Yesterday I was making my way through the woods on a photography hike when I came face to face with the neighborhood extortionist. Old Bob runs a protection racket here in our little village, and it appeared that I was behind on a payment. You see, if you want protected from rodents in our neighborhood, you have two choices:
1. Get an outside cat of your own, that costs money to care for and seldom sticks around.
2. Make a deal with Bob.
Want rid of the mice? It’s going to cost you. Part of a hotdog, a small piece of lunchmeat, a spoonful of lasagna or hamburger helper, Old Bob wants his treats. Don’t get me wrong, Bob is not a feral cat. He is well fed and has a loving family that lives close by; he just knows how to work his neighborhood. He keeps his visits brief and never insists upon being petted. He doesn’t urinate on my door or walk on my car. He just asks for his treat, walks around the house to make his presence known, and occasionally sleeps in his basket on the front porch. I get all of the services of an outside cat without the food or vet bills. I can’t complain. Old Bob, a mouse’s nightmare
I really don’t know if bribing Old Bob has ever saved me money, but I like to think it has saved me the frustration of being over-run with mice, so as he meowed urgently and ran down the path towards home, I put away my camera and dutifully followed.