Salvador Dali is Mimi’s brother. Their mama was a good girl, but their daddy was a wild man. Mimi and Sal both inherited some of their daddy’s wildness. Mimi stayed inside but was always skittish around humans. Sal spent most of his time outdoors, sleuthing through the swamp below the house.
That dynamic changed for Sal when Hurricane Sally swept through. I forced the cats to stay inside during the hurricane, no matter what their opinion might be. Sal went back outside immediately, but his opinion of the outdoors changed in the weeks following the hurricane, and he started staying indoors.
Not just indoors some of the time.
Indoors all the time.
I didn’t ask Sal about this change of heart until recently. His answer surprised me.
First, some background info: We don’t have coyotes around here, or at least we haven’t heard them for several years. They are being forced out—or killed—by land-clearing and development and assholes with opinions.
But according to Sal, a small family of coyotes migrated through our swamp one night about a week after the hurricane. They were given access because several huge trees had fallen and crushed the fence.
The coyotes chased Sal up a tree, where he perched all night long while they sat under the tree and waited for him to come down. They left, disappointed, before morning, but by then, the water moccasin that lives near that tree was hanging around, too close for comfort. Sal didn’t come down that tree for a full twenty-four hours.
The whole experience made Sal reconsider his aversion to being an indoor cat. It took Hans months to cut up all those trees and repair the fence, and Sal wasn’t taking any chances.
I told Sal that the fence has been repaired now. He thanked me for the info, but told me that he has decided he likes being an indoor cat. He likes getting petted, he likes having a human stand guard while he eats—he always comes and gets someone when he’s ready to dine—and he likes getting first dibs at the catnip.
He still goes outside sometimes, but he stays closer to the house now.
“I’m getting older,” he said. “And I’m not as fast as I used to be. Like I said…not taking any chances.”
I’m sorry he got scared, but I’m glad he’s content where he is.