Monday, October 18, 2010


Kingston, the neighbor’s cat, has decided he loves our backyard. He visits regularly now – especially if he hears us rustling around outside. I think he likes our company.

Of course, what’s not to love about our backyard if you’re a cat? Tall grasses, flowers and shrubs create a mysterious cat-size jungle perfect for prowling – and napping. Well-stocked birdfeeders mean a potentially endless supply of avian hors d’oeuvres. And then there’s Ben, our dog. Kingston has decided he also likes Ben.

I’m afraid Ben does not reciprocate the feeling. He was "raised" by cats as a puppy and, to this day, is chronically suspicious of our feline friends. Toby, the older cat, was a relentless bully well into his later years, bushwhacking Ben whenever he could – whether coming through a door or nosing around the flower beds. And although our other cat, KC, was kinder and gentler, he was also, for lack of a better word, a nut job, treating Ben as a four-legged rubbing post, much to the dog’s consternation – and embarrassment.

Yesterday, Kingston kicked off his daily visit by investigating a limb of the cherry tree we had just cut down. Spotting Ben, he stalked through the branches with great stealth and concentration, popping out from among the leaves like a furry little jack-in-the-box. Ben was not amused.

The little cat then hunkered down companionably (or so he thought) and stared, unblinking, at Ben. Poor Ben. He tried every which way to avoid Kingston’s Sphinx-like scrutiny.

Ultimately, he flopped his head on the lawn, closed his eyes and dozed off in the sun, dreaming of better (and hopefully cat-free) days to come.

Until Kingston spotted his food and water dishes

Ben's eyes popped open as the young cat sauntered past him and down the walk toward the dishes. Incredulous at this breach in backyard (and canine) etiquette, Ben scrambled to his feet and followed Kingston (at a safe distance, mind you) to the patio where the pair then engaged in an intense staring contest over the kibble and H2O.

The stand-off ended with a low guttural "Woof!" emerging from deep within Ben's Inner Wolf.

Kinston was not impressed.

He blinked once and

with a deprecating "Silly-dog-everyone-knows-cats-don't-eat-kibble" glance over his shoulder

silently slipped back into the garden.

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