Desmond is a cute guy with light green eyes who lives without a care in the world.
He comes and goes as he pleases, wandering from house to house as if he owns them.
Occasionally, you’ll see him sitting on a step, a green patch of lawn or a sidewalk, basking in the sun, with total strangers taking the time to stop, smile and chat.
Sometimes, you’ll see him basking on the roof of my car.
Desmond is a cat.
He’s a cute cat.
A cute cat who likes shiny cars.
Up until now it had been a once-a-week ritual of peacefully and politely removing the furry little creature and sending him on his way.
Scare him off the car and you can kiss your paint goodbye.
Claws bad. Kitty bad.
“Scoot little fella! Go sleep somewhere else, okaayyyyyyy?”
Apparently, Desmond doesn’t want to sleep anywhere else. He’s happy where he is. And, quite frankly, he doesn’t care what I want. He’s a cat, after all.
“OK, scoot … c’mon, don’t you have some bugs or something to chase?”
Desmond leaves — or so I think — but makes it quite clear that if he really wanted to, he would stay put. Pesky humans.
Later that night, a light shower doused my sleepy neighborhood. I got off the sofa to take out some trash, only to discover a completely different kind of love: love with a negative exponential value.
There was Desmond, sitting beside the car, not on top of it.
Something was amiss.
I look at the car only to see four muddy paw prints on the slippery windshield … and skid marks — which lead to claw marks — that extend half way down the hood.
I look at the cat.
The cat looks at me.
The cat makes a break for it.
“That’s right, run, you little …”
The cursing must have been a sight to behold. I’m sure it looked as though I was having car trouble, the kind of car trouble where insane yelling would obviously be of some benefit.
The drizzle slowly melts away the mud, perhaps an attempt from the heavens above to soothe the pain. My pain. The car’s pain. Soon to be the cat’s pain.
Of course, I love cats. Indoor cats. Desmond obviously is not one of those, but, when presented with a bill for damage, his owners just might make the switch.
Luckily, the scratches were confined to the clear coat that covers the pretty red color coat. Luckily, I know Desmond’s owners … and luckily, they coughed up the $80 it took to buff the hood.
I say “luckily,” because there’s nothing preventing other outdoor cats from damaging your car.
The whole phenomenon of the “outdoor cat” is intriguing when you think about it.
By law, dogs are on leashes in most urban/suburban centers, which keeps them from digging up your flowers, doing their business on your lawn, tearing through your garbage bags … or falling asleep on the roof of your car.
These rules simply do not apply to Desmond. He digs up the garden, uses it as a toilet, eats the garbage and, most definitely, sleeps on the roof of my car — and who knows how many others in the run of a day.
He’s like the raccoon that was removed from the neighborhood for the same kind of mischief. However, Desmond, for some reason, gets to stay.
To me, that makes him more of a problem than any dog — except for the potential of being eaten alive by a really, really big dog — yet, there he is again, loitering in the flower bed at the front of the house as I write this. Hmm, I guess I know where the mud on the windshield came from.
I’m happy that Desmond’s owners took responsibility for the situation, but, really, did it have to happen in the first place?
The neighbor’s dog is jealous of Desmond’s freedom-without-consequence lifestyle. Heck, I’m even envious. I can only imagine falling asleep on the roof of that Lexus RX330 parked across the street, or the 1964 Chevy Impala that just drove by. Can you imagine the look on the owners’ startled faces? Just how much morning coffee would spew forth from their nostrils when confronted with a grown woman sliding down the hood, claws slicing through the vehicle’s crimson paint?
Of course, I would just yawn and tell them that the mud will wash off.
“Quick, call the cops!”
So, it would appear that no one can get away with it other than Desmond. I’m not sure whether to be jealous or angry. You could use the argument that cats don’t know any better, but the reality is that the owners don’t either, or they just don’t care.
Until that changes, I guess I’ll just keep on handing out repair bills.
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