Grumpy Old Men

I have an old man of a cat, BlackJack.  He took one look at our new home and immediately claimed it as his own, which is good because a happy cat is a happy home, or something like that.  He does love the outdoors, the deer, the space…he even occasionally enjoys watching the golfers trying to navigate the 6th green.

In short order, BlackJack realized that there is a cute grey tabby two houses away and fell head over paws for her.  It didn’t matter that BlackJack is somewhere around 17 — that’s in his 80’s in human years — he was smitten by Gracie’s siren meow and immediately turned into a teenage TomCat.

Things may or may not work out between the two of them, but BlackJack’s plans have now been placed on hold. Gracie has a housemate, Buster, who is orange and about the size of BlackJack — that is, they both weigh in around 18 lbs.  He’s not much younger, so we’re talking about two senior cats that are each very protective of the sweet young Gracie.

I first noticed there was a problem when BlackJack disappeared for three days.  The cat never disappears and has never missed a meal.  Three days was a very long time and I had all but called out the National Guard to find him. We, Gracie and Buster’s mom and I, finally discovered BlackJack hiding in their storage room off the garage.  As I carried BlackJack out of room, Buster leaned over from their second story deck, sporting a gigantic Cheshire Cat grin. BlackJack found enough strength to snarl back.

Two grumpy old men…funny if they weren’t in the process of trying to kill one another.  The two have gotten into a knockdown/drag out fights, complete with black and orange fur flying and high pitched yowls.  Buster’s male owner yelled at the two of them to no avail and finally turned the hose on full force.  The two were soaked to the skin before finally realizing they should stop fighting.  They both dripped their way home, looking a whole lot like drowned rats with tails tucked between their legs.

After a couple soakings, coupled with superficial injuries, the two cats have come to their senses.  At least we think they have. They still are territorial, they still yowl, growl and howl and they still face off but they now pretend there is an acrylic Berlin Wall between them so no actual fighting occurs. And, they make sure that one of their owners is nearby to call a halt should things get out of control. The grumpy old men have pretty much gotten the whole thing figured out.

Now, the two look for one another so another round of chicken can be played.  Gracie is all but forgotten. If BlackJack isn’t outside immediately in the morning or disappears inside for his naps, Buster climbs the stairs to our deck, first peering over the edge of the deck, then sitting with his nose against the sliding glass door, waiting for his nemesis to appear.  I understand BlackJack makes a similar trek to Buster’s deck and sliding glass door.

The other day I thought there might actually be hope for World Peace.  The two grumpy old men were sprawled on the same lawn below our deck, watching each other and the golfers. Every once in a while, one would growl and the other one would snarl, but it was as if they had just run out of steam, too tired to fight and finally willing to get along.

Detente only lasted one afternoon. By the next morning, they were at it again. So much for World Peace.

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