Never trust a catYou can never trust a cat, especially the one that lives in my house.

Don’t get me wrong. He is furry and cute and even sleeps next to me at night, but he’s a serial killer! His latest victim was a baby bunny that he somehow extracted from underneath the deck of our screened porch. Smudge, the cat, has now been banned from the porch and all outdoor activities. That hasn’t stopped the deception, though. He managed to sneak out a few weeks ago and enjoyed an evening of freedom that created turmoil for us and our neighbors.

Even after two years of living in a luxury indoor suite with every amenity a cat could want, Smudge still has not changed his ways. He cannot be trusted. He managed to sneak past everyone, including the dog one recent night. We didn’t realize that he was gone until after 10 p.m. We armed ourselves with flashlights and walked to the neighbor’s house where he used to hang out before the house arrest. Previously, it wasn’t much of a concern as we knew where he was and knew that he was enclosed in a fenced area that isn’t accessible by many predators, including us. The property is secured with a really loud alarm. Somehow he knows this. We tried coaxing him out with treats. He got just within reach, rolled in the dirt and ran back underneath the porch. It was just enough of a teaser to make us mad. Cats can push buttons!

Previously, there was no one living there. But now, Tom and Jean live there with three donkeys named Mop Top, Magnolia, and Dolly; a horse named Red; and a huge, friendly dog named Ranger. I don’t know what Smudge was thinking, but he scampered happily underneath the porch despite the fact that he hasn’t even met the new neighbors. My spouse, Mike, and I resorted to shining our flashlights into the yard and probably a window. Our desperate searching was rewarded with two glowing cat eyes. We didn’t dare trespass because of the alarm thing. We witnessed an act of defiance in the form of a large cat rolling in the dirt. Never trust a cat!

I spent the night on the couch waiting for the repercussions of the cat’s late-night antics. Sure enough, it started raining. I thought Smudge would probably wait out the storm underneath the porch, but I couldn’t sleep anyway because the roof began to leak. When I got up to find a bucket and opened the front door, there was a very wet and defiant cat meowing loudly. He let me know of his displeasure at being inconvenienced. Cats are not rational.

Even our dog, Tess, is wary. She has learned to respect the cat and allow him to do what he does best, even though we are not sure what that is. She desperately tries to block his aberrant behavior but knows that he is in charge. Tess is learning respect, despite the fact that the cat is devious. He can be a bit of a loose cannon, but she has learned to be flexible and somewhat tolerant. Although she really wants to play rough, protocol demands that she learn to coexist peacefully with him, despite the fact that they disagree on just about everything. Smudge cannot continue on his sneaky path as everyone knows his motives. His shadiness is often countered by blatantly announcing his intentions, but he can change paths in a heartbeat. We have learned to never trust a cat and some politicians. Just saying.

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