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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Friday, October 7, 2011


A first glance it looks only like some wire lobster traps, a common sight even on semi-suburban lawns in Maine. On second glance, and I do get a second glance, since I'm walking and not driving, there's an apparent configuration and order.

About 10 of the traps have been laid end-to-end in a row on the grass, and lead up some porch steps to the house. In the middle of the row, two more have been stacked vertically and contain what looks like a tree of sticks. A kind of pet run, I think as I pass by.

On the return trip up the lane, I pass the traps again and this time speculation is proved - a house cat dutifully trots from the house, down the steps, to the end of the run. Inside the traps, of course. I don't care to embarrass it in its little wilderness, so I don't stand around to see if it also jumps into its faux jungle gym, whose stick tree I now see is hung with objects to bat.

I suppose this is the owner's idea of giving his cat a taste of the great outdoors without any danger. He's knocked out the ends of the traps and lined them up for maximum length. His catwalk both confines and protects. The woods are all around, after all, and upon one's loose pet might spring a weasel, a fisher, or a marten - or a pickup. This way, our lovely can preen and strut and tease for the paparazzi outdoors as it does for the family indoors.

Clever? Yes. Sad? Yes. There's a stunted suburbanity at work here - pets need to be outside, but only under controlled conditions. They - and we - need protective equipment to take to the woods.

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