manners.

k said...

I had quite a squirtgun collection at one time. Including some huge sort of machine-gun looking thing? that the neighborhood kids relieved me of so fast, I never even got to TRY it on a cat.

It always amazed me how very good the two were about the kitchen counter issue whenever I was around. As compared to the little bits of cat hair and paw prints I'd find there later, magically appearing in the dead of night...