NORWALK, Conn. — It bothers me a little that I don’t have as many cats in my life as we used to have; now that I’m an apartment dweller I’m limited to two, which seems a paltry number.
But if I think about it, I do interact with a fair amount of animals even though I spend most of my time in urban Norwalk.
Which brings us to day seven of The 12 Days of Holiday Clickbait: You won’t believe the surprise visitors to my mother’s house!
As with so much of clickbait, it’s not really very remarkable – a flock of turkeys was making regular visits to the Guenther estate and they came around while I was visiting. But I have had other surprising animal interactions in quaint South Jersey. Maybe I shouldn’t admit to accepting primitive conditions but there were bats. I was focused on escorting them out so I didn’t get any photos.
The cat shown above sleeping so perfectly in the like-colored leaves is No Tail, an outdoor cat who is oh-so-sweet. She’s trusting enough to enter the pet window into the basement and hang out with me for hours, demanding love. Her sister, Half Tail, is not so trusting, and will only enter on very cold nights.
If I walk in the door at 2 a.m. and find her ensconced on the bed I get a glaring look, as if to say, “Who are you to enter my home?”
She dashes out the window, but comes back a short while later. No Tail, meanwhile, push-paws the floor lovingly and then forces herself into my presence.
Those leaves No Tail is laying in are in the driveway. We’ve all learned to take it slow coming in that way and she’s survived her bad habit so far.
It’s funny how much they both like laying on damp gravel.
There’s also an orange cat coming and going, inexplicably named Squishy by my nephew. Squishy is not friendly but if you look out the door at night you might see him. You might also see a racoon or – a first, last time I was visiting – a possum.
Mom has had a guest woodchuck for years. The woodchuck has gotten fat and happy living under the shed and offered Mom even more entertainment by having little woodchucks.
The last time I went to visit I was woken up by a pair of birds over my head, hopping around on a shelf and chirping.
You may have guessed, this wasn’t the same room the cats go in and out of.
The birds were trying to get out a window. I had inadvertently trapped them when I came in the night before by closing up a window that is broken. So, there was this incessant noise, and I finally decided in half-sleep that it might be mice inches from my face, so I’d better check. Instead, it was the oddity of birds rustling over my head, trying to go through glass. Then the question was if I should go back to sleep or get up and let them out. I decided I didn’t want to wake up to dead birds so I spent about 20 minutes finding a way to coax them out the door.
Yes, same space that bats visited us in.
Anyway, animals in my life – there are plenty of cats coming and going in my son’s Brooklyn backyard. His cat, Chakra, goes ballistic when they come to the window, which is fun.
Of course, there’s Samantha and Harriet, the mousers at John and Diane’s house. I can see them quite freely. The horror of their life is Saida, an odd dog who must also be a rescue, but I haven’t heard that story yet.
I went for a walk in the woods next to their house and encountered deer.
Last month I was invited inside the Quintard Avenue home of someone I have known for a while – his wife has 15 cats! Remarkably, they get along. When we had a herd of cats the boys were constantly completing, although they were neutered.
Reminds me of a story – when Eric was a kid he had a friend whose cat had kittens. We had three cats at the time and were determined never to have a herd again, but said yes to a kitten.
That made four cats. I kept thinking that I wanted a black cat but we had too many. Four was enough. The kitten was a pretty silver, and that would do.
We always got kittens spayed and this one was no different. But the veterinarian got distracted during the operation and left half her reproductive system intact – there’s a lesson for you, cats have a two-sided reproductive system, either side working independently.
She had four kittens, three of which were black.
Mark would always throw in the detail that she gave birth on the night of the full moon, and describe the surprise on the vet’s face when I brought in the box of kittens. He had treated me like a loon when I said the spayed cat seemed to be pregnant. Later he told me that was one of the most humiliating moments of his life.
It’s all true! Like the story about being on the cruise ship that ran aground. But that’s another day.
No, I don’t want your spare cat. I mean, I would love your spare cat but there’s the landlord.
What I would like is cats coming and going outside the window, like Eric has in Brooklyn.
Can you arrange that?