Blossom the Cat Stalks an Owl

Blossom the Cat Stalks an OwlThe sun’s orange brilliance was about to push through the gray of dawn.  Out for her back yard stroll, Blossom spotted Riley, her best feline friend forever, through the chain link fence that separated their yards.  Shortly Merle would appear, his fenced yard backing up to theirs.  Merle was awesome even though he was a bulldog.

Blossom scampered to the fence ready to burst with the news of Willow’s discovery the day before.  In the Hatcher’s back yard, under the birdfeeder, something pink and stringy had glistened in the grass.  Tufts of feathers lay scattered about.  Willow said the scene was straight out of a horror movie.  The pink shimmery piece had made Blossom’s skin feel like it might just crawl off her body.  So she’d searched the tree branches of the elm looming overhead, just in case.

But this morning as Blossom reached the fence and opened her mouth to blurt out her news, a soft glow caught her eye.  She looked to the birdfeeder where a form lurked beneath, possessing an eerie sheen like that of the moon’s.  A figure perched there on a small pedestal staked into the wood chip mulch surrounding the feeder’s pole.  The shape was motionless but shone white and evil and out-of-place in the gray morning light.   Blossom slitted her eyes to see better.  Her back went prickly.  She flattened herself up against the chain link fence, hoping to create more distance between her and it.

And then she knew.  Holy cat chow, it was a white owl.  An owl that had gone albino.  Or worse, an owl that was a ghost.  Or double-dog worse, a vampire owl.

“Riley!” Blossom whispered. “Check out that thing under the feeder.”

Riley joined her at the fence, nose pushing through the chain link circles.  The two stared in silence, Blossom holding her breath, not knowing what she’d do if the glowing thing turned their way.

A door squealed to their side, making them both jump.  Merle had just been let out.  After Merle did his duty, he trotted over.  “What’s up?” He turned to see what the two were gaping at.  “Whoa!”  Merle did a little hop himself.

Blossom recovered enough to remember what she’d come out to boast about.  “Yesterday Willow found a nightmare under our elm tree.”

“You mean nightmare on Elm Street,” Riley corrected.

“But you guys live on Tulip Drive,” said Merle.

“Shhh!” Blossom hissed.  How could those two be so jokey when an alien was in the yard?  Blossom donned her wise-and-all-knowing cat posture.  “You ding-dongs, it’s a vampire owl.”  She let this statement sink in.

Riley and Merle looked at each other.  Riley turned to Blossom.  “You’d better nip this in the bird,” he said.  “If you know what I mean.”

“And owl’s heads spin round, so you have to be quick,” said Merle.

“And don’t look it in the eye,” said Riley.  “It’ll hypnotize you and then bite your neck.  And if you turn into a vampire, you might want to bite Willow or . . .” Riley’s eyes went round as quarters, realizing what he’d just said.

Merle took a few steps back.  “Gee, Blossom, I’d really like to help but I can’t get into your yard.”

“Me too,” said Riley.  “But if that owl comes after you, do this.”  Riley swiped his paw down the middle of his face and then across it, making the sign of the cross.  “It will think you’re holy and hide under its wings.”

Blossom felt a nervous twitch in her back, but her friends where there, even if the fence prevented them from helping two licks.  Anyway, what really made her claws itchy was the idea that something thought it could come into her yard without asking.  Landing in the Hatcher’s yard and then killing a bird.  What a disgrace, killing birds.  If anything, that was Blossom’s job.

Blossom dug her claws into the ground.  “Wish me luck,” she said, and darted across the lawn using her cheetah strides.  She felt extra powerful as the stupid owl didn’t even turn its head in her direction, had no idea she was even coming, probably deaf to her silent tiger steps.  Adrenaline coursed through her veins like ants stampeding to a Terro trap.

Then she pounced, nails out, teeth barred, and, “Oh my gosh!” she meowed on contact.  The thing was hard as a rock, knocking every last breath from her.  The stony owl ripped from its perch, a sound like wrenching Velcro, and rolled across the grass.  It hit the metal bird feeder post with a clank, rolled a bit more and died.

“Dude!” Riley and Merle cried together.

