I awoke at 4:00 AM to the whimpering of my cocker spaniel, Maggie, that sleeps in our bed. We keep her on a leash to avoid midnight mischief, but I released her because I thought she needed to go outside to do her doggy business. She ran off down the hall as I slowly rose from my slumber. Before I had taken two steps, I heard the sound of unhappy pets: barking dog, hissing cats, and the sound of paws scampering and sliding all over our hardwood floors like a riot on ice skates.
I stumbled down the hall and turned on the light in the living room just as they ran passed me in a blur of fur, hissing, and speed. As this animal stampede entered my bedroom, I was able to see well enough to realize that one of those animals was not mine! I ran down the hall yelling at the animals and warning The M that "there's a strange cat in the house!" just as it came blasting back out of the bedroom. As it passed Gracie, our ill-tempered black cat, she gave the stranger a rapid-fire swatting with her claws extended: a faster-than-human kung fu, reminiscent of The Matrix.
I managed to shut our pets inside the bedroom and close the doors of the boys' bedrooms to keep the wildcat from running in and clawing their eyes out, and I opened the front door in hopes that it would run out. I left it in the front of the house, somewhere, and I went and put on blue jeans and shoes to protect myself from any claws or bites from this now-terrified strange cat. It was then I remembered how my own cats had recently started using a special "cat door", made by my son David with a soccer ball: a broken window. It dawned on me that this strange cat must have come in the same way.
It was meow-moaning in a disturbing way behind the couch in the front of the house. It pooped on the floor, presumably in fear, and I could smell it. I peered at it with a flashlight from a safe distance, and saw that it had a collar on. I think it was the neighbor's cat. I pulled up the shades to expose the broken window and found a broom with which to shoo it out. After a while it came out and jumped up on The M's desk, and then out the window.
Whew. I felt like I had put out a fire. I covered the window with a board and duct tape, something I should have done a few days ago. The weather has been so nice lately, and I have been enjoying the fresh air, but it was not worth tonight's adrenalin. After cleaning up the mess, it took me an hour to get back to sleep. But eventually, I rested peacefully, knowing that I had a story for the blog.