Dear Liberty, AKA: The Cat On My Patio

We have a long and storied history, you and I. I have written to you before, and your only reply was to come over and pee on my patio table. God, you’re such a bitch.

Since my last correspondence, I have rearranged a few things. You might have noticed that the little tree-bush thing you used to hide under is gone. I tore that out. Not because you hide under there but because it was ugly, though the idea that you can’t hide there anymore does bring me a certain amount of glee. Since then, you haven’t come around as much and I am beginning to think that knowing there is nowhere for you go where you think I can’t see you has made you a little bit shy.

I saw you last night as I went to check the mail. Actually, I only heard you at first. You’re howl is burned in my brain, right next to the sound of my mother screaming about the pain, THE PAIN!, of labor when she calls me every year on my birthday. It only seems fitting that I should experience them both in the same month. You were terrorizing some small cat in the carport of units 301 and 401. I called the tiny kitty over to check his collar and see if he was lost. His name is Mistletoe and he is very friendly and sweet, nothing at all like you. I hate you. So does Mistletoe.

You’re a very bad cat. Worse than the three that we keep inside, safe from your razor claws that keep tearing apart our patio door screens trying to get at my precious babies. I know you come around in the mornings when I am at work. I KNOW IT! Janie, my partner, is often home then, because she has a job that makes her work odd hours, seemingly to ensure that we only see one another on federal holidays. You know her as the skinnier one who, despite what others may speculate to you, is not my sister. When you came around last spring, disrupting her late morning bliss of emailing and Maury’s latest paternity testing episode, you faced her wrath. She threw a cup of water at you and you scurried off. She has thrown water at me before and I was smart enough to never again do what I had done to make her drench me. We thought you would be that smart, too. It turns out, you’re not.

After many discussions with Janie about what to do with you, as it was clear the all the water in the world wouldn’t do the trick, I offered to take care of the situation in a new way. I researched cat repellents. Our patio has now seen its fair share of chemicals washed away by rainfall and the drippings from our upstairs neighbors plants. The citrus scented water had no effect on you whatsoever and the rinds never had a chance. My last resort was going to be fire or electrical shock. One thing your existence has taught me is that I have absolutely no say in anything around my own home. She holds all the power. If not for her, you’d be a charred little lump and I’d be well on my way to replacing those scarred screen doors. Sure, I could replace them and give you a brand new canvas to claw your way through instead of spending my days and nights looking out the patchwork screens we have now, but I scratched that idea.

See what I did there, I punned a little. Sure, you can take my screen door, but you can’t take my humor.

This summer I thought maybe you’d been in a tragic accident and your owner had finally learned to keep you inside and let you pee all over your own house. Days passed, then weeks and you were nowhere in sight. In your place came a handsome little squirrel that had no interest in our screen doors. I named him Kevin and watched along with my cats as he foraged for food.

One recent morning, as I dressed for work, Carson huffed and puffed at the patio door. I peered out and saw you, you rotten whore, sitting in my patio chair. I was at least grateful you seemed to have little interest in attacking, so I brought Ducati into the kitchen and sat him in front of the window, just above where you were. You didn’t notice him until he let out a loud wail. It was all a blur from there. What I do know is that you hurled yourself into the window at lightening speed. So fast, in fact, that I never saw you coming or going. In a split second, you had disappeared and our kitchen window screen was lying lifeless on the patio. It would not hold it’s place in the window and after several minutes of trying I left it, bruised and broken, leaning against the wall. I hope you’re happy.


It’s rainy and stormy now, there are floods all around us and people are losing their homes and livelihoods. I have no doubt that you’ll be holed up in your house somewhere most of this winter, waiting and planning for the things you’ll do when the sun comes back. But you should know that I’ll be planning, too and I have access to the Internet. There is an endless amount of information there and probably a recipe or two for gunpowder. One day, Janie will take a vacation to visit her friend in California and there won’t be anyone telling me “No, don’t you dare put that cannon on our patio.”

Mistletoe and I will see you again soon.

I hate you with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns,