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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: Cat fights after dark

© Another Day in the Country

There are catfights in my neighborhood these days and it isn’t even spring. I’m not sure who the culprit is that has moved into town and disturbed the peace, but Marshmallow, our octogenarian cat, is worried. It’s disrupted his patterns and he’s constantly talking about it.

He whines to my sister. She calls it “talking” and reminds me that meowing is his only form of communication, and that it would behoove me to listen instead of complain. He’s pretty articulate for a cat, moving toward which ever door he wants to exit and planting himself in front of the refrigerator door if he wants milk.

Our cats move between our houses depending upon the season and their moods. Marshmallow and Skeeter both used to live at my house, and then while I was gone for most of the summer they moved over to Jess’s house. Whenever I have company, even for just a meal, the cats complain and go across the street. They don’t seem to enjoy people like I do, sometimes coming to check them out and then turning to walk away in disdain, or, in the case of children, run away. At other times, Skeeter goes into my art room and hides under the table. We call that room “Skeeter’s Office.”

When my grandson is here, Skeeter tolerates him, even though he loves to pet her and is always gentle with him. It’s the occasion for a picture when she actually climbs up on his lap and snuggles down. Most of the time, though, she’s incognito.

“Have you seen the cat?” I’ll ask, and Dagfinnr will answer, “She’s in her office, again.”

Over the past few months, a pattern has developed with Skeeter at my house and Marshmallow at my sister’s. Jess bought a cat bed for Marshmallow, put it in a cozy corner of the couch, and they sit and watch movies together. She likes his company. She got another bed for Skeeter so that she has a place when she comes to visit. It was rather cute to see them all sitting on the couch together, relaxing: Jess in the middle, Skeeter on once side in her bed, and Marshmallow on the other. Then Marshmallow got feisty and took over Skeeter’s bed, and there was no more tranquility. Skeeter left, permanently, with a big scowl.

Skeeter enjoys being an only child at my house, and on Marshmallow’s rare visits to his old stomping grounds she eyes him cautiously and looks resentful, just waiting for him to leave — which he usually does.

Then this week, with all the fighting going on in the neighborhood, he suddenly came back over to my house, settled in on Skeeter’s favorite blanket, and went to sleep for the night. Skeeter wasn’t pleased, eyeing him from the floor with her eyes squinted almost closed; but she didn’t say a word as he ate her food and drank her water. For two nights, he stayed here.

Last night, he’d had it with her cool disdain and asked to go out. Cat fights or no, he didn’t have to hang around in here.

Skeeter was obviously relieved and said I’d better wash that blanket because she wasn’t about to lay on it after he’d slept there for two nights!

I’ve never considered myself a “cat person.” We got cats for the kids and I preferred dogs, but living in Ramona has spoiled dog ownership for me. Not unless I had the funds to fence in my back yard would I have a dog. There are already way too many dogs in town, most of them ill-trained, poorly cared for, and too often on the loose, even though we have ordinances and try to enforce them. So these two silly cats have become my ‘companions,’ on another day in the country.

Last modified Dec. 30, 2015

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