The non-GMO cat.


Unsettling event just before dusk yesterday. My neighbor downslope (makai) lives in a shack and has decorated the entrance to his driveway with signs that say KEEP OUT and KAPU and NO TRESPASSING and VIDEO SURVEILLANCE and other indications of a bright and well-balanced mind. A few months ago he and some cohorts brought in a humongous amount of soil, dumped it, and have been growing vegetables. He is, so far, a nice guy: we wave at each other and all is copacetic. Recently he seems to come by only every other day to tend the garden, and the rest of the time the place is locked up tight. Between his place and mine is an unimproved lot, lava, and a few scrawny ohi’a trees, so we have a clear view of each other.

Further background: Jack, my beloved tuxedo cat, has become an escape artist and flees the house when given a chance (if that chance comes when he is not napping). I thought he spent his out time wandering around the property, rolling in the red cinder, or exploring under the house, but apparently this is not the case because yesterday the neighbor came by to say that the black and white kitty was digging up and messing in his garden, and could I please make him stop because he’s trying to go organic and non-GMO. I assured him that I would, but after he left I got to thinking. If he’s not there during the day, how does he know it’s my cat and not another one? And even if he does recognize the cat (and I have no argument with that, per se), how does he know that it’s my cat? If he’s not there much of the time, how does he know where the cat comes from and goes to? Aside from the fact that having something dig up your vegetable garden sucks, how does being non-GMO fit into this? Does he believe my cat is an agent of Monsanto?

Which leads to this upsetting thought: if he does indeed have surveillance cameras, does he have any of them trained at my house? And this even nastier thought: is this all just chemo-brain talking? Burny said that when he was on chemo, he had a moment at the post office when he was convinced that the guy in line behind him was planning to kill him.

I lay awake for much of the night watching this carousel of curiosity and paranoia before coming to a partial solution and drifting off to sleep.

I already have the beginnings of a screen growing between our properties, but it is taking its own sweet time. Once the bedroom floor is finished and peace is achieved in the house, I will ask Steve to dig a planting ditch along that side of the property, we’ll fill it with planting mix, and I’ll put in fast growing vegetables: pole beans, climbing tomatoes, peas, etc. I saw a nifty idea on line: a gardener drilled holes in the bottoms of old gutters and mounted them on tall braces and filled them with strawberry plants. If I did that here it would be like maintaining a buffet for the birds, but I could cover it with netting and that, too, would help obscure the sight lines between the two properties. Maybe some cherry tomatoes would like to hang out there, too.

And, regardless, I’ll foil Jack’s escape efforts, for fear he’d end up an ex-kitty. Which would break my heart.