Morning around here begins with the Blessing of the Cats. Litter boxes are cleaned right after the kitties are awake and have taken their morning visits to their cat boxes, and then all kitties, indoors and out, are fed. Then, after a brief interlude, the litter boxes are again cleaned. Then everyone else may begin their day as humans are want to do. Human awakening rituals are very similar to kitty awakening rituals except that their cat boxes flush.
As you might well expect, there is already a chow line waiting when that first of the day feeding occurs. Actually there are tree chow lines – indoor kitties, outdoor kitties in the back yard and outdoor kitties at the front door. We represent a sort of congregation of Belinda worshippers, all of whom owe their comfortable and protected lives to Saint Belinda who was beatified here several years ago.
To be sure, there is sometimes a bit of sneaking around by front door kitties who may have been fed before the backyard kitties on some days and who then run over the rooftop to the backyard to participate in that feeding as well. This slippage is never enough to make a difference in the grand scheme of things. Also sometimes a stray will saunter up to the front door seeking admission to the largesse. That is nowadays a constituency populated by Floyd McClarty, a grey stray who got that name by first appearing when some distant relative with that same name was being an asshole, and Hillary Clinton, a white cat with strawberry blonde frosting on the front of her head who showed up when Hillary Clinton was becoming a hot topic for a Presidential campaign recently. Floyd has also discovered the double feeding option and will hide out in the garage from time to time seeking to just blend in when it is feeding time back there. Typical!
Similarly Scampy, a/k/a Scamper Cat, was a terrified and possibly starved little kitten when he showed up too afraid to accept food until it was just put our on the sidewalk in a little dish and just left there for him. Gradually he came to understand that no one would hurt him here and he eventually moved in. Since then he has matured and assimilated into the backyard cat scene, seeming perfectly normal. He lounges around in the backyard as though it was put there specifically for his delectation.
The consistent Front Door Four, by the way are comprised of Frick (member of the friends pair known as Frick and Frack), Kinky (named for Kinky Friedman), Butter Bean (named for a professional boxer), and Billy Bob (as in Billy Bob Thornton). There is another front of the house personality too timid to join the Front Door Four, named Sugar Pie. Sugar Pie receives individual private food service directly from Saint Belinda about an hour after breakfast and dinner. Being a fraidy cat around here does not get you disqualified from blessings.
Thus is the scene set for this story.
This entire scenario is somewhat of an exercise, not only in saintly benevolence, but also in disputed territory regarding supposed limits upon the number of animals that may be kept in an urban neighborhood. There are two ironclad reasons, according to Old Muldoon the family mad dog lawyer and cook, why it is not a violation of anything.
The first, of course, is a typical Texas approach - those aint our cats. Those are just stray cats who belong to Jesus and who hang out here for reasons of safety from the neighborhood dogs who are not controlled as they are required to be controlled. If the neighbors were more law abiding the cats wouldn’t have to hang out here to save their own lives. The second obviously true and relevant consideration is that they are all neutered and have received their shots, without which there would by now be hundreds of strays invading everyone’s yards and homes – so this is really a very generous public service done by Saint Belinda all at her own expense as a grand neighborly gesture. There is a back story about Old Muldoon being known to confront dogs and people (when necessary) with firearms. The story has over the years been blown up way out of proportion to the truth, but in this instance that is a good thing. This message has been passed around the neighborhood grapevine and instilled a sense of gratitude into most of the neighbors, as well as a sense of “shut the hell up before they turn on you” in the minds of those who do not properly control their dogs.
Perhaps now you sense some of the attributes that make Old Muldoon worth keeping around.
There is amongst the “our dogs can do whatever they like no matter what” crowd another lawyer in the neighborhood. He lets his dog roam at will, leisure and caprice, scoffing at all supposed control your dog positions because he believes no one will say anything about it for fear he would sue them and they would have to spend money on their own lawyer to defend the lawsuit. He is known as Dickey the Lawyer and lives nearby alone except on weekends when he needs sex and is getting serviced (usually by some female visitor) while his dog runs loose and – at least once – gets run over by a stray pick up truck. Between Dickey the Lawyer for the dog people and Old Muldoon the cats’ mouthpiece, there is détente.
Dickey the Lawyer’s dog really is harmless and jovial, but any dog scares cats. The poor dog, who’s name is Cooper, is also very stupid and gets himself into awkward situations from which Dickey the Lawyer has to put his clothes on and run down the block or a few blocks over to extricate stupid Cooper from some difficulty or other. There is nothing a lawyer fears more than some neighbor taking smartphone pictures of his dog flagrante in delicto on someone else’s private property gleefully copulating with some in heat female to whom he has never been properly introduced. Perhaps Cooper got the idea from Dickey on some weekend when Dickey forgot to let Cooper out while he was being similarly entertained.
Since there is no dog in the neighborhood who can catch the cats, there is only the alert issue – so far. The cats run into the fenced back yard, up a tree, over the top of the roof of the house and no dog can match that. It might be better if we could call the police on a dog, but that is never going to happen in Texas.
There may be doggie courts in places up north or in California, but not here in Texas. When dogs start getting things like civil rights, Texans know there is no limit to where that might go. Next thing you know they will want the right to marry and receive benefits, and then there will be laws against dogs licking themselves in public. The rationale behind that will be something like “Hell, if we can’t lick our own selves in public then dogs can’t either”. You know you don’t want to hear the rest of this, right?
By Seamus Muldoon, Himself
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