Dave Rice 2:29 p.m., Dec. 5
As I watched Mushroom jump the fence into his own yard, I thought about the unfairness of it all. Tundra was such a sweet cat, it just didn’t seem right that he had to suffer at the paws of the feline thug next door. I hoped that Mushroom’s beating up Tundra was a one-time incident.
But it wasn’t. It happened again and again. At first it happened only a few times a week. Then it happened more days than it didn’t happen. When it began to happen every day I knew we had a real problem.
Boyd continued to come into our yard even after Mushroom moved in, but Mushroom and Boyd never fought. They seemed to have an understanding. They were both big cats, and size for size they were equally matched. Maybe Mushroom sensed there was something potentially dangerous about Boyd and felt it prudent to leave him alone. If Mushroom had witnessed Boyd’s display with the Elizabethan collar, that surely would have convinced him not to provoke Boyd. Or perhaps Mushroom found no fun in attacking an opponent who would just lie on the grass with his eyes closed. Whatever the reason, Mushroom never bothered Boyd, and Boyd was allowed to lounge in our yard all day if he felt like it.
Mushroom left Elaine alone too. He was a bully, but apparently he was also a gentleman. Though Mushroom never sought out a fight with Elaine, he had fought Tundra and Elaine on more than one occasion. When Mushroom cornered Tundra and forced him into a fight, if Elaine was present she would rush to Tundra’s aid. Mushroom then, though not by his own choosing, would battle both of our cats. And he would do it expertly. It was as if he were a feline martial artist. He could keep Elaine at bay without really hurting her, though she was trying her best to hurt “him,” and at the same time he would efficiently beat the hell out of Tundra.
Tundra still wasn’t able to handle himself in a scrap, even with Elaine helping him. He was uncoordinated and struck with no timing or power. He was inept, and he knew it.
It soon got to the point that every single time Tundra went out into the yard Mushroom, within minutes, appeared, ready to administer a thrashing. Eventually Tundra refused to go outside. But what could we do? Our hands were tied. It would sound silly if we asked Josie and Ron to keep Mushroom locked up in their house. Or sillier yet, ask them if they could just reason with him: “Uh, say, Josie, Ron, do you think you could ask your cat to leave our cat alone?”
Sometimes I threw Tundra out in the yard and shut the door. I felt that it was for his own good. Almost immediately he’d begin to scratch at the door and meow mournfully. “Merrrrooooooow!” he’d cry.
When this happened I would always picture a cartoon cat standing on his rear legs and pounding on a door with his fists while looking fearfully over his shoulder. “Pleeeaase! For the love of God, let me in!” Tundra might as well have been an injured gazelle bleating on the veldt, and I knew the hungry lion next door, Mushroom, his ears pricking up, would soon close in for the kill. After a few more minutes of Tundra’s wailing, the guilt just got to be too much for me. I’d open the door and he’d shoot inside and hide beside the couch. After I’d let Tundra in, it always seemed to me as if he should have said something appropriate, like, “Whew! ‘That’ was close!” or, “Don’t you ever do that again!”
Here's a picture of Boyd relaxing on our couch.
In # 5, April gets involved.