October 6, 2014 – I was up all night wondering if the cat treats I ate were going to cause a giant hairball to emerge somewhere on my body. It said on the package that the snacks would help prevent their occurrence, but nowhere in the fine print was any disclaimer explaining what might happen if the feline snacks were consumed by a chicken.
As soon as the sun came up, I grabbed a hand mirror and squinted at my reflection. I didn’t dare open both eyes fully in case something dreadful might be staring back at me. Instead of a hairball or a set of those ridiculous fishing-line whiskers, I am thrilled to report that I was greeted by my own sensible self. I was so relieved, that I celebrated with a 5-course breakfast consisting of night crawler granola, a blueberry muffin, a slice of warm pumpkin bread with grub cream cheese, 2 cornbread pancakes and one Romaine lettuce leaf for healthy digestion. I swilled the entire feast down with a warm cup of pine needle tea. I was feeling so good in fact, that I thought an adventure might be in order.
I didn’t have long to come up with one before Tim came skidding around the corner of the henhouse.
“You’d better find a place to hide,” he urged. “The feline, Sugar Plum found out that you ate her cat treats!”
“That’s impossible!” I replied, feeling my euphoria slipping away. “I didn’t eat all of them,” I insisted. ” I tasted a few, much to my own horror, but she practically has a full pouch leftover!”
“Where is the pouch now?” he asked looking over his shoulder.
“I don’t know,” I said honestly. “I guess I left it on the ground next to the van.”
“Well, the news that’s buzzing around the yard is that you’ve got a giant ball of yarn shooting out of your neck, and the cat is nastier than usual without her party mix. This might be a good time for you to take a vacation. Hawaii sounds nice this time of year.”
“It’s a furball, and as you can see, I’m not sporting anything but these beautiful new head feathers. Why does she think that I ate them?” I asked somewhat irritated. Not that it wasn’t true, but I couldn’t image what kind of intelligence network she was running.
“I have no idea. I picked up some chatter on my way back from Yoga Rock. Maybe you should pay her a visit.”
“ME? Pay the cat a visit?! You do realize that one of the flavors felines enjoy is chicken, don’t you?”
Tim stood there fiddling with his tie.
“I’m sorry, Tim. It’s not your fault. Thank you for filling me in. You’re right. If charges are being levied against me, it’s up to me to set the record straight.”
“Good luck,” he said in a spirited voice. “Take the Walkie Talkie with you and call me if you need back up. Wilma’s been looking for a good cat fight since the neighbor’s feline gave her the stink eye last week.”
I reluctantly grabbed my colander helmet and wrapped myself in tin foil. No sense in going in there unprotected. On my way by the van I scooped up the pouch of party mix cat treats which I inadvertently left on the driveway yesterday. The garage door was open. A fishing pole caught my eye. Perhaps there was a way around a confrontation after all.
A few minutes later, I waited at the front door. I pecked a couple of times until Mom answered.
“You might want to step aside,” I advised politely. “I’d feel terrible if you got caught in the crossfire.”
The basset hound started to bark, so Mom opened the door to let him out. I could see the cat glaring at me from the steps leading to the second floor. I had a split second to cast the rod and fling my bait in-between Mom and the door. The pack of Beachside Crunch landed at the feline’s feet along with my sincerest note of apology. The cat clawed the treat bag off my hook with a swift swipe of her paw. Then she leaned forward in a crouch over the top step as if she were going to leap over the remaining stairs and grab my very life by the neck. I held my ground. My heart was beating wildly, but I tried not to let it show. I maintained eye contact. After what seemed an eternity, the cat took the treat bag in her mouth and turned out of sight. So much for the letter of apology. It didn’t matter. I only wrote that I was sorry to hear about her scurvy and the large horn that had grown out of her tail. I also said that all of us in the backyard send our regards for a speedy recovery and that we’re sure the younger cat, Holly – (the one feline in the universe that I am actually fond of) will do great taking over as lead mouser. I’m sure Sugar will come back for the note later when I’m not standing in the doorway. Two can play at this game.
I reeled in my line and thanked Mom for her hospitality. I also put in a request for a fresh pumpkin in each of the runs. Then I headed back to Coop #3.
“How did it go?” Tim asked inquisitively.
“Dandy!” I replied, humming a pleasant tune.
“You killed the cat, didn’t you?”
“No, I did not harm the feline,” I replied removing my armor.
“You’re amazing!” he uttered proudly, before heading off to chase a chipmunk from the feeder.
Amazing, maybe. Diplomatic, perhaps. More important was the matter of who snitched on me. Was there a mole in our flock? A rat among the chicken yard? I refused to believe it. So who was the spymaster that spotted my moment of indiscretion with a tasty bag of cat snacks?
I think I’ve found my next adventure.