We're home from vacation. It's good to be back, but sad, too. So, to counteract the sadness here are some of the texts I got from a friend while we were gone, followed by a memory they invoked.
Day 1: What day should i expect yr caravan to return in case i need to call the police?
Day 2: You should have seen all the hung over cats dragging outa yr house this morning....Shameful how they're misbehaving. So disappointing.
Day 3: Fragrant haze circling your house...lots of stoned cats....The police have only been by once.
Day 4: I'm not even going to tell you this one...
Day 5: I checked in...the cats have peed in all your pans.
Now, first off, for those of you who don't know me, we don't drink or do drugs. We don't even drink caffeine, just saying so you know. Second off, text number five deserves an explanation. Third, this particular friend wasn't the one watching my cats, so no, my cats didn't pee in all my pans. In fact they didn't pee in any of my pans, although one of them was very naughty and left something in the shower. Grrrr. And on the frog's tank. Double grrrr. The culprit shall be dealt with. How I don't know yet, but it will be dire. Like a diet. I know they're mad a being left alone for ten days, but really, rules are rules, and leaving smelly presents is high on the list of absolute no-nos. Sheesh.
Anywho, the pee in the pan thing reminded me of an event a few years ago that did involve pee in my brand-new pan. Here's the story. I'll try to keep it short.
It was summer, and my kids broke one of the window screens. Before we could get it fixed, the cats found it and decided it worked great as a cat door. At first I was upset, but then...well, lets just say I didn't have to open and shut the door all day long for the cats. I know this makes me seem extremely lazy, but there you have it. One broken screen equalled less door opening so, I let it stay. Sad, I know.
About a week later, I was punished for this. At two-in-the-morning there arose such a clatter. I leapt from my bed to see what was the matter. (I never realized until now, how useful Twas The Night Before Christmas could be to tell stories, but I'll stop now so you'll keep reading.) Okay, so at 2:00 a.m. a very distressed cat whizzing around my front room like a demented pinball, knocking knickknacks off the shelves and trying to climb the walls, windows, and everything else, woke me from a sound sleep.
It was not one of my cats.
After I blinked the sleepy blur from my eyes and engaged my brain enough to realize what was happening, I yelled at the trespasser, and out the window he flew. I rushed over and slammed it shut.
We fixed the screen the next morning.
Over the next week my cats behaved badly. They slunk through the house like hunters stalking prey. They hissed a lot. They left smelly presents. A lot. I yelled a lot.
Now, despite the two recent presents they left while we were on vacation, they don't usually do this. Really they don't. They're good cats. Really they are, so this present leaving was strange. And ugly. I chastised. I cleaned. Then I chastised and cleaned some more. Then I woke to find a foul yellow liquid in my new pan. I banished them. Enough was enough. They could live outside. Forever.
Then at two-in-the-morning, (why is it always two?) I was once again torn from sleep by my deranged cat flinging himself around my front room. "How did you get in?" I yelled as I, too, went berserk.
I grabbed the broom and chased him around the house, yelling threats the whole time. At last I cornered him under my daughter's bed. And yes, she was now awake and staring at me with a rather frightened expression. I dropped to the floor and glared into my cat's green eyes, and then I realized something. My cat didn't have green eyes.
It wasn't my cat.
As we stared each other down, my mind rewound over the past week, back to the intruder. Everything clicked into place. The strange, stalking behaviour. The naughty peeing. The intruder cat never made it out the window. I'd locked a feral cat in my own house and never realized it. Only the cats had. They'd tried to hunt him, but I yelled at them for it. He'd left nasty messes, I yelled at them for it. He'd been here all week.
My daughter netted him with a bathroom towel. Out he went. I let my cats back in and apologized.
But not this time. This time they are to blame for the smell and the mess, and dire consequences will follow.