Friday, June 8, 2012

Cats and Coyotes

David got up early on Friday morning even though he wasn’t working.  He wanted to fish, but didn’t want to stand around in 90° heat while he was doing it.  After a quick breakfast he pulled his fishing gear out from under the RV and put it in the rental car.  He called to Rudy and LT to hop in for some fishing at Lake Pottawatomie #2.  The cats, who had been lazing in the shade of the awning, jumped to their feet and ran to the car.  He opened a back seat door, and invited them in.  “You two behaved beautifully in the RV and I expect that same behavior in this car.  No jumping on the back of my neck or lap while I’m driving, you hear?  I don’t want us to get into an accident.”  The cats stared inscrutably at him, and he hoped they would listen. 

He took off down the road, following the directions he’d found on the internet.  It wasn’t too long a ride and he narrated his directions as he drove.  “Well, we’re heading west and south, kitties, directly through Pottawatomie proper.  I know you two are quite interested in this town, so I thought I’d let you know.  As he narrated his turns the cats were each glued to one of the side windows.  Mostly they saw fields, both cultivated and fallow.  There was the occasional house, usually set far back from the road.  They could see why Sheba had said they’d die of thirst before they’d get to the first house.  Cats didn’t carry water bottles, and there didn’t seem to be a lot of streams on their route.  At one point Rudy called LT over to her side of the car. 

“Look, LT, cats.  I can see cats.  A bunch of them, under that tree. Do you see them?”  LT raced over and agreed that there were at least five cats in the shade of a tree.  They looked contented enough.  LT wished he could talk to them though.  As David continued, LT spotted a house fairly near the road with a small house next to it, one that would be too small for humans to live in.

“Rudy – do you think that might be one of those special houses for cats?  It’s small, just like Bunny said.  And look, there’s a cat in front of it!”  Rudy raced over and looked longingly at the house.  She wished someone would build her a house like that.  LT had two houses the Daddy had built for him – a winter one and a summer one.  No one had ever built her a house. 

A mile or two on LT spotted a sign at the side of the road that said  ‘Kitty’s Beauty Shop’.  He made a squawk and Rudy raced over.  “Well, that settles it.  This is definitely the place, even if they don’t spell very well.  It should be ‘Kitties’ Beauty Shop’ but some humans don’t even spell as well as I do.” 

David was greatly amused by how much the cats were enjoying the ride.  When he saw the Beauty Shop sign he commented, “Hey, I should make an appointment for the two of you there.  A kitty beauty shop.  We’ll I’ll be….”  A minute or two later he announced that they were now in Blue Township.  The cats settled down on the seats and considered their findings. 

Pottawatomie Lake #2 was just a few miles further on, and David pulled into the entry road and slowly scoped out the lake.  He was looking for largemouth bass, and this lake was known for them.  He drove slowly until he saw a promising spot with patches of brush growing right up to the water.  He parked the car, leaving the back windows open.  He invited the cats out, explaining that the windows were open so they could get in or out as they pleased.  He filled a low wide water bowl from his water jug and toted his rod and tackle to the shoreline.

The two cats looked at each other.  Should they fish?  There didn’t seem to be any other people around where David had parked, so maybe they should explore first.  They hadn’t passed any houses on the road in, but that didn’t mean there weren’t cats around.  Cats might come here specifically to fish.  Maybe their humans even drove their cats here so they could fish.  That would be a very Pottawatomie type thing.    So, they headed east along the shoreline, looking back every now and then to see if they could still see David.  They rounded a bend and came out in a treeless area that stretched as far as they could see ahead of them.  The tree line veered off to the right and LT climbed a small mound to look towards the trees.  He thought he’d seen some movement in the underbrush, but wasn’t able to tell what it was. 

He called Rudy over and the two stood still, looking into the trees.  From behind them they heard a faint voice call, “I can see you two all the way down there.  Don’t go too far – remember, I have to send photos of you two home every night.”  At the sound of David’s voice there was movement in the trees.  LT had looked back in David’s direction, but Rudy had continued staring into the trees.  There was definitely two somethings there, dogs perhaps? 

The cats conferred and decided to try greeting whoever it was in the trees.  LT called out, “Hello?  We’re two cats, visiting from New Jersey and we’re looking for cats who live in Pottawatomie.  Do you know any?” 

This was answered by a laughing howl, or a howling laugh, LT wasn’t sure which.  “There might have been some cats in Pottawatomie, but I ate them all.  I think I might eat the two of you also.”  At that, two coyotes stepped out of the trees and posed.  Rudy and LT turned and raced off at top speed back towards David.  Rudy, who although she was younger, was not as fit as LT, was in the rear.  She turned when they were about half-way back to David and saw the coyotes standing on the shore of the lake, laughing. They weren’t chasing the cats at all. 

Rudy stopped, panting and called to LT.  The two of them looked back at the coyotes who called, “Get back to your human, little cats.  I’m giving you a chance at life.  You wouldn’t want not to be there to have your pictures taken tonight would you?”  The coyote was definitely laughing at them.  Rudy bristled, and opened her mouth, but LT swatted at her.

“Don’t answer.  Just don’t answer.  They’re baiting you, Rudy.  Turn around and let’s just walk back like nothing’s wrong.  I don’t want to worry David.”  The cats sauntered stiffly down the lakeshore. 

David had heard the coyote’s call and looked up in the direction the cats had gone.  When he saw the two coyotes on the shore he dropped his rod and ran towards the cats yelling and waving his arms.  Coyotes didn’t like humans, especially loud obnoxious ones.  They melted back into the trees, and David reached the cats, panting.  “Stay close to me, would you?  I read there were wild animals here, but figured the predators would be nocturnal.  I guess I was wrong.  Come on, cats.”

The three walked back to where David had dropped his fishing rod.  It had been dragged partway into the water, and the lure was gone.  David stomped and swore.  “That was my second best spinner, guys, and you made me lose it.” He looked sternly at the cats.  “Well, at least I know there are fish here.”  He took out another lure and attached it to his line. 

The cats walked back to the car and had a long drink of water.  It wasn’t too hot yet, but it had been a dusty walk down the shoreline.  LT hopped into the car for a nap, and Rudy went back to keep David company.  Rudy decided that David must be a good fisherman, because he pulled four good sized fish out of the lake within the next two hours, and threw back at least a dozen.  Finally he got up, stretched and announced that it was getting too hot out here for him.  He packed up his stuff and stowed it in the car. 

The ride back seemed a lot shorter, and with the heat, Rudy and LT didn’t see any cats in Pottawatomie.  That was okay, they knew now that they were there.  Maybe they could even figure out a way to meet them, if they were lucky. 

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