FREE FALLING

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BOB WOELK
Stop me if you’ve heard any of these. A guy works for a week on building a nice piece of furniture in which to store his family’s guitar collection. He applies the first coat of finish to the cabinet and makes the mistake of leaving the garage door open so the varnish can dry.

While the builder is taking his lunch break in the house, a cat walks into the garage and urinates on the new furniture. The carpenter returns to the scene, disgusted by what he sees and smells.

The same man wheels a golf car into his garage so he can prepare it for spring outings on the links. Again, necessity leads him to leave the door open for a few hours.

A cat climbs into the seat of the cart and sprays the front with such force and volume the liquid runs down the entire passenger side of the vehicle and pools on the cart floor. Now, the entire thing will have to be thoroughly hosed down before it can be used.

On a nice spring day, this same fellow finishes waxing his car and goes inside for a cool glass of lemonade. When he returns to the driveway, he discovers that a cat has climbed on top of his freshly-waxed auto and has vomited on the roof.

The hot sun has already caused the deposit to congeal and dry. The only solution is to start the job all over again.

All three cases are true. I know, because the guy is none other than yours truly.

I suppose I could simply laugh off these incidents, saying, “Cats will be cats.” The creatures are independent, after all, and they will do whatever they want, whenever they want. That’s the price I pay for living with felines.

But, there is just one problem. I don’t own a cat, and I don’t want to. Somebody else’s pet is responsible for these socially reprehensible behaviors. I am the one, however, to suffer the stench, the chrome removing acid bath on my hubcaps, the little gift I find in my grass when I am mowing and the occasional litter from a neighborhood trash bag that has been torn apart and drug onto my property.

It’s not that I absolutely hate cats. I’ve been known to sit down and pet one occasionally. I’m not allergic, though some members of my family are. I even feel bad when one gets run over on the highway or street. At least for a few minutes.

But, I have made a conscious effort not to keep a cat. So, I think it is a violation of my civil rights to have to put up with the aftermath of someone else’s pet.

Cats are costing me money, too. I have to rent a Dumpster from the city to keep my trash safely out of reach. Without stray animals, I wouldn’t have to worry about it.

I’ve been forced to replace hubcaps because of highly acidic cat urine taking off the chrome finish.

I’ve shelled out countless coins at the car wash to keep my vehicles from smelling like rolling litter boxes.

The question remains, then, what can a cat-free citizen do to ensure that his or her property is not defiled by feline critters? The answer is…probably nothing.

Though I believe I would be perfectly within my rights to defend my property by any means necessary, I don’t really want to hurt the cats.

I read once that a person could stand behind the corner of a house and spray any felines that wander by with cold water. Cats hate cold water, after all. But, that doesn’t seem like a very efficient method. I have a big yard, and I can’t be outside all day defending my boundaries.

I’ve considered finding out to whom these animals belong and going to the owners’ residences and leaving my personal mark on their cars much as the tomcats leave on my porch and even my front door.

I reckon there is some law against a human taking such action, however. I can live without that sort of…exposure.

I suppose the best I can do is complain about it to anyone who will listen. That doesn’t seem like much, though.

I could run around like a maniac, shooing them off my yard whenever I catch them in my garden or garage. But, I know what would happen.

I would see them on the neighbor’s front porch, grinning that self-satisfied grin of theirs, making fun of me when they get together with all their feline friends.

You know how they are.

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