A big tom wanders through our yard every evening. Returning from his adventures, he cuts across our back garden, passes through our side yard to cross the street and then heads home, full of the wild secrets that only outdoor cats know. The first few times he stopped to peek in our windows it sent our cats into a frenzy.
It's slightly alarming when you have more than one cat hissing and growling, their eyes riveted to the darkness outside. I ran around the house closing the windows, afraid of skunks and easily transmittable cat diseases. Most of the cats ran around looking poof-tailed and feral but the youngest, as usual, looked a bit confused.
(I often find myself thinking, "Six cats. Six cats! Oh, God....six cats!" Most assuredly the momma cat, I am followed everywhere and my lap is rarely empty. Mike likes to say that I sometimes remind him of a Frazetta-esque painting of a jungle maiden, surrounded by her feline escort. I'm quick to remind him that he's famous for saying,"Oh, get both. What's one more?")
The nighttime cat drama has subsided. Everyone has resorted to calmly regarding each other through the windows but Oona remains the most interested - every muscle tense, every whisker quivering as she stares at the stranger in our yard. I like to imagine that he's a bit in love with her, and returns every day just to admire her beauty.
This morning I found a dead field mouse in the flower garden. Whole and unbloodied, it seemed to be placed very carefully, just so, next to some stepping stones leading to the bird feeder. A tiny token of affection.