Bad Times in Furry Town

The rain has come to California. It stayed away for a long time and so we forgot what it was like to have water falling from the sky. It is wonderful of course, but it also creates some inconvenience. That’s true of the never-ending sunshine also: lovely days but no showers and dead plants. Every blessing has a curse.

We haven’t had alot of water despite the promise of El Nino. So far we have had below normal rainfall, whatever normal is anymore, but we have had more steady rain than in the last four years so it feels like a big deal. We need more but we are grateful for what we have, and we pray for more, but we mix that with gratitude even with the little bit of inconvenience so it’s complicated. More so for the animals who don’t know about droughts because they live in a world where all of their needs are always met, and even when the deer come to eat the plants that they are not supposed to eat because any bit of moisture is better than none, the spoiled animals still have a bowl of water that is always full.

One of the cats doesn’t care so much about what happens outside the house because she is content to stay inside. On a cool sunny day she will lie about the front yard, feeling the breeze and the sun, nestled into the flowers. On warm days she may be in the shade, but she is just as happy to be in, on a bed or a cushion or a cat tree. Life is not hard.

The other cat prefers to be outside. We try to bring him in at night because there are many creatures out who will eat him, but he resists. He is a man about town stretched on a lounge chair with a deer on the ground next to him (we have seen this), he trots down the street with an area skunk (we have seen this too), he sits on the bench with the cat from across the street and visits our neighbor who gets all the benefits of cat ownership with none of the hassle. For him the rain is no end of aggravation, because as much as he likes to be outside he does not like to wet, and since we have been getting some real rain there is no good way to be outside and not be wet, or damp. He doesn’t like to be damp either.

The dogs are getting a bit stir crazy since they aren’t getting walked the way they are accustomed to. No long hikes on the trail and sometimes only one short lap on the block depending on how much water is coming out of the sky. They have a big yard so could go out and play, but they don’t much like the rain falling on them either so there is a lot of standing at the door and whining, and then standing on the other side of the door, blinking hard and whining. It’s hard to teach a dog about gratitude for rain.

Last night the rain was coming down in earnest for a long time. I’m from California so by long time I mean a few hours and in earnest I would just say I think we got less than two inches. It’s all relative. But it was coming down and the animals wanted out and then they wanted in and then they just wanted me to stand at the sliding glass door and open it every thirty seconds so they could check to see if it was still raining because they did not believe me when I said, “you don’t want to go out, it’s still raining.”

Only the girl cat didn’t care. She had staked out her spot on the bed upstairs late in the afternoon and stayed there with only brief trips to the tray of sardines. The rest of them, three dogs and one very grumpy cat stood at the family room door whining in different decibels, sometimes barking or yipping or howling. I tried explaining that we needed the rain, I encouraged them to find cozy spots to enjoy the patter of raindrops on the roof, I showed the dogs the big basket of toys they could play with inside but the unhappy noises continued. I let them out, I let them in, I let them out, I let them in. The cat went out and when he came back in was even more unhappy but then he went right back to the sliding door and yowled at me. I opened the door and he sniffed the air, the dogs by now had given up and were curled in various places despondent. He poked his nose out just enough for a rain drop to hit him and he recoiled, yowled again and went to bed.

In the morning the sun was shining and everything glistened. There is a break for the day, the dogs were frolicking on the deck, the outside cat was at his post on the bench in the sun, the other cat decided to stay in bed. Tonight another storm is supposed to roll in – I will be away for work so my husband can explain it all again when the whining and the yowling start And I will be happy with the rain, and with the sun, really with all of it because all of it is what life is all about.

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