Friday, September 30, 2011

Terrorized by a Cat

Rusty found us
     The other afternoon Kindu and I headed home after a long, hot afternoon walk. We dropped off our walking partner at her house and both wanted a cold drink of water. We threaded our way between the buildings following a windy path back towards home. Coming around a blind corner, we jumped back when a rusty orange Abyssinian-type cat jumped off the front step of a condo directly at us.
We're being watched, closely!
     We’ve spent all of our dog’s 4 years teaching him to tolerate other animals, but like most basenjis, when another animal moves quickly, his instincts command him to catch it. However this cat displayed such aggression my basenji-boy watched, but didn’t charge the cat. This kitty sensed our apprehension and transformed into the posture of a Halloween cat. Tail straight up, back hunched with hackles raised, he growled low in his throat and stalked towards us.
     With a swift glance over my shoulder, I shepherded Kindu forward trying to avoid an altercation with this very angry feline. I kept him in front of me while checking the cat’s progress. I saw he was still following just 10 feet behind us. I know that animals have their territories, so we hustled across the street and finally saw the chase called off. “Rusty” demurely turned his back on us and returned to his perch on the steps.
     With the solid ribbon of asphalt protecting us, we now felt safe enough to stare back at the cat with wonderment. I had seen this animal on previous walks, but had no idea why today we could not walk our normal route back home. I wondered to myself if this was a mama kitty protecting her litter or if this might be a wild cat afflicted with rabies. Finally deciding to get out of the heat, we turned toward home and soon were cooling off with shared ice cubes. Soon the strange chase forgotten, I prepared dinner and got back to my normal routine.
     About one week later, Gary and I walked Kindu together on another very hot August afternoon. A young lady returning home, opened her front door and guess who stepped out; Rusty! This time although he (or is it a she?) saw the dog and two strangers near his front door, all of the cat’s attention focused on his mistress returning home. He purred loudly as he weaved between her legs nearly tripping her with affection. Remembering our last encounter, I hurried away shaking my head as I went. Nope no kittens and  he obviously wasn’t wild, but well loved. I came to the simple conclusion this was one tough kitty.
Rusty, the terrorist kitty
     I told Gary the story and we laughed together about how Rusty’s bluff had worked so well on Kindu and me. Our boy was about three times the size of the cat and could have given him a run for his money. But over-protective owner that I am, I didn’t want to face my boy getting into a fight with a cat baring tooth and claw. More importantly though, I wanted to avoid taking Kindu in to see the vet to treat cat scratches and bites!