I was cleaning the catboxes in the garage when Moonie creakily made her way by and out the cat door. She looks frailer by the day and I was glad to see her going outside to get some fresh air and sunshine. She hadn't been out more than a minute when Hugo exploded through the cat door from the outside. He was all puffy as he hurried past me into the house. (We have two cat doors; one cut into the actual garage door that goes to the outside, and one cut into the door that goes from the garage into the house). Almost as soon as he was inside a cat fight erupted outside.
Knowing it was Moonie out there, I jumped from cat-box cleaning position and hit the button to open the garage door. As the garage-door opener slowly slid the door out of the way, I ran under it and outside. I looked for cats but didn't see any. A cat scream came from the front porch. I raced to the porch, clapping my hands and yelling. The black cat that had come into our house so many weeks ago and casually marked his territory now had Moonie backed against a wall. She was boxed in by the rungs of a ladder that I had left stashed on its side a few days previously.
I ran at the cat, yelling. He trotted away a few steps, then sauntered to my car, ducked underneath, and plopped over on his side as if he hadn't a care in the world. Infuriated that he had attacked my Moonie, I grabbed a hose and turned it on. The minute he heard the water, the cat casually walked out from under the far side of the car and strolled up the street. (He's really got some cajones, this cat.)
I turned off the water and picked up Moonie, who was still cowering in the ladder, to make sure she was alright. Ray was standing at the front door on full alert, his tail curled over his back, his ears deployed in full Dumbo mode, and every fiber of his body tense. I took Moonie to the garage and turned her loose to go back inside, then went to get Ray. He was pacing back and forth, his nose in the air, and the hair on his back up.
I clipped on his leash and said, "Let's go chase a cat, Ray."
Ray was ready. He bolted out the door and dragged me up the street, his nose to the ground. He followed the scent to the house beyond our neighbor's and took me to the front door, (Ray's girlfriend, Cindy lives there), then sniffed along the sidewalk and shrubs around the front, then back down the driveway, then back to the front.
Bill, Cindy's husband, came out.
"What's up?" he asked.
"A black cat attacked Moonie," I said, "I don't want it to come back, so I'm letting Ray chase it away. It's not one of yours (Bill feeds a couple of feral cats that are black). It's that un-neutered male that's been hanging around." (I have a deal with my neighbor down the street, if she traps it, I will take it to the vet and get it vaccinated and neutered.)
Just then Ray found the cat. It was lounging on it's side watching the show from under Bill's car. Ray's head was under the car, his butt was up in the air; he went into full voice - the one that liquifies your insides. The cat evaporated. Ray had tracked and 'treed' his first animal.
Bill went back into the house. I let Ray yell a minute then pulled him away. His job done, Ray came happily, a little prance in his step.
Later that night, I was telling Gregg about Ray's amazing tracking skills. The dog was curled up on his favorite pillow on his favorite couch, sleeping. When I said "the cat," Ray's head popped up off the pillow and he became instantly alert.
"Uh," said Gregg, "Maybe that wasn't the best thing to do."
"Don't you think he'll be able to tell his cats from the other cat?" I asked, not expecting an answer and not knowing the answer myself.
"I guess we'll find out," replied my husband.
Realizing there was no more fun to be had that night, Ray's head sank to the pillow and he went back to sleep.