E called her mom to find out how a medical appointment went. The cat started yowling, so I decided to take him outside and give E some peace and quiet for her discussion. I called the cat over to the back door and opened it. Three things happened simultaneously:
1) I realized that a garter snake had gotten under the storm door and was curled up in between the storm door and back door.
2) The snake realized it now had an opportunity to slither into the house.
3) The cat realized he now had an opportunity to catch a snake without even going outside.
Fortunately, my reflexes were the fastest of the three of us, and I got the back door closed again with the snake still outside and the cat still inside. Unfortunately for E’s phone call, there was some screaming involved at this point.
I wanted to make sure the snake was not still waiting to slither inside, so the cat and I headed out the front door, and I hurried around to the back. I confirmed that the snake was gone from the doorway, then backtracked to the side yard just as the cat caught a shrew. The cat was quite proud of this feat, as usually it takes a lot of patient waiting to catch a rodent, and he nabbed this one in under 2 minutes. Unfortunately, “quite proud” also meant that he wanted to bring it inside the house, and when I refused that option, he wanted to trot around the yard with it for a while before crouching down to eat it. I finally had to resort to picking the cat up by his back haunches, letting him hang head-down, then jiggling him up and down gently until he dropped the rodent.
I turned the cat upright and carried him up to the house. Just as I shoved him in the back door, I saw a tick crawling on his chest. That’s got to be a record: two minutes outside to get both a shrew and a tick. So I grabbed a paper towel and then the cat and I darted back outside. I scooped up the rodent, flung it in the woods, dropped the towel in the compost bin, then tried to catch the cat. At this point, he didn’t know why I wanted to catch him. He just knew I was a killjoy who’d deprived him of both a snake and a shrew. So I had to chase him around the rose garden for a while (his go-to spot to elude me, since he’s willing to step on flowers but I’m not), before I could nab him and pluck off the tick.
At that point, we could finally get on with my original plan, which involved him quietly sitting outside and staring at a rustling bush, while I sat on the back stoop watching him and reading my book.