When my sister lived in Atlanta she had a problem with the destructive feral cats in her neighborhood. Animal Control provided a trap and as long as she continued to catch cats, they would continue to remove them. Liz was quite successful in her endeavors to rid her yard of cats and firmly believed that they would be rehabilitated and then adopted by a loving family. This dream was shattered by me when we checked the trap in her backyard one day and found a spitting, hissing tiny ball of dirty fur in the trap. She saw a sweet kitten that just needed a little bit of TLC from Animal Control. I saw something that had clearly been fed after midnight and was one step away from being labeled an evil Gremlin. She shared her vision of rehabilitated feral cats and I told her what Animal Control was doing to the cats she caught.
The Englishman does not like cats. When he somberly tells the story of “THE NIGHT HE WAS ATTACKED AND ROBBED BY A CAT” as a wee lad in England, I have to hide my face and muffle my snorts of laughter. When he was eight years old, he was sent to the corner store on a mission to buy bread, milk and cigarettes. Arms filled with his purchases, he walked quickly down the city sidewalk, eyes darting left and right searching the shadows for lurking danger. As he passed a low wall, a feral feline leaped upon him, gouged his arms and stole his loaf of bread. The tiny Englishman ran home, had his war wounds cleaned and bandaged and his father prowled the streets looking for a cat with a pilfered loaf of bread.
So my sister helped clean up the neighborhoods of Atlanta, I will never be permitted to own another cat, and apparently there really are cat burglars and they stalk the streets of Manchester.
I placed my empty Stonewall Kitchen box on the floor, careful to close it up so the leftover packing peanuts wouldn’t escape. I thought that I might be able to reuse the peanuts and the box for Christmas gifts to England. Over the next few days, as I walked past the box, I always crouched low to close it, puzzled as to why it stubbornly opened on its own several hours later.
And then, one evening as I walked by the box, I caught Molly with her nose buried deep inside. She was gorging on the packing peanuts. In fact, it looked like she had been eating them for days as the supply had been depleted by more than half. I secured the box shut once again, sure that she wouldn’t be able to undo the lid this time. Molly brought backup in the form of George and with teamwork, they opened the box and began scarfing peanuts with wild abandon. I removed the box from the house and placed it in the garage.When I told the Englishman about the incident over Sunday supper with his oldest son and daughter-in-law, I learned that packing peanuts can be made with biodegradable starch and are safe to eat. The Englishman demonstrated by retrieving a peanut from the drool-covered box and popped one into his mouth, chewing vigorously. He declared it quite tasty and mentioned that if we had a zombie apocalypse, he would head to the nearest warehouse to stock up on the edible delights called packing peanuts. He patted his clever canines on the heads and sat down to finish his dinner.