This is a tale of two kitties, plus four. One might also say it?s a cautionary tail, pun intended.
Neighbors Mike and Mollie?not their real names?live across the street from each other and are good friends. Mike owns two female cats, Tomasita and Jeri, orphaned when their mother fell victim to a predator while searching for food in the countryside.
Upon discovering their plight and realizing they would not survive much longer, Mike rescued the kittens from certain death. They grew and flourished while in his care.
Mollie owns a Labrador Retriever and enjoys evening walks around town with her golden-fleeced troubadour.
Fast forward to the time after both females have kittens. Tomasita gives birth to four healthy kittens. Jeri, however, did not fare well during the birthing process. Only one kitten survived and the new mother would not care for it. Barely 36 hours old, the tiny kitten ceased to exist.
Four months later, Tomasita and her kittens are doing fine. They are a delight to watch as they scamper around the yard, playing with each other and enjoying the spring of their lives.
One summer day, Tomasita disappears. Mike makes a whistling call that the cats and kittens are trained to respond when they hear it. The kittens come, but the mother does not appear.
A week later, Mike discovers the kittens have disappeared without a trace.
Later that day, Mike and Mollie meet on the street.
?Mollie, have you seen Tomasita and her kittens?? Mike asks.
?No. Have you looked in your yard, under the deck? That?s where I always see them playing,? Mollie says.
?She?s not anywhere.? Mike replies. ?It?s a week since she disappeared and today, the kittens are gone. In two weeks, they were to be taken to a new home in the country.?
?I?m so sorry, Mike.? Mollie hesitates for a moment, then continues: ?I?ve been meaning to tell you, but a couple weeks ago, some neighbors were complaining about your kittens, that they were doing their ?business? in their yard. They were threatening to take them and your adult cats away to the country, and there was talk about putting them down.?
?You?re kidding!? Mike responds. ?I?ve seen the kittens in the neighbor?s yard, but never realized they were doing that. Why did they not come to me directly and tell me this??
?Well, you know how some people are about cats. They hate them about as much as they hate skunks and other varmits, and they think it?s their God given right to intervene in anyone?s life as they see fit,? Mollie says with a smile. ?You should feel lucky I don?t feel that way.?
?I am lucky, and I thank you for that,? Mike responds. ?The irony of this is there are more dogs living on this city block than cats by a long shot, and we have to put up with these dogs yipping at all hours of the day or night and nobody seems to mind. No offense, Mollie. Your dog is well behaved.?
?None taken,? Mollie says with a laugh. Her dog, Regis, cocks his head to one side and makes a short yelp, as if to take issue with Mike?s general condemnation of the local K-9 corps.
?By the way,? Mollie adds, ?some time ago, while at the grocery store, I overheard a conversation about a woman in the community that captures felines by enticing them with food mixed with a drug. She has them fixed before releasing and even puts some of them down. I did not hear a name, they were in another aisle and there was a lot of noise. Perhaps they think she is doing them and the community a big favor.?
?You?ve got to be kidding!? replies Mike, agitated at the thought of someone taking the law into his or her own hands. ?That?s theft of property, isn?t it? At the very least it can be ruled deprivation of property, don?t you think??
?I don?t know about that,? Mollie says. ?Perhaps it?s just a silly rumor. However, I know how I would feel if someone were to come onto my yard, take Regis and do away with him. It?s just plain wrong!?
?You got that right,? Mike adds. ?By the way, I was in the back yard the other day and this dog ran into my yard, growling and barking at me as if I?m the intruder. I?ve even found little piles of dog poop in my yard, but so far have not registered any complaint. From now on, I?m not going to be so polite when these things happen again.?
?You won?t do anything crazy, will you?? Mollie asks.
?No, nothing crazy. It?s not my style,? replies Mike as the stern look on his face changes into a devious grin. ?I think I?ll get a couple dozen cats and take over this block in six months.?