Blossom stared in horror at the lifeless form.  She thought it funny how she listened to everything the Hatchers said but then tucked most of it in the part of her brain that wasn’t all that sharp.  It hadn’t hit her until this minute but now she recollected Mr. H saying the other day he’d ordered a solar-powered yard ornament online, one meant to scare off unwanted critters.  And there it was. Mr. H’s ornament snapped from its perch and laying under the bird feeder.

“Oops!” said Merle.

“It’s a statue!” Riley blinked like he’d laid eyes on Santa.  “Blossom, you killed a statue!”

The Hatcher’s back door creaked as Mrs. H came out, surveying the yard.  “What was that noise?  Blossom, what are you doing under the feeder?”

Blossom could only watch Riley’s and Merle’s butts as they headed back to their own homes, knowing her butt was in the doghouse.

Blossom the Cat At a Baby Shower

Blossom the Cat and Punch Bowl

On a sunny summer day Blossom strolled through the aisles of the Hatchers’ vegetable garden.  Mrs. H was inside doing last-minute prep for a baby shower brunch for her niece, Brookie.  And helper Willow was as upbeat as springing fleas, this being her first cousin to have a baby.  Blossom had a spring in her step as well, reveling in the smells of summer while she observed three tiny toads playing Hopscotch under a tomato plant.

Blossom sighed.  The bounce in her trot was really because Mrs. H was allowing Blossom to attend Brookie’s shower on this day that could only be described as eye kibble, with toads cavorting through the garden.  She had to thank God that Mrs. H had not banished her to the basement as had happened in the past.  Blossom had earned this invite.  She had not broken one dish nor hurled a hairball on the carpet for at least two weeks.  Plus Willow had done a little persistent begging on her behalf.

Blossom continued to study the toads prancing under the plants.  Little creatures of God.  Cute little toad triplets.  Blossom’s spirits were as high as the clouds when she was let back into the house to welcome the arriving guests.

Blossom couldn’t help but eyeball Brookie’s belly.  It was big enough to be harboring an adult cat.  Brookie made her way around the room slowly.  A line began to form near a table where Willow was serving punch from a crystal punchbowl, filled with slices of oranges, lemons and punch that was pink as a piglet.

As people seated themselves Mrs. H handed out Bingo cards.  The women played Baby Bingo, then lined up again at the serving table for brunch, and ended with a game of Match the Baby Booties.  It was time to open the gifts.  Blossom perched on a piano bench, so close to the punch bowl she could have dipped her paw in it.  Which she wouldn’t, of course, because she was so well behaved as of late.

As Brookie tore the paper from a gift, one woman asked, “When’s the baby due?”

Babies,” corrected Mrs. Hatcher, scooping up the shreds of giftwrap and shoving them into a garbage bag.  “Brookie’s having twins.”

“Twins?” one woman clapped her hands.

The conversation was growing fuzzy in Blossom’s ears.

“Look how big I am!” laughed Brookie.

“Are you sure it’s not triplets?” said another.  This comment brought on a round of laughter.

Blossom burped.  Her cat brain filled with the crazy thought of the toad triplets.  She’d set out that morning to behave just perfectly.  Who knew?  The morning was so glorious, God may have actually been spying on her from Heaven.

And then that first toad had to open his big mouth.  “Excuse me, cat.  Would you mind moving?  We’re playing Hopscotch and you’re blocking the sun.”

The toad’s rudeness left Blossom absolutely meowless.  What kind of toad thought it was okay to tell a cat to scram off her own property?  The house on Tulip Drive was Blossom Hatcher’s home.  Not some toad that was randomly born in the dirt behind her house.  Blossom gobbled him up in one swallow.

The women were done eating.  Blossom stared at the leftovers on the table.  Chicken salad croissant sandwiches, baked egg dish with shredded cheese and sausage, desserts with whipped cream, all things she loved.  But strangely she wasn’t hungry.  Not one bit.  A woman was telling a story of how she had three false alarms before she delivered twins.

Blossom’s ears were buzzing as she thought about the second toad that morning.  How the toad had cried because Blossom had murdered her brother. At the time, Blossom did feel really, really bad.  She’d not only let down the two remaining toads that were no longer triplets but twins, but surely she’d let God down as well, killing off his creations after two weeks of being so angelic.

