Saturday, April 7, 2018

Mystery of the home invasion

     The grown-ups failed to investigate why the cat bowl was empty. It happened several days in a row.
    When the big people went to the kitchen the first thing each morning, no light bulbs went off in their heads.
     Something was very, very wrong.
     When the full story came out in the feline social media world, it was posted that the grown-ups in charge had bombed at detective methodology 101. They were put to shame with tweets and hashtags paws down condemning their inexcusable laxness.
     All those dozens of mysteries that the grown-ups had read over the years must not have sunk in to hone their sleuthing skills when decisive action was most needed during an emergency.
     Simply put, animals are predictable. Humans should know when something is not right with their pets and go on alert.

     Dickens, the sole tiger cat and ruler of the grown-ups at this particular house, has a habit. He leaves three to four pellets of dry cat food in his metal bowl as a “just in case measure” whenever he gets low on food. He’s been that way forever since he was collected from the Hornell Humane Society as a 6-week old kitten.
     What was going on?
     Dickens was not gaining weight. His bowl sat cleaned out daily.
     The grown ups never put two-and-two together, and certainly neither of them had a cat’s curiosity. Sorry, I couldn’t help tossing that pun in there.
     A neighboring black cat was in the yard howling during previous weeks and hanging out on the back porch making a general nuisance of himself. The big people tried to “shoo” him away to no avail. A search for his owners came up empty.  
     Dickens has one of those magnetic collars that allow him entrance through his magic “Harry Potter” pet door. He is used to running in quickly and going out at will at all hours of the night. He leaves behind his perceived enemies, and in the country, there are a lot of those critters roaming at night believe you me.
     Little Dickens, as he is often referred, weighing in at nearly12 pounds, is not one to have tons of cat and dog friends. That’s not his nature, and he doesn’t score high on the sociability charts. Most others in the neighborhood have lost interest in him and found other playmates.
     Not this particular black cat. He had a determined streak.
     Animals are opportunists. The black cat obviously had watched Dickens make swift entries and tried himself to get through, but to no avail. Possibly he almost made it on Dickens’ tail before the door slammed shut.
     He banged and rattled. He was a patient one, and finally wriggled at the door probably worn out after 11 years of use. and gained entry at midnight. That’s a perfect time for a black cat, right?
     There was another theory: the black cat also had a magnet collar.
     Dickens’ caregivers didn’t know how many days this had been happening.
     The black cat began coming in and out without a fight from Dickens, a peace-loving boy, who was providing sanctuary instead.
     Meanwhile, the grown ups slept through the home invasions without a notion that extra feet were walking on the carpet down the side hall to the kitchen for nourishment and back outside.
     One of the grown-ups insisted that their house had been compromised. There was an eerie feel about the place. The other grown-up couldn’t believe it was possible, but basically took measures to appease the worrier of the two.
     First, the grown-up put the trail camera in the kitchen aiming at Dickens’ food bowl. The first night Dickens came to his bowl twice. The second two pictures showed a darker cat munching away.
      How could that black cat have gained entrance? Neither of the grown-ups believed what they saw even though every move was recorded as proof.
     Finally, the bigger of the two grown-ups put the trail camera on the inside of the house aiming at the pet door, and set up a ringer to go off with entry. Using a cell phone app, activity could be monitored. The second grown-up got the “willies” at the thought of having a stranger lurking in the house.
     That night with the plan in place, the female of the two grown-ups could hardly sleep. Sure enough, at twelve o’clock the chime went off and the nervous grown-up bolted up in bed.  Low and behold, there was a video on her cell phone of the black cat coming in quietly and walking down the hall like he owned the joint. The one grown-up alerted the other grown-up.  
     Waiting for the perfect moment so as not to scare the cat too much and have a major fight on hand, the unafraid grown-up opened the back door. The cat fled. The scared stiff grown-up huddled in bed under the covers.
     The distressed grown-ups decided to take drastic measures. One installed a brand new pet door. The other informed Dickens that there would be a lock down after dark and he would no longer have freedom for his nightlife.
     The black cat tried to gain entry for a couple more nights, and then gave up. He wasn’t welcome anymore. Word must have gotten out in the neighborhood not to mess with those homeowners.
     Mr. Dickens is nothing worse for the adventure, and he is eating well now that he has the daily rations to himself. He’s calmer the grown-ups suspect, too, and is adjusting to staying inside. The grown-ups feel less threatened, too, by uninvited 4-legged creatures. Life goes on.