A lot of my Anchorite friends have been posting a link to a NPR story this Christmas day regarding the moose that move into Anchorage in winter. What I particularly loved about the story was the lovely photograph of the moose standing in a driveway. If you look carefully at the large window in the house to the left of the moose, you'll see a cat sitting in the window, checking out the moose.
Reading that story, and probably a few too many of James Thurber's dog stories this morning, reminded me of one of my favorite Diefenbaker stories. Dief is my 10YO domestic shorthair (that's vet speak for kitty-mutt). He has butterscotch & white coloring, and on a good day is between 12-13 lbs. At the time of the events I'm about to recount, in April 20__, he was closer to 18 lbs, as a result of grief-eating himself into a stupor after Anitra, my late great dog of my heart and Dief's adopted mother, had died the previous Christmas Eve.
So due to a rather Thurburian set of circumstances which included a few too many gallons of water entering my downstairs apt, I and Dief were staying with my friend LuAnne at her apt cross-town. It was shortly before I was due to leave on a work trip, and LuAnne had agreed to babysit Dief (who could no longer be left alone for any length of time due to the grief issues) so Dief & I moved in.
It was a lovely spring evening. We had the windows open for air but the shades were pulled, and Dief was hanging out on the windowsill as LuAnne & I were talking at the dining room table. All of a sudden, there arose such a clatter! The blinds crashed away from the window and back down and there was this orange-colored blur headed across the room at top speed. It took me a second to figure out it was Dief since I didn't know he could move that fast, and I really didn't know that Dief the BeachBall could move that fast.
Well, I looked at LuAnne, and she looked at me. We were both standing at this point. So she walked over to the window and pulled up the blinds and both of us in unison jumped back and shrieked. There was a yearling moose with its nose pressed up against the window screen--LuAnne's apt was a few steps above ground level, so the young moose had been right at eye level to Dief. It wasn't impressed by how much it had startled the two of us, or it didn't like us as much as it did Dief, because it gave us a rather long-suffering look and wandered off.
It took us two hours and tuna to coax Dief out from under LuAnne's bed, and most of the remainder of the evening to get him to go back into the dining room. By the morning, he was sneaking up to the windowsill and peeking just over it. I left that day for my trip, but LuAnne reported to me that he spent much of the following week glued to that window. Waiting, apparently, for the moose to come back.
It never did. But every so often, Dief, now back down to 13 lbs, spots one from the window of my apartment, and he ends up practically impressed into the glass in his attempts to get as close as possible. I worry, sometimes when we're out on walks with him on leash, that if he spots a moose, he's going to get me entangled in some sort of situation that won't end up with me in good shape. I have no idea what he'd do with one if he met up with it with no screen between, but since he once attacked a badly socialized Rottweiler, I suspect the outcome could be difficult as I explain to State Fish & Game why one of the wild moose in town is cranky from little puncture wounds on its nose. I don't know if there's a fine for people who let their house cats attack moose in town, but I'd rather not find out. Perhaps I could claim Dief was acting in defense of life and property, but I suspect he'd really be acting as himself.
Merry Christmoose, everyone.