And then the toad sister had looked Blossom right in the eyeballs and said in a really evil way, “I’m going to sneak into your house tonight and get you.”  And for a minute, Blossom felt shivers running through her fur.  But after the minute passed, Blossom scarfed that toad up too.

Blossom didn’t even like the taste of toads but what was a cat to do? Flipping Friskies, when had toads acquired such bad manners?  Her fur felt sweaty.  And her thoughts were broken when she noticed the group of women had stopped talking.  Brookie was looking at her expectantly.  What?  She must have missed something in all her toad thinking.

“Blossom?”  It was Willow.  “We were just saying how well behaved you’ve been.”  She reached over to scratch Blossom’s head.  “Good kitty!”

Normally Blossom loved being the center of attention but somehow the timing of all this praise felt off.  She could see two Willows and wondered if her eyes had crossed.  That one remaining toad had not cried after his sister had been eaten.  He didn’t even flinch his eyes like toads so often do.  No.  He growled and said, “You’ll be sorry.  I have friends in high places.”

Blossom’s eyeballs had scanned the gutters on the Hatchers’ house not sure what the toad meant by “high places.”  It didn’t really matter as she ate him too.  But he wasn’t like the others.  He was extra crunchy and she could feel his little webbed feet clinging to her windpipe as he went down.

“Blossom almost looks sick,” said Mrs. H.  That was the last thing Blossom remembered before she took an enormous hack into the punch bowl.

“Blossom!” Willow’s hands flew to her mouth.  There were gasps and a few little screams around the room.   Brookie’s eyes rolled into her head as she slid from her chair, lightly clunking her head on the floor.  Two women bent over her.

Blossom stared miserably at the punch bowl and wished to be out in the garden all alone where no one could see her.  She counted five little webbed feet floating among the orange slices before she hacked a second time.

Blossom the Cat Flushes the Toilet

Blossom the Cat Flushes the Toilet

The Hatchers were out running errands so Blossom trotted into the bathroom, hopping onto its window ledge. She loved that her best feline friend forever, Riley, lived next door and that his home’s floor plan was flipped so that both bathroom windows faced each other. And there was Riley, most likely alone in his house too. But he wasn’t lounging on the ledge. By the way his head bobbed at the window, Blossom wondered if he might be playing a game while standing on the toilet seat.

“What’s up, Riley?” Blossom called through the open windows.

Riley placed his paws on his window ledge. “I’m playing Tornado in the Toilet. I drop the kids’ bath duck into the toilet, then give it a flush. The duck spins like crazy, like it’s been caught in a tornado, if you know what I mean.” Riley licked his chops.

“But doesn’t the duck get flushed down the toilet?” Blossom asked.

“No, that’s the awesome part,” said Riley. “The duck’s too big to go down. And when the game gets boring, I just fish the duck out with my paw and put it back in the bathtub. The family doesn’t even know I’ve been in here.”

That Riley could really be crafty. “I want to play Tornado in the Toilet,” said Blossom. Of course, Willow didn’t have bath toys. What could she use?

“Just find something that floats. Something plastic would work,” Riley said, as if reading Blossom’s mind.

Blossom settled on a plastic cup sitting on the vanity near the toothbrush holder. Holy hairballs, what luck! And the cup was covered in brightly colored flowers so it would be quite scenic whirling and twirling in a toilet tornado! She hopped onto the vanity and gave the cup a whack, sending it into the toilet with a small splash.

Blossom popped back onto the toilet seat and depressed the toilet flusher. Her whiskers quivered at the gurgling sound. She felt her head moving in circles trying to keep up with the spinning cup, its colors all blurring together. What a clever game! And when this turned boring, she’d just fish the cup out by placing her paw inside of it and lift. How simple. The Hatchers would never be the wiser the next time they rinsed their mouths of toothpaste!

“Isn’t this fun?” Riley called.

“It’s the best!” Blossom agreed, giving the flusher another turn.

The plastic cup swiveled and spun but then got sucked into the toilet’s hole. Blossom perched on the toilet seat not understanding why her cup got stuck when Riley’s duck didn’t. “I think I have an issue here,” Blossom said more to herself than Riley. The toilet was still making that toilet running sound and the water was rising in the bowl. Like higher than normal.

