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Sunday, March 7, 2010


tarbaby watches the dogs

TarBaby went outside an hour or so ago. Martha had evidently gone home and TarBaby knew it. He was cautious. On the back porch I have some stacked wooden chairs with bottoms up. He likes to get in that cage and lie on the woven chair bottom. He's safe there. But he went across the road right away on a mission, like yesterday. Yesterday he went out the door minutes after Martha left to go home. The dogs make so much noise outside the cats lay about in the house and listen to what the dogs are doing. Twice this morning TarBaby wanted out and came nose to nose with Martha at the door. Martha hears me turn the doorknob and takes off like a bullet from wherever she is and meets me wiggling and jumping before I'm out the door.

I let them look at each other, holding the door so Martha could get her snout in, but not her whole head and shoulders. TarBaby looked at her up close, noses almost touching, Martha still and quiet, not in a pleased to meet you way, but in a stalking way. TarBaby looked at Martha eye-to-eye curiously. Martha's excitement can't be contained more than a few seconds at a time, then she breaks into squeals and wiggles. TarBaby took a couple slow steps backwards, turned his head, made a U-turn, slowly walked away listening with his ears turned back for Martha's proximity.

TarBaby stayed at his barn across the road until dark yesterday. He'll probably do the same today. He is tired of catfood. He's tired of catlitter and using the same box as the others. Tired of laying about. He wants to taste some blood again. It might be a good day for mousing with the temperature in the high 50s, snow melting a little bit, mice setting out to find something to eat, bored too with being shut down by the cold and ice. I've not heard any mouse toenails in quite awhile, probably because the cats are hunting as I sleep. If there's a mouse anywhere in the house, it will be found. TarBaby will start spending the nights out with the temperature above freezing. The night is TarBaby's time. The invisible cat.

TarBaby's balance hasn't been so good lately. It's because he's been laying about since he spent 3 weeks in the cage at the vet's in November. He's not had a chance to get out and walk around and hunt because the temperature has been below freezing and the ground covered with ice. He's learned that the dogs go home at the end of the day and return at 7:30. I understand now why he's been waking me the last 2 mornings at 6:30 to let him out. He wants to do his cat business outside. He's an outside cat at heart with indoor privileges.

He likes to go walking with me, but his territorial boundary doesn't extend as far as I like to walk. Anyplace out of sight of the house is out of bounds. He starts calling to me in a lonesome, worried tone of voice. When I stop, he reaches up my leg fully stretched out and sinks his claws in. He wants me to hold him. I hold him and he's wanting to go home. Turn around and go home. Not deeper into the world of the wild animals that roam about looking for a cat to eat. It's a very real concern, too, considering coyotes eat cats. They're genocide to the feral cat population. Tar might be able to evade 1, but not 2. It's been 4 months since he's been able to get out and survey his world, see what's new, what's changed, see if the good mouse hunting places are still good. And to get away from the other cats. He's out of shape and getting older.

The little barn across the road only allows entry to a possum or smaller. It's a good shelter for a cat. He knows how to get around in the place. It's so secure, I expect he can sleep there without a concern. Though, I'd bet he sleeps with ears awake. I'm glad to see he's getting out, that he's learned the rhythm of the daily dog visitations, when not to be out. I feel like he has complete understanding of what he's doing and I'm glad he's able now to stretch his muscles and limber his joints, get ninja cat back in shape for spring when mice and rabbits make lots of bite-sized snacks. We like chocolate. Cats like blood.

Again this spring I'll be hearing the squeak-squeak of sweet little bunnies screaming in horror being carried in a cat's mouth to the table wherever TarBaby decides is a good spot to have a picnic. Often, he likes to take them to the kitchen where the cats eat and let me hear all of it. When he's done there's just a spot of blood smear on the floor. I wipe it up with a paper towel and that's it. You get used to quite a lot living with cats.

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