It was one o’clock in the morning and I was standing in the loneliness of our front yard, our house remotely situated and still strange to me after my move here – armed only with a torch, its batteries weak and its light fading – An animal fight had woken me, drawing me out into the dark and the cold.
We have two cats, an old girl and a young ‘un named Houston who’s a go-getter, a let-me-at-‘em and I-want-to-play type. This was his second night outside and I knew there were foxes about.
The wind blew and the branches of a tree danced across the roof like scuttling creatures. I shone the torch upward and into the tree. Glowing eyes looked back at me and I knew I had found Houston.
Then I saw the foxes. Two of them were right in our yard with a third one on the road. I had seen flattened patches in the long grass and weeds, coming upon them as I slowly worked through the chore of bringing it all under control, and I thought of foxes then. Now it was confirmed. In fact there was a large family of them living in the hedgerows right next to our house.
What did I do? What could I do? Houston would not come out of the tree with foxes so close. I was in no danger, but when it’s the middle of the night and you’re cold and in a strange place, the scrutiny of any kind of hunting pack is downright creepy. Night-time was like another planet.
I retreated inside. Ten minutes later, determined to see if I could collect the cat (and to see if maybe the foxes had gone), I opened the door to find Houston on the doorstep and more than eager to come inside.
Since then, he’s decided that inside is the best place to be at nighttime. Smart cat!