Weird on so many levels.
Last night, my husband and I were sitting outside on our back patio. We have two back patios — one upstairs and one downstairs. We seldom sit downstairs in the evening, but that’s where we were last night at around 8 PM.
We were talking, looking out over the empty desert southwest of our house. We have 2-1/2 acres of land and our house is perched on the side of a hill on one corner of it. There are four houses “nearby,” one of which is vacant. None of them are within 500 yards of ours. It’s very private and that’s probably the best thing about our house.
All of a sudden, my husband said, “There’s a cat behind us.”
I looked and, in the darkness, saw a bit of white. I reached back, expecting the cat to run off, but it stayed in place, arching its back and pushing up against my hand as I stroked it.
This is weird on so many levels:
- We live in the desert where common house cats are predators, but they’re also prey. The area is full of coyotes, which often travel in packs, and my husband saw a bobcat in our backyard this past summer.
- Our dog was lying less than 5 feet away in his favorite spot on the patio, between two planters, where he can look out over the desert, keeping the house safe from small critters like…well, like house cats. He didn’t see or hear this cat either.
- The cat was clean with soft fur. It was friendly. It was not at all like the feral cats we normally see from our patio, the ones that never get anywhere close.
- If this cat belonged to a neighbor — which is possible — it walked a long way across empty desert to come visit us.
As Mike and I chatted about the weirdness, Jack the Dog happened to glance back. He caught sight of the cat and gave chase. The cat ditched him easily in the dark. While the dog jumped off the patio and chased him around the front of the house, the cat really ran around the back of the house. A moment later, it was on the wall around our backyard, not far from the barbecue grill. For a moment, I thought there were two cats — after all, what was the dog chasing? But no, it was the same cat. Our dog is just plain dumb.
Wondering if the cat was hungry, I fetched a small handful of dry dog food and put it on the wall in front of the cat. It sniffed the kibbles once, then went at them. It was hungry.
We retrieved the dog and went in for the night. I haven’t seen the cat since.
Back when we had horses and chickens — when we lived in our house full-time — we had a mouse problem in our shed where we kept the horse and chicken feed. Back then, I really wanted a barn cat — the kind of cat that could keep the mice out of the shed and fend for itself against predators. I never got one because I always assumed that some predator would get it in the end. Now I’m wondering.
I’m also wondering if the cat has begun hanging around because I’ve started putting out bird food again. While I haven’t seen it here during the day when the birds are around, I know mice must go after the seed after dark. Chances are, it comes around every night for a fresh mouse meal. But since last night was the first night we were downstairs, it was the first night we saw it.
I just hope it doesn’t start going after birds.