In May of 2002, I was lifting weights in our side yard when I felt that someone was staring at me. I sat up on the weight bench and looked around. Nothing. No one. The third time I paused, I noticed two tiny heads with bright eyes peering out at me from between two fireplace logs at the top of our woodpile. One was black with piercing green eyes and one was white with markings of a Siamese. Having lost our 17 year-old Siamese, Ness the previous fall, I could hardly wait to tell my husband.
“Rick! We have two tiny kittens outside!”
“We are NOT having another cat in this house!” <pause> “Where outside?”
“They were in the woodpile! They must be from that feral black stray. Come see!”
We scouted the back yard and found no kittens. Mama kitty must have moved them. Later, cleaning the windows in the spare room at the front of our house, I spotted the kittens swatting at a thin spray of water from our irrigation valve and pouncing on evil blades of grass. I called Rick to the window to see them, and he watched much longer than he meant to.
“They are cute, aren’t they?” he said. “Look at that little guy killing the grass! Grrrrrr! Haha! Well, we’re NOT feeding them. Got that? Not!” (Yup. Got it, Sir.)
A few nights later I was getting ready for bed and Rick had disappeared. I looked all over the house and in the back yard with our Doberman, Houston and our Bouvier des Flandres, Tanker. No Ricky. I finally checked the front porch, quietly opening the door, as I had a hunch that proved to be correct. There sat Rick on the bench out front, feeding two tiny, fluffy little souls…albacore tuna…from a crystal dish. He caught me peeking at him and simply said, “Shut up. They were hungry and they’re still not coming in the house.” I sat down next to him watching “Mr. Tough Guy” now hand-feeding the tiny guys bits of precious albacore from his fingers. Rick then informed me that the black one was to be referred to as Mister Baggins and the white one was Frodo and our front garden was their Shire. I know when to keep my mouth shut.
Tragically, we lost little Frodo a few months later when he ventured out of the shire and was hit by a dragon in the road. I thank God I wasn’t home to see it and thank my neighbor for lovingly taking care of his tiny little body.
Baggins learned from the tragedy and now 10 years later, sticks pretty close to the shire.
Oh, yes…he’s still here despite the decree from our faithful leader. You see, Baggins grew, the seasons changed and it started getting pretty chilly. One evening as we relaxing in front of the tv with Houston and Tank sprawled and snoring across the floor, we heard the doggy door flap shut. We looked at each other, looked at the dogs, shook our heads and went back to watching our program. Out of the corner of our eyes, we caught a black shadow. Baggins calmly strolled through the living room, hopped over the 117-pound Bouvier, skirted around one neurotic Doberman and proceeded down the hall to our bedroom. He glanced over his shoulder once as if to say, “Minions, I have arrived. I am taking over. Carry on.” Ya gotta love cats. They live their lives with attitude.
A year later, he was pushing the Bouvier aside to taste what the peasants were eating, camped out on Rick’s lap, tap-danced on his keyboard and generally owned us all.
One evening, a few years into his takeover, Houston, our Doberman was sleeping peacefully in an overstuffed chair that was angled in the corner of the living room opposite the sofa. As Rick and I relaxed after a long day at the office, we watched Baggins walk into the room, assess the situation and in full kitty-stealth mode, slip under the overstuffed chair. Now, Houston was edgy at best, likened to a neurotic cobra on Mountain Dew. One does not poke the cobra whence it sleeps. Evidently Baggins felt he had the genetics of a mongoose in his kitty-veins, because as we watched our beautiful cobra coiled peacefully asleep, over the back of the chair appeared “ninja-kitty” from the armpits up. Ever-so-quietly he reached one black paw forward as far as he could…and thumped the Doberman hard on the top of her head, disappearing like a puff of smoke. Houston leapt to her feet in the big chair, ready to strike, trembling with eyes darting left and right. Rick and I sat frozen, too astonished to move! Sensing no immediate danger, Houston once again settled into the soft cushion of the chair and had no more than closed her eyes when Baggins came over the rounded arm of the chair, thumped the Dobie’s skull hard and disappeared under the chair again! Houston again jumped to her feet in full, fierce attack form…to nothing but air. After his third attack on the fearsome guard dog, Baggins evidently bored of the sport and marched off to conquer yet another world.
Houston and Tank went over the Rainbow Bridge and we are now on our third and fourth English Mastiff. Baggins remains, has brought us three more strays and is neither intimidated nor amused by over 300 pounds of canines.
If you would like to meet Mister Baggins, he can be located at the kitchen door at 3:30 pm each day awaiting his dinner (warmed 11 seconds in the microwave), or at 8:00 pm tapping his Rolex and stepping under the noses of two Mastiffs, overseeing the preparation of his evening snack. If you happen to work late, you can still see him retiring for the night with his attendant, Mr. Tough guy, who will be tucking him into his fluffy bed with two soft blankets…on the hood of his Range Rover.
Cats actually do rule the world.
© Copyright Mary Watson 2012