Bullies Come In All Shapes And Sizes

I know I must look ridiculous running around my backyard with a small rake in my hand. There’s a mean cat in my backyard. He shows me his claws and hisses at me. He even has the audacity to squish himself under my fence, come across my yard, walk up the stairs to my deck and threaten me, to my face, without a single wink or twitch.

I don’t know what to do since I’ve spoken to the neighbors and let’s just say that their comments now fall into an already overflowing list of head scratching moments.

Their suggestions:

  • Maybe, the neighbor said I should try to make my backyard an inhospitable environment so that the cat didn’t want to come back. Hello??? Did they really say that?
  • I should install special netting on top of my fence that “might” limit this cat's ability to jump from their trees into my yard. I’m now paying for fencing to keep their unleashed, untagged cat out of my yard?
  • I could place some animal like structures near my fence line that would repel or frighten cat.

Did I not hear them correctly? Did one or the other not suggest they  try to keep the cat out of my yard? Nope, nary a word,

To make matters worse they inquired as to what I would do if the squirrels were antagonistic to my dog? I muster up enough composure to respond that this wasn’t quite the same and that if a squirrel came down and began to attack, it would be in my right to call animal services and have that said animal removed. The husband was clearly unmoved by my displeasure at having to play hostess to a guest I hadn’t invited. “Nothing we can do,” he said. “The cat, he just climbs up these trees,” he looks up and points dramatically. “And then he jumps!” “Not a thing you can do to keep him out of there”.

The cat is untagged. The cat wanders the neighborhood. I like cats but I don’t favor dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, or anything else calling itself a pet that is given unlimited license to roam the neighborhood and check into another persons home, yard, property, etc. without an invitation.

My own dog is now petrified to run around in our fenced in yard as the cat lunges at her, claws in full view. (And yes, my pup is a bit of wimp). “So cute,” wife says as they race along the fence together. My pup still wants to play and their little monster wants to attack.

Suddenly this situation is all too familiar. I’m protecting my pup much like I did when my sons were little.  Bad teachers and mean kids. Alas the boy next store was one of the worst offenders. Essentially, I got the same response when I went over to my neighbor’s house in an effort to get them to sit down with their little angel. They pointed to the size differential—my son was noticeably larger in stature than their own son. What this proved I will never know But in their thinking if my son was the “bigger” boy he should have no problem standing up to their scrawny offspring. For four years that bully of a kid tortured my own relentlessly. Mom and dad never held themselves accountable for the damage that a bully can do.

A total lack of responsibility, accountability and sensitivity always amazes me. I often find myself standing in front of someone who lacks one or all of these things. And I wonder, are they not able to think or care outside their own space? Do they truly believe that they, their offspring or pet can do no wrong?

In the end, after one more nasty swipe across my dog’s face, I contacted the town. I’m not sure what the town has done but I haven’t seen the cat in a few days. And my neighbors, they didn’t honk their horn when they passed me the other day. And while the boy next door continued to be a bully, that neighbor also pulled back on their “neighborliness” — I was relieved then and I’m relieved now. I have no time in my life for people who have no apparent awareness or caring of others and live this out loud and clear. It’s a true danger to all of us. 

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