The house next to us has been for sale, and has sold, and in theory therefore, the lady living there will be moving out.

She had eight cats.

Most of them are outdoors.

I am praying with every ounce and fiber of my being that she is taking the cats with her, and not merely going to dump them irresponsibly here, because if she does A) there is a special place in hell and B) Ursula will have to go cat trapping, and there’s probably nothing more guaranteed to ruin your day. Plus I might get one of the other neighbor’s cats. I don’t mind those two, since they’re friendly, fat, elderly, and evidentally when they can be roused to move at all, they specialize in voles. I have not heard any reports of crashing vole populations nationwide, so that’s probably fine. It’s my songbirds that I feel strongly about. (Yes, yes, someone’ll say it, it’s NATURE. Well, if a feral domestic cat is “natural” then by that logic, so am I. And I am willing and able to muscle in on that particular food chain, with extreme prejudice and the hose.)

The other problem is that one of her cats is a wailer. And a wailing cat is worse than a barking dog. A barking dog is a pain in the ass, but it’s a pain in that ass that eventually turns to white noise, if you’re lucky. But there is an excruciating, penetrating quality to the “meeWOWWWOWWWOWWWAAGGGHH…” of a cat that seeps through doors and windows, a piercing, horrific “I AM MISERABLE PAY ATTENTION” that cannot be equalled by anything this side of the Ninth Circle of Hell. I am fully convinced that somewhere in the dark Dantean depths, where Satan stands hip-deep in a frozen lake, perennially paddling the buttocks of Hitler and Judas Iscariot*, the background noise is the wailing of cats. Interspersed with Christmas carols. ALL YEAR LONG.

But she’s moving. And because I am an optimist, I will assume she is taking them until proven otherwise.

*Unless he’s up in heaven sipping lattes, as recent archaeological fan fic may indicate.

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