There is a house that we pass every morning when walking the dogs. It is a lovely Edwardian, just half a block from a park. The windows are stained glass, the garden is expertly arranged with flowers all in shades of blue and purple or white. Along the sidewalk, someone has embedded a mosiac in the concrete, all bits of old plates and cups and fishbowl stones, also in shades of blue and purple.
A house like this wouldn’t be complete without a cat on the front porch and this place normally has at least two or three. That’s because the folks who like here regularly leave a dish of cat food out, either at the top or the bottom of the stairs to the porch.
Of course, cat food isn’t just attractive to cats, and in a city with an extraordinary amount of urban wildlife, other visitors often stop by for a snack.
In the spring, it was a skunk. Twice we came very close to running head-on into it, and only by dragging the dog at a gallop, or pulling her into the street did we escape the inevitable tomato juice bath. On a third occasion, a school bus driver stopped us when we were about a half block away and warned us, enabling us to cross the street and avoid what the dogs are sure is a lovely fluffy black and white cat.
Over the past couple of weeks, someone else has been enjoying the catfood. Two or three times now, we’ve seen a big fat raccoon bolt over the porch railing as we approached on the sidewalk, that little burglar mask peering out at us from a gap between the porch railing and the garage of the house next door.
One morning though, he was too intent on his breakfast, and as we came upon the walkway to this house, found him contentedly sitting on the porch with the bowl of catfood evenly spaced between him and a fat orange tabby. I have no idea who was more surprised, them or us, and I’m sure I saw a look of embarrassment pass both of their faces at getting caught noshing with the enemy. I guess it’s not really stealing if the rightful owner is willing to share.