My mind was on wildlife as I went to put the recycling out at the curb after dinner last night, for today’s pickup day. I was feeling a bit annoyed that we can’t put our trash cans out the night before because of attracting bears to the garbage smorgasbord. My cat, who fancies a wild life but who is not supposed to be out after dark, escaped as I was doing this.
Over the next few hours I called him now and then, to no avail. Finally, I was ready to go to bed at 11 and went to give one last call. I peered out my office window, where he is used to being let in during the day. Sure enough, there he was, sitting on the porch right outside the window. As was a skunk, three feet away from him, snuffling at where the landscapers had eaten their lunch that day. The cat seemed unconcerned by the skunk, and the skunk seemed unconcerned by the cat. I, on the other hand, was highly concerned by the entire situation.
I opened the window just a crack, to test the smell of the air. It was neither pungent nor acrid, so I eased the window open far enough for the cat to jump in and hissed his name. Typical cat: rather than leap in quickly, he just stared at me with slitted eyes, assessing how badly I wanted him to do this. The skunk snuffled. I attempted to look nonchalant, which worked; the cat jumped gracefully in.
I slammed the window shut. The skunk ran off. I collapsed with heart palpitations. It is a wild life we all lead here.