We have new next-door neighbors who have two cats, Ben and Jerry. The amount of excitement this has brought to our own cat’s life is incredible.
The dividing line between our properties is composed of a few trees, a bunch of underbrush, our compost pile, and a few stray tennis balls. As far as the cats are concerned, this line is more important than the Berlin Wall, Great Wall of China, and Maginot Line put together. If a cat is out in one yard, then the cat on the other side (whether also out in the yard, or just looking through the window) will use constant vigilance to monitor whether one molecule of neighbor cat crosses into his own territory.
Jerry doesn’t come into our yard too much. Mostly this is because he’s the color of pine needles, and one day when he was lurking unseen by our compost pile, I accidentally threw used cat litter at him. Oops.
Ben is a different story. He is pretty bold about coming into our yard, and Happy has chased him back out at least twice. They haven’t touched each other, but the chase seems to inspire them both. Then on Monday, I was out in the yard with Happy when suddenly Ben appeared by the road, on the far side of our yard from his own. Ben saw Happy. Happy saw Ben. And all three of us instantly realized, “Oh crap. Ben has got to cross our entire yard to get back to his. Now what?”
The two cats stared at each other. And stared. Snoopy and the Red Baron couldn’t have done it any better. Then suddenly Ben started running along the road, parallel to our yard. Happy ran up toward the road and started following Ben. Ben swerved left and ran full-tilt across the middle of our yard, with Happy streaking along just a couple feet behind Ben, and me running along behind Happy.
Ben crashed through the underbrush into his yard, safe. Happy actually stopped pursuing him at the very edge of our yard; I was so relieved. And then he trotted back toward the house, immensely proud of himself, with his tail puffed up to 5 times its normal size due to all the adrenaline.