Sunday, January 26, 2014


I was shocked into being awake today by a piercing scream from the youngest of our three cats.  Nothing was wrong with him, fortunately.  He had simply been confronted by an object of hate to him: a big orange tabby tom that has recently started sitting on the front porch of Sherwood Cottage, or in the driveway.

I am convinced that it is Frank's father.

I suppose I ought to offer some context.  Frank is a rescued kitty; his mother (a raging bitch of a calico) was wandering around a part of Brooklyn where a friend of my wife's and mine lived.  Said friend found her and took pity on her, and after a few days, the mother, Maggie, followed our friend home.  Our friend fed her, at which point the Maggie's teats swelled, and our friend knew there were kittens to be found.  She did find them; Frank and his brother, the Colonel, were alone in an abandoned warehouse that belongs in a 1980s urban decay film more than in the Bed-Stuy of the early 2010s.  If there had been more kittens, we do not know and likely never will.

Our friend took in Frank, the Colonel, and Maggie, but she could not accommodate all three for long.  We ended up taking Frank, adding him to the two cats we already had and entering into actually having a clowder.  That clowder came with us from Bedfordside Garden to Sherwood Cottage, and all was well with the cats for a time.

Then the tabby began to show up.

We first noticed him--and it is clearly a him--one night as we came home from something or other.  He was sitting on our lamp-lit porch, looking longingly at the window until we got out of the car, at which point he leapt up and ran away into the darkening Oklahoma evening.  In the weeks since, he has frequently popped up on our porch or in the driveway, and I think he has sheltered sometimes in our garage (there are holes in it I will not patch; I pay rent in part so that someone else will have to do such work).  When I am inside and he does so, I hear Frank complain of it bitterly, raging against the orange feline fiend.  The sounds are much as would be expected: loud hissing, a weirdly warbling growl, the feline screaming in hate.

The other cats do little other than look on; neither reacts with the same fierce anger that Frank displays.  It is for that reason that I think there must be something...personal.  Somehow, some way, the tabby has been bad to Frank directly and specifically.  And I recall that Frank is a foundling, one who was out on the street with his mother and brother in his earliest days, neglected by the world.  The relationships of cats are as they are, of course, and it is dangerous to personify too much.  But there is something similar in their stances and attitudes, and, again, there is a seeming personal thrust to the hate--as all good hate displays--that leads me to believe there is something more at work.  I can easily see that it is Frank reacting to the tom that made him and left him and others to die, coming now to impose upon his son for entry into what my wife and I have made sure is a good life for our cats, and I could not fault him for the anger if it were the case.

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