We have three cats. Originally we had one male (Mr. Darcy, a shiny black number with tuxedo highlights who bears more than a passing resemblance to Basement Cat in both appearance and spirit, and yes, he is above his company), and one female (a fat gray cat named Winter because as my then very small daughter observed, she was the color of that season). Life was peaceful. Then we lost Winter for a while last fall, and in her absence, somebody gave us a new kitten. After 2 months, Winter came home, and baby made three.
The kitten was male, as Mr. Darcy immediately apprehended. And like the little boy in A Child’s Christmas in Wales who sees another boy like himself, he hated him on sight. Now, I understand all about the need for alphas to perpetuate their own genes and not those of renegade bachelors hanging around the edges of the tribe. But in light of the fact that we’re all neutered and some of us are pacifists, for God’s sake, I thought maybe we could give the Constant World Domination a rest. But no. Sterling Underfoot, the white kitty, has grown into a fine young man while hiding in trees to avoid having his pearly butt kicked by Darth Kitty (heavy labored breathing and ponderous theme music).
A few days back, Darcy started limping on his passenger side rear paw. It comes and goes but today it is noticeably worse. If he doesn’t heal up soon, we may have to inflict healthcare on him. You would think that if even a lowly human noticed this, the other animals would have been hip to the scene days ago. But as another glorious July morning dawned, the rising sun found Sterling 30 feet up a tree, balanced with one foot on the merest twig stump, singing the epic song of I-am-trapped, trapped-I tell-you-and-like-Odysseus-I-long-to-be-home-but-I-am-not-doing-anything-about-actually-getting-myself-there, while below, Darcy limped around menacingly on three legs.
Naturally this led me to survey my landscape for things I am afraid of, to see if any of them have busted a shin. I wonder how much of our lives we spend avoiding unpleasantness whose butt we could kick with one paw tied behind our back if we had to.