The Lit Maven

Archive for September 2017

PrancerChairOur cat Prancer takes his job seriously.  He is the gatekeeper of the house, protector of the estate, guardian of the mansion.  While he looks innocent – the round amber eyes, the wide-striped nose, the fluffy, pure white bib and paws — he is actually a skilled and precise protector.  After two-plus decades of owning cats (or, of them owning me), I am always amazed by their behavior.  I think I have them figured out, then they throw me a pitch that, honestly, is impossible to  hit.  We had the misfortune of attracting a small grey and white cat to our property this past spring and summer.  To this day, I have no idea where he came from, to whom he belonged, or where he has gone since.  I just know that he wreaked havoc in Prancer’s well-balanced life.  “Grey”, as I call him, would nonchalantly slink up our driveway, looking straight ahead and suddenly stop – 2-3 yards in front of Prancer.  They would stare each other down, mewling in that oddly cadenced caterwauling that screams out, “Fight a-comin’!”  The first time I heard it, I went outside.   Grey ran when he saw me with Prancer in tow.   Prancer caught up with him and for a few seconds, there was nothing to be seen except rolling bodies and literal flying fur.  Grey managed to escape and ran for his life – again, followed closely by Prancer.  Prancer returned to the house an hour later – a thin red scratch on his otherwise-white nose.  Two days later, he had an abscess on his face which led us to the vet and ten days of antibiotics.  This problem repeated itself four times in the next few weeks – bite marks on the flank and on the chest mostly.  When our other, more shy, cat would go outside during this period, Prancer would hiss and push him back toward the door.  I believed this was a protective behavior since Todd is not prone to defend himself.   I queried neighbors and, although several had seen Grey, they did not know where he had come from.  As suddenly as it began, it ended.  I have not seen Grey for over a month now, but the questions remain:  Is he feral (doubt:  he seemed well-fed and cared for)?  Why would he come to our property knowing there is an aggressive protector there?  What happened to him?  Did Prancer hurt or even kill him?  Did the owners forbid him from going outside?  The questions have answers – but not in the human realm, only in the feline.