Thursday, May. 13, 2010
Dear Diary:

Now that the weather is good, there's just no keeping Binky inside, especially at night. He lives for those evening homeland security prowls.

Owning Binky is like having a newborn child. There's no sleeping through the night with him around. Each night now he earns the title Most Annoying Cat I've Ever Owned.

We don't leave cat food outside because it draws raccoons and skunks, among other critters. A cat gets peckish during a night of securing the perimeter. He'll come to the window at the foot of our bed and make a racket clawing at the screen so we will wake up and let him in to eat.

He races downstairs, grabs a quick bite to eat, and then he races back upstairs to our bed. If standing at the window yelling doesn't get him back outside, he'll stomp on the chest of the closest human until they wake up and throw him outside in annoyance.

I just finished tearing back part of the stone wall beside my flowering crabapple. I decided a wanted a wider, more welcoming look when you first drive into the yard. That left me with a huge swath of bare earth where the wall and flower bed used to be. I dug it up, amended the soil, and sowed it with grass.

Soft bare earth is like snow. It tells you what's been walking around the yard. About five days ago I checked the earth to see how my baby grass was doing and near the new wall I saw the unmistakable prints of a fisher. A really big fisher.

Fishers are members of the wolverine family, ferocious hunters, and it's no secret that they consider a cat or small dog every bit as tasty as any other critter. They are one of the few creatures that routinely eat porcupines. And now I know there's one scouting our yard out from time to time.

As much as I whine about that little gray cat, I love him to pieces. It's probably a rampant case of Stockholm Syndrome, but hey, what can I do?

The spousal unit and I have talked about the situation. The cat is strong and fast. So are fishers. He can climb a tree, but so can a fisher. So far he's eluded whatever predators may be stalking our yard, but not all of our cats have been that lucky. Norma disappeared one night. So did Zubby.

The night after I saw those tracks I tried keeping Binky in. The cat paced frantically, practically ricocheting off the walls in his anxiety to get out. The spousal unit and I looked at each other. Some cats are wired to be lap cats. Some cats have more primal wiring. We let him out.

I guess it comes down to a quality of life issue. Do we let Mr. Evil live the life he wants, or do we cage him and make him live an unhappy life to suit our needs?

We have a little routine now with him. When we open the window at night to let him out, we say, "Mr. B, don't get ett." When he comes inside in the morning and goes upstairs to sleep the day away on our bed we say, "Mr. B! You didn't get ett!"

Binky, of course, barely throws a glance at us. In his mind this tiny little bundle of gray is an alpha predator. He swaggers about the yard and disappears purposefully into the woods, a cat with his own missions. We're only here to provide food, water, winter warmth, a safe place to sleep during the day and the occasional ear scritch. He makes it clear that that's our role and he'd really prefer it that we stay out of his way otherwise, kthxbye.

Please don't get ett, little cat.

--Marn

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