Ray was yelling again. I left the front porch for the fifth time and went 'round the back to drag him away from the air conditioner.
I'd been doing this off and on for most of the day. He was again digging furiously at the base of the air conditioner, first one side, then the other.
Then around the back of it. He would stop to listen a minute, ears deployed in Dumbo mode, his tail would wag briefly, he'd yell a few times, then dig furiously. The air conditioner wasn't running.
When Ray stopped digging and yelling, I once again got down on my hands and knees to see if I could see or hear anything. This time I heard a very faint hiss which sounded vaguely cat-like. I went to check on my cats to make sure they were all accounted for. I was fairly certain that Hugo was waaaaaay to fat to fit under the platform that the air conditioner was on, but Moonie was thin enough.
I grabbed Ray's collar and brought him inside, closed the dog door, and checked on the cats. All present. I went to join Gregg for a sit on the front porch. Our neighbor, Sandra, came up.
"Did Ray's yelling bother you?" I asked.
Sandra replied in the negative.
"I don't know what's under our air conditioner," I said, "But he's been after it all day. I thought I heard a hiss and figured it could be a cat but there's no reason it would be there all day. I even took Ray for a walk around the lake so it had plenty of time to leave but when we got back, he went right back to it."
"Bill (our neighbor two houses down) said one of the strays had kittens," replied Sandra. "He said he saw the cat's teats so he knows there are kittens but he doesn't know where the kittens are."
"Oh, great," I said. "I'll bet that's what it is. I'm guessing she'll move them overnight now that she's figured out that maybe this yard isn't as friendly as she thought."
That night every time we let Ray out, it was on the end of a leash.
The next morning, judging by Ray's total lack of reaction when he got to the air conditioner, they were all gone.