Got a cat? Then keep it inside.

This column began without i’s and k’s because my third right finger is too swollen to bend after encountering a neighbour’s cat.

This column began without i’s and k’s because my third right finger is purple as an eggplant and too swollen to bend after encountering a neighbour’s cat.

Today was a beautiful day, sunny and warm by 2 p.m.

My two dogs and I enjoyed a fine walk through the bush, no ice, the only hazard being mud … until I was two doors from my own gate.

Ahead, two City West vehicles were gathering up their tools after descending from the nearest pole.

No finer time for something embarrassing to transpire.

And transpire it did, thanks to a neighbour’s cat posed like a sphinx atop a pile of boxes mere feet from the street, in full view of my 95 pound dog.

After four years’ association with this dog I am well aware she harbours an oversized antipathy to felines and is relentless in her attempts to finish one off.

She has yet to spy a cat too big, or too far away for her to annihilate. She is forever poised to focus her full attention, muscle and speed to do so.

If she can drag me through someone’s front yard weaving around trucks, past a stack of windows, and half way up a garage wall while her quarry scrabbles for traction on a steel roof, she dusts off her paws and chalks it up as a grand flourish to her day.

Once she hauled me across the street down into a ditch through clingy foliage a metre high.

A blur of greenery flashed past until I managed to bring her to a standstill, lying on my tummy, spitting purple blossoms, with green tendrils rippling down my bifocals like a beaded curtain in a bordello. But still I clung to her leash.

She knows which yards have cats and how many are calico, gray with white spots, or black with white spots. She knows their customary sunning locations on a warm day, whether it’s hunching among tall grasses on the south facing slope of a high ditch, atop a car’s hood, or nudged against the trunk of a fir tree where they freeze until the crucial moment when they sprint for safety.

She knows which vehicles might harbour a cat under its axle on a winter day.

As we progress along the street she’s forever scanning for cats, eager for some hint of a pending hunt.

She has mentally catalogued rocks, dirt clumps and other inert features that might be mistaken for a cat; these she scrutinizes for any motility.

My injuries from her misbehaviour have sent me for x-rays, physiotherapy, even six months of chiropractic treatment.

Why don’t I let go of her leash and permit her to give chase?

She’s my responsibility. I’m not about to let her be a nuisance to my neighbours – even those neighbours whose pets repeatedly stress my walks.

Vets recommend cats be kept indoors so that they won’t bring disease into the home and to protect them from injury by other animals.

In turn this safeguards little kids who might be scratched if they pet the animal on a sore spot.

Cats kept indoors can’t kill songbirds, destroy neighbours’ gardens or flower beds, yowl all night disturbing neighbours’ sleep, or overwhelm the animal shelter by birthing a litter of kittens as often as biologically possible.

Recently my mailbox held a notice of a calico cat lost nearby.

I feel no sympathy for the family’s loss.

I count it as one less impediment to my walks.

If the animal was that precious to them, they should have kept it in.

Claudette keeps an eye on the neighbourhood – and her dog – from her home in Thornhill, B.C.

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