|Winchester used to be on top of things.|
But there’s still the guilt.
Winchester was just a recreational catnip user: the occasional catnip toy, maybe some dried catnip in a roll-around ball. The usual stuff anyone can pick up at the local grocery store pet section. Harmless really, if partaken in moderation. Things changed when we started the grow operation in our herb garden. What were we thinking? Since that single plant took off, Winchester has been turned into a full-blown catniphead.
|The root of evil.|
|Unkempt and uncaring... so sad|
As for the feline neighborhood ne’er-do-wells, they come and go as they please, unchallenged. In fact it was their doing that led Winchester away from his life of responsible living. Yes, yes I know pet owners always want to blame others for their own pet failings, but it’s the truth. Winchester didn’t give the catnip a second thought the first few weeks the plant was in the herb bed.
As soon as we planted the catnip, however, foreign visitors started frequenting the herb garden under the cover of night (under such cover as a night in Alaska can provide). They initially went undetected in their thievery. With Winchester off the clock at night, it wasn’t until half of the thriving plant disappeared before we realized there was something nefarious going on. In response, I fashioned a cage from quarter-inch wire mesh and pinned it around the remaining portion of the plant with metal rods. Still, the plant continued to shrink in size.
Looking out the back window one night, I discovered the secret of the shrinkage. A pale yellow cat, the kind that positively exudes evil intent, came slinking in under the fence. Glancing about the yard furtively, the thief made its way to the caged catnip and slipped a paw under the wire cage. He lay low to the ground, tail whipping back and forth, and snagged a stem with his claws, pulling it off the plant and out of the cage. With the purloined stem in his mouth, the cat made good his escape. Immediately upon the yellow cat’s departure, a Siamese cross made his way under the fence. He, too, was cautious in his approach to the caged plant, and applied the same technique to acquire a portion for himself before beating feet for the fence .
It was the entrance of the third thief that gave me a start. This was no newbie to the world of catnip capers. He was a big and bold, black and white fellow who fairly swaggered as he approached the herb garden. It was immediately obvious he was the ringleader of the Kenai Catnip Cartel, and the cartel was muscling into Winchester’s territory.
What to do? Turn Winchester loose on the intruders? Not a good idea. He was clearly out-clawed. Report the felonious felines to the authorities? Maybe not a good idea. What if there’s a kitty version of the DEA, the CEA - Catnip Enforcement Administration?
|Wasting away, again, in Catnipville.|
Whatever the right answer may have been, we chose the wrong one. We removed the cage from around the plant and introduced Winchester to it. At first he simply rolled on the plant, copping a little contact high. That wasn’t good enough, and after a few days the young tender leaves started to disappear. Winchester spent hours snoozing on the deck after each trip to the plant, unkempt and uncaring. As he slid deeper into his catnip habit he got into the really hard stuff, the old leaves and woody stems.
Finally, there was a catnip intervention of sorts when the entire plant was consumed. We felt relief that maybe, just maybe, Winchester could turn his life around. However, the catnip sent new sprouts out from the remaining stubble. Now, only a hard frost can save Winchester’s world from wrack and ruin.