Inside-Outside

Max, inside

Monday, June 08, 2020

My cat, Maxwell, hasn’t been allowed outside for a several weeks. He’s unhappy and to be honest me, too. Max has been with me for ten years, the first few as an “outside only” (to guard the chicken coop), but along the way has transitioned his residency to “inside-outside” status.

Over the years, my property has had a steadily decreasing tiny-wild critter population because my cat is an expert killer. For example, bunches of chipmunks that used to run around have disappeared. For another, Max drags kills into my garage, or if he’s locked outside, under a vehicle, leaving partially-destroyed such as baby bunnies and birds.

He can spot possibilities. In spring, as birds create nests up high in the barn, Max finds their locations and checks then frequently hoping to make invasions, see critters fall from nests, and pounce on unaware fledglings.

Max is friendly, lovable, and a too-good killer. I’ve yearned for healthy chipmunks again living here. I’ve wanted not to discover Max’s captured-remains. Now, this spring, my cat is inside-only, and can’t even slip out with the dogs.

Now walking around, I enjoy the lizards without fearing the cat. My lizard population is great because Max annually decimates many. Another good is a just-weaned bunny that’s begun hanging around without falling to Max’s intent. When Max spots the bunny through a window, he’s into capture mode–body tense, emitting threatening low growls.

A bunny population may be problematic, but this new resident is welcome as incoming critter diversity. My wild bird population newly has, here on my desert landscape, a bath for splashing. I’ll be watching, along with Max.

My cat will be inside-only and it’s okay for he’s middle-aged, has had plenty of fun. This change will keep him healthier, longer-living, and relatively satisfied.

Last night around midnight, my deck lit up, triggered-on by a skittering pack rat. Some critters are far less welcome than others. Maybe, after all, I’ll wind up rethinking Max’s future.

Dear Friends: As the Bard says, at times we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Diana

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