Monday, October 17, 2011

Fitz's Kingdom



Every morning, after his breakfast of course, Fitz is biting at the bit to get thru the back screen door to go out and explore the new day.
He is wagging his butt, swishing his tail and staring at me with big dark baleful saucer eyes that are the cutest that he can possibly create.

The rule is:  Fitz cannot go outside till I can see some grey light immerging from the dawn’s darkness.   
Scary monsters in the way of gargantuan raccoons, mean feral cats and who knows what else lurk outside the screen door in the dark night. 
Fitz does not share his mom’s fears.
He meows softly but piteously in a questioning voice and prances by the door till I see the grey dawn, say ok and slide open the screen.

Then he takes a running leap into the unknown.

Now, he has surprised himself a few times once landed, when he feels the pattering of raindrops over his back.  He stops in his kitty tracks, looks up, looks back at me very accusingly and proceeds to leap back into the house.
Having found him on the side of the road under a bridge 6 years ago when he was already almost a year old, you would think a little water would be no bother.  How soon one forgets.

But in most cases, the weather is fine.  Lifting his head, sniffing the air in various directions, he is off.

Some days I follow at a discreet distance.
He has his route.

First the patio, he checks between the pots of plants, under the steps, and then the border of the fence, peering thru the cracks every so often to see what can be seen on the other side.  Next, the lawn.  Center of the lawn first for a wide perspective, then the lavender bush borders, stopping to sniff intently at certain spots where he has laid his scent the day before, making sure he is still the predominate smell and not some interlopers’ in the night.  He re-marks if necessary, which usually it is, his face scrunched up in utter concentration and disgust that some thing dared to enter his territory in the night and tried to claim it as their own.

Peering under the crack beneath the gate, he decides to either forcefully squeeze his rather large frame under or take the easier route over the fence, laying his scent again in the way of stretching out and scratching the top of the fence, always in the same place.

Over the fence and into the real world then, where he expects interlopers, he heads underneath the car for safe viewing, then onto the drive and up to the mailbox at the edge of his world.
Sniffing the bordering bushes, he peers left, then right down the sidewalk, then across the road. 
Looking back towards me, I wag a warning finger in his direction, should he have any idea in his little brain to try to cross that wide expanse…and back down the driveway he comes, stopping at his favorite spot to roll in the dusty hole he has created next to the geraniums, luxuriously stretching and rolling until thoroughly saturated.

Do cats share pig genes?

At this point, as long as I feel all the boogey animals of the night have gone to their burrows, I leave him be to explore at will.  Usually he heads to the back of the house or if I am right there, leaping up onto the doorway rail and up onto the garage roof where he knows mom cannot follow.

I am confident in the knowledge that in another hour or so, he will be coming to join me in my office, once again choosing the safe life of inside…wanting to be brushed and scratched all over, and to rest comfortably on his pillow next to me on my desk, watching through the window, people and dogs walking by on the path below and the meanderings of the sheep on the farm across the valley.

His kingdom is secure.

                                                                                                           copyright Stepka 2011