I was sitting on the couch in the living room with Ray on my lap. Gregg was across from us in his chair. A black shape appeared in the hallway. Usually when it's a black shape, it's Hugo. But this wasn't Hugo. This was a thinner, younger version of Hugo.
"Uh, Gregg," I said, "there's a cat in our house."
Just then the cat gave a rather compelling MEOW and calmly walked into the living room, past Ray's coffee table, past Gregg's legs, and over to the sliding glass door. He looked out onto the patio, looked at me, gave another MEOW and continued his trip around the coffee table. I tightened my hold on the dog who was literally quivering with curiosity (or maybe something else).
Gregg stood up and went to tell Hugo to come downstairs and defend his property. The cat followed. I stayed put and tried to keep Ray from going crazy.
A minute later I heard a howl of outrage. It wasn't Hugo, it was Gregg.
"He just peed on the cat room door!" he yelled down.
I let Ray go and said "Go get him, Ray."
Ray jumped down off the couch and headed to the stairs. He paused a moment, sniffing, then raced up and to the cat room door where Gregg was finishing up cleaning. I followed the dog.
"Is he in there?" I asked.
"No," replied Gregg, "He went down the hall."
I turned from the cat room and walked the three steps that it takes to traverse our hall. Ray followed. The cat was on our bed. I gingerly picked him up, holding one hand firmly on his back. I knew that with Ray in the mix, the situation could turn ugly fast.
The cat saw the dog and started spitting. Ray was excitedly tossing about trying to find the interloper. As quickly as I could, I took the cat down the stairs. The minute we hit the last stair, the cat launched himself from my grasp and calmly headed to the family room to check it out. Ray, close behind me, obliviously headed for the living room. I grabbed his collar, took him to the bathroom, closed the door, went and picked up the visitor, gently placed him outside the house, then let Ray out of the bathroom.
By the time I walked the length of the house to check on the cat door, the cat was headed back in. Luckily, Ray was following, still looking for the coon that he knew was there somewhere. The cat took one look at the excited dog, turned tail, and headed back outside.
We went back to the living room, Gregg was sitting in his chair.
"Well, that explains why our cat boxes have been filling up so fast," I said. "I wonder how many of the strays have been coming in to use them."
Gregg nodded his head. "I think we've become the public loo," he replied, smiling ruefully.