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

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cats and dogs

I got up to get another cup of coffee and stopped, as I always do, to look out the kitchen window. Something a bit different this morning: a fox was standing in the driveway. Magnificent character: shiny coat, long tail, handsome face. We have not been in Maine for a few weeks so perhaps Reynard and clan (there's a den near the abandoned house two lots north) have become used to wandering around the place undisturbed. Not to be undisturbed this morning, although I for one was motionless and respectful - a cat came into the picture, prowling along the edge of the woods some 20 feet away.

Soon enough cat and dog became aware of themselves. Proto-dog remained more or less still  Fully evolved feline assumed the crouch, then the slink low along the ground, advancing to within ten feet. Another pause. Various things twitched. Cat then performed a short run, stopping prudently short, at fox, who flinched, backed up two steps, held its ground. More twitching, more of a conversation than a confrontation.

After about five minutes of this, the cat slowly and gracefully walked away. Reynard also departed the field of battle with grace, ambling into the woods. Of course, it was no battle, much as I expected the fox to employ its five-fold advantage in size and at least terrorize, and maybe atomize, its fellow warrior. No ancient rivalry today. It appears our wild neighbors are being civilized, or at least evolving from slyness to shyness. I wonder if he would allow me to pet him tomorrow morning.

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