“Ok, I’ve had enough,” Riley said. Blossom heard Riley’s duck clatter onto the tile floor and then his footsteps padded away.

Blossom didn’t know all the ways of toilets but this didn’t look good. She tried to reach in and poke her paw into the cup, its open end facing out, but she almost slipped and fell in. She wouldn’t risk going down the toilet, into the sewer where dog-sized rats and eels and maybe even sharks swam. The water continued rising so that Blossom had to jump off before her toes got wet.

She leaped to the floor and watched as water flowed over the top of the toilet, down its sides and started pooling on the floor. Mrs. Hatcher’s new blue bathmat was inches from getting wet, Blossom raised a paw to pull it out of reach. She was aware her heart was ticking fast, partly because she feared too much water might sweep the Hatchers’ house on Tulip Drive off its foundation. But the bigger fear she had was that of getting caught. She’d end up in the basement for a month because of this stunt. “Naughty cat!” Mrs. H would say.

And then, miraculously, the water stopped flowing. Blossom sighed. At least she wouldn’t float away. But the floor was wet and the toilet filled to the brim. She’d moved the bathmat a hair to keep it dry and she could pull some toilet paper off the roll to clean up the water. But if she didn’t get that cup out, her Friskies were fried. This faux-paw had CAT written all over it.

Blossom needed something long to dig that cup out of the hole. Her eyeballs rested on the wooden handle of the toilet plunger tucked behind the toilet. Great, but how was she going to pick up the plunger without monkey fingers? She needed something that would strap to her paw. It was time to don her thinking cap and whip up a solution. And the word whip gave her an idea more brilliant than odor-free litter.

Blossom scrambled out to the kitchen and jumped onto the countertop, skidding across its surface. Next to the oven, Mrs. Hatcher kept a crockery pot stuffed with wooden spoons and spatulas. And the utensil Blossom needed to fetch the cup from the toilet. A metal whisk. She’d played with the whisk once before when the family was out and remembered how her paw had gotten tangled in its wires. She’d about worried her fur off, fearing she’d spend the rest of her cat life wearing a whisk. But she’d eventually freed herself and got the dog-gone thing back into the earthenware pot before the Hatchers returned.

Confident of her scheme, Blossom grabbed the whisk’s handle in her jaws, flew from the counter and sped back to the bathroom. On the floor before the full toilet, Blossom forced her paw between the whisk’s wires. She winced a whisker at that sudden feeling of her paw being trapped. But then she thought about spending a month in the basement with the cobwebs and crawly bugs and decided the feeling wasn’t that bad.

On hind legs, paw raised, whisk brandished with its handle facing out, Blossom glared down at all that toilet water she’d have to dip her leg into. It was so wet! Holding her breath she plunged her paw in as hard as she could. A wave of water sloshed out, running down the sides, getting her feet wet. Holy catnip, she’d never, ever play Tornado in the Toilet again. The whisk’s handle clacked up against the plastic cup with such force that the cup shot out of the toilet, clattering across the bathroom floor. The water in the toilet loudly gushed down, sounding like the whole bathroom was going with it. Blossom shot off the floor in fright. The whisk flew from her paw, hit the wall and settled under the vanity like a broken trap.

Blossom sighed, looking at the mess and what needed fixing. She’d clean up the water with toilet paper. She could carry the cup with her mouth and deposit it back in its rightful spot next to the toothpaste holder. Likewise, she’d deposit the whisk back into the crockery jar. The next time Mr. H whipped up scrambled eggs, no one would know the whisk had done double-duty as a toilet plunger.

Everything solved. Blossom couldn’t have been more grateful had she stumbled onto a treasure chest of mice. Boy oh boy, she barely whisked her way out of this disaster. And her Tornado in a Toilet days were definitely over. Unless, of course, the Hatchers bought a bath duck. She shook her head at her good fortune. Yes, one gem of a lesson did come out of all this. Something she’d share with her grand kittens if she ever had any. A kitchen whisk could be as binding as doll clothes but it could also be a cat’s tool for survival.