The Pooch has a regular routine in his day at the old schoolhouse in Kickapoo Center.
At first light he announces the dawn with a meow. The previous evening, I'd told him before we went upstairs to read and then to sleep, that there'd be no early morning wake-up calls. He obliged. This morning his wake up call is short. One meow. He walks away. When I get downstairs, he walks to the deck door and I let him out after turning up the thermostat on the opposite wall. Sometimes I watch his route. He makes the rounds and checks his posts. Under the deck, at the edge of the hedge, the birds on the ground in the backyard and inside the woodshed. Walking past the kitchen window he looks up. I'm usually preparing breakfast or washing last night's dishes. If he sees me, he'll trot to the deck door and scoot inside. After a short bit of dry cat food, he walks to the deck door. If the weather is rainy or windy he'll crawl up on the deck railing closest to the kitchen window. Again, if he sees me inside, he'll stretch leaving muddy paw prints on the glass.
The quickest way inside is to claw at the nylon screen. He knows that I'll yell, "NO, Bad Cat" and let him inside. Then, more dried food or leftover breakfast. If I'm at the computer he sits on top of the monitor. After a few minutes he jumps to my lap. I have approximately 30 minutes before I'm required to get up and let him out, usually the back door. In and out, in and out continue throughout the day. I wish I could figure out a cat door for him that would not let frigid air inside the house or destroy an existing solid steel door. Some afternoons, he comes in and sneaks upstairs for a nap on a sheepskin covering a bed in the 2nd bedroom. In the evening he snoozes on the couch between Dawn and me, retreating to a favorite chair in the studio if the movie we're watching is too loud or violent.
I often wonder what he does at night. I can feel him curl up to me and hear the thud of his feet when he jumps down. The door snakes(draft dodgers) we have at the threshold in the studio are sometimes lying at the foot of the stairs. They're filled with flax and weigh as much as 5 pounds. I think he thinks they are real snakes. One morning I woke up and Pucci brought one of his mouse toys into our bed. This morning, half asleep, as I usually am at 6:30 am, I walk to the deck door and let him out. Dawn's in the shower while I make coffee. When she comes down, I hear her shriek.
That's a real mouse,
The photograph is not doctored. I have not touched the mouse. It lies exactly as it appears here. I'm not getting mouse drizzle on me. It can wait until I finish my chilaqueles. When the Pooch comes in we lavish Good Boys on him, telling him what a good job he does protecting us from vermin. We've sealed the most obvious entrance points, yet the basement seems to be have a sign, brightly lit in Neon for any rodent to spot late at night. "This way to luxurious overnight accommodations. " The missing sign is the diamond shaped yellow highway sign, Danger Cat Lurking Ahead.
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