The Good, The Bad, And The Kitty

If Clancy, the Gray Menace, could have selected his favorite actor, it would have been hands down Clint Eastwood. A Fist Full of Dollars, Dirty Harry that would have been the model, the Gray Menace would have emulated. He even had the moves down: idly sitting there licking the blood from the paw while waiting for you to make a counter move, cue the Enricci Morricone music in the background. Or him sitting in the doorway backlit seeming to say: “The heart, Ramon. Don’t forget the heart. Aim for the heart, or you’ll never stop me.”– A Fistful of Dollars

But of course, the very central part of the feline strategy is the stalk. It can be subtle in a master’s paws, ending in a stroke of raking claws. Or it can be the prelude to a broad swath of destruction that Kurasawa would have emulated in a Samurai movie ( have I mentioned that the Gray Menace sat still and intent through an entire showing of the Seven Samurai?). In either case, the technique requires endless practice. And targets to stalk. 

While living in Arlington, there were some particularly obnoxious neighbors. You know the sort. They put their garbage into your already full recycle containers. When they have company, the company drives up onto your lawn to park. The loud cookouts last till 3 AM on Sunday. Have you had neighbors like this? Calling the police solves nothing. You seem to have few alternatives. “Who you going to call?” – the Gray Menace. 

The neighbors had an obnoxious German Shephard named Schultz. It had terrorized every cat in the neighborhood and had set its sights on Clancy. 

Clancy had already taught Schultz one terrible lesson, but Schultz decided to come back for more, and more and more. One night while the neighbors had their usual noisy late Saturday evening cookout, the “master” decided to direct the dog to attack the Gray Menace. The guests seemed to think this was a great sport. The great Gray one was sitting on top of the chimney of an unused brick fireplace. At the convenient height of about seven feet, he could survey his domain. Once Schultz was within range, he dived onto the dog. The dog swerved at the last instant, and instead of a full-body crash, sustained raking claws to his legs. Schultz wanted no more, and the pursuit began. Schlutz tore through my yard and back into his own. Dog and cat nipped and scratched their way through the crowd of guests. A riot ensued as everyone scattered to evade the combatants. There was a “friendly fire” incident as Schultz nipped his master while the master tried to grab a collar. The grill fell over, and hot coals added to the chaos.

Deciding to declare victory, the Gray Menace returned home and triumphantly sat on the fireplace, licking his paws.

The police arrived responding to several calls of a disturbance at the neighbor’s house. As the officers stepped out of the cruiser, the Gray Menace eagerly ran to them. He was purring loudly, rubbing against their legs, and rolling over to show his belly.

The neighbors described the unbridled viciousness of the invasion of their peaceful abode. But, the cat was receiving scratches behind his ears, belly rubs, and pets. One police officer, now holding the Gray Menace in his arms, seemed dubious of the charges against such a sweet cat.

Putting the cat down, the officer mentioned to the neighbor that there’d be a citation for violating the noise ordnances if they received any more calls. While this happened, the Gray menace nonchalantly strolled back towards me; a little victory strut was evident. He always liked authority.