Sunday, August 15, 2010

Don't Pick on the Big Boy

There was a big fight at our house this morning; no not us, well that's not quite true, it was one of us, and one of the neighbours.

That young upstart of a mouser, Mr. Blue, who lives next door, has the very bad habit of taunting Salvador. Just out of reach, he walks on Salvador's pathway, sharpens his nails on Salvador's favorite log in the garden, climbs Salvador's tree, and strolls leisurely across the clear roof of our deck, driving Salvador absolutely around the bend. In this photo Sal watches Blue walk across the deck roof.

Our evening walks have become little more than searches for Blue, and when Sal sees his furry nemesis the walk turns into something very like keeping a giant sailfish or marlin on the hook, after it's taken your bait.

Sal can swivel sideways, slip his harness, and be gone, in an eyeblink. To prevent that from happening you must keep the leash taut enough so that he cannot turn sideways. If you relax for an instant he's off.

So far, any time he's managed to slip the leash Blue has made it to safety before Sal caught him. One time Sal leapt up and smacked Blue on the bottom as he was sleeping on the covered BBQ grill standing near the fence next door. No claws, just one mighty thwack! He was mighty pleased with himself.

This morning I headed for the community garden to pick tomatoes, and Tony said he'd follow so we could water. I was happily picking tomatoes when our neighbour on that side called to me and said, "There's a big cat fight going on out there in front of my place!"

I hurried around but by the time I got there nothing was happening at all, other than Tony chatting with the neighbours. But I learned that Sal had rushed out between Tony's feet as he opened the door. Blue was lying in the grass not six feet from our deck. Sal had been standing up on his back feet, watching Blue enjoy that nice cool patch of his grass. And he'd been grousing about it. Cats and people - very territorial.

Blue may have been asleep, at any rate Sal landed on top of him and began cuffing him and swearing in Catanese. Tony said you couldn't actually see Blue, buried under Salvador's bulk, but you could hear him shrieking like he was being killed.

Tony grabbed Sal, who did not resist, and carried him back in the house. Blue headed out for territories yet undiscovered. Sal huffed around the house for a while, then had a snack and laid down for a nap. He was too tightly wound to be examined for injuries, but didn't have anything obvious. Art has since said they've gone over Blue carefully and he doesn't have a scratch on him, so 21-pound Sal must have been cuffing five pound Blue with a soft-paw as he read him the riot act.

I have an idea that Blue may be more respectful from now on. Just a theory. Last year Elvis kept hissing at Sal, when Sal was trying to be friends, until Sal finally walked up to Elvis, hauled off and slapped him. Then Elvis rolled over on his back, showed Sal his belly and said, "Hey, I've got an idea! Let's be buddies. You can be boss!"

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