Today I evicted a tenant.
She had been living in the shed behind our house for I don’t know how long; she took up residence on our bed about six months ago and has been there about 23 hours a day ever since. She wasn’t paying rent, but she was very affectionate, aggressively so, and so we let her stay with us. She slept with us every night. Our housecats, Lucy and Van, weren’t too happy with this situation, but as long as she kept to the bed, they left her alone.
The tenant in question is one Folds the Cat, a gray tabby with shriveled ears and a voice like a vacuum cleaner sucking broken glass.
She also had a dark side. With increasing frequency, she would scratch Xy’s face. I blame Xy for this, mostly. Xy is smarter and should know to keep her face away from Foldy’s claws. The poor cat gets overstimulated and freaks out. She’s never clawed me because I always play it cool with Foldy. Xy can’t seem to master that art.
All this summer, Xy’s face has had at least one scratch somewhere on it at any given time. Bad scratches. Foldy always breaks the skin. Soon Xy’s face would be a mass of scars.
Something had to be done. I told Folds that if it happened again, I would throw her out. She didn’t understand, of course. But Xy understood. Nevertheless she started kissing Folds again, putting her poor face in easy reach of those sharp claws. She was asking for trouble, tempting fate. Why? She wouldn’t tell me, but I extracted a promise: If Folds clawed her face again and got evicted, there would be no word of complaint from Xy’s quarter.
This morning I noticed fresh blood on Xy’s chin. “What’s that on your chin?” I asked. She didn’t answer, and I knew immediately what had happened and what I had to do. I turned on my heel and stalked away.
Xy started to plead on Foldy’s behalf. I pointed an accusatory finger and reminded her of her promise. She was silent after that.
I stormed upstairs. I was plenty angry. But when I saw Folds sleeping on our bed I was suddenly sad instead. She was so plainly innocent. I woke her up gently and explained the situation, then carried her to the kitchen and put her down on the floor. I opened the door to the back deck and she walked outside, as if she understood how it had to be now, as if she knew this was really for the best.
As I write this, Folds has taken up residence on her shelf in the shed once again, and we’re all getting used to the new arrangement. Archer (our other outdoor cat, who lives on the neighbor’s roof) seems to enjoy the company (from a respectable distance of course). And our housecats are quite happy. They may even reclaim the bed.