Anyway, I came home from work around 6 p.m. and put out some dry food and refilled their water bowls. I had the back door open to accommodate them on their evening constitutionals. I walked through the house, opening windows to get a nice cross-breeze. As I re-entered the kitchen, I heard the unmistakable sound of cat food crunching.
I didn’t give it a second thought, until I got close enough to see that the animal eating the food wasn’t one of the five.
It wasn’t even a cat.
It was a skunk.
In the house.
I froze, almost afraid to breathe lest the skunk look over his shoulder and take aim. (Trust me—if a skunk looks you in the eye, run!)
Now, I’m a big animal lover, chock full of respect for all life, but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna mess with a skunk. Part of respect involves leaving wild animals alone.
So I stood there, barely breathing and hoping that none of the cats would take offense at a skunk snacking on their snacks.
Luckily, the skunk could not have cared less about me. He leisurely finished his meal, licked his chops and sauntered out the open back door.
I stepped up to the door to close it–quietly–behind him, and that’s when I saw the five cats. Every one of them was perched on the patio table, all ten eyes glued to that skunk. Not one cat made one sound as Mr. Skunk strolled by. As soon as he disappeared around the corner, I whispered, “Come here, guys, come in the house!” I pulled the door wide open and all five cats silently sprinted inside, tumbling over each other to be the first in. I closed the door and sighed with relief that I didn’t have to make a trip to the store for a case of tomato juice.
In hindsight, this is a funny incident that showed me something: My friends with dogs are always complaining about the skunks “getting” their dogs, but why is that? Because dogs chase them! And even when a dog has been sprayed, he will still chase a skunk if it’s in the yard.
But cats? Cats have respect. They know that it’s best to leave the wildlife alone.
KR Johnson is an award-winning speaker, longtime educator and advocate for kids and improv performer. She is the author of The Eleventh Sense, the hilarious journey of Simon, a bug whisperer with a big secret. Available on amazon.com.