I have been exchanging facebook comments with a friend of mine about our crazy, deadly cats. Joe, my only cat at this time, became a necessary addition to our household after my kids started getting their own ideas about how much cuddling is required for a happy household. It probably won’t surprise you to find out that their reckoning of optimal time spent snuggling is radically lower than mine. Hence the cat. We have had cats always, but they were more for fun, not necessity, and they really weren’t what you might call “cuddle compliant.” Joe is a different kind of cat. Indoors, when he isn’t sleeping, Joe is all about the petting, the baby talk, being carried like an infant, etc. I can’t decide if he really likes it or is just smart enough to understand that with the squishy food comes certain expectations, but either way he goes along with it and I’m happy. At night, we often gave Joe the choice about whether he wanted to be in or out. We tried to be reasonably safe about this, not letting him out until most of the traffic and the dogs were in, and for the most part he came home in the morning intact. There was the one time he got put in “kitty jail,” when one of the neighbors summoned animal control out of concern either for the songbirds or the poops roaming cats tend to leave behind in gardens. Those were a horrible couple of days as I waited for Joe to drag himself home, before I realized he might be in the slammer. We kept him inside for a week or so after that, but he can be very strident about his outside time (not to mention quick to slip out the door between our feet,) and we ended up allowing him his nocturnal freedom again. Joe gradually built up his hunting skills and started bringing home chipmunks, squirrels, very occasionally a bird, and often, rabbits. It became obvious that he prefers the heads, which I guess to him were rich delicious nuggets encased in a crunchy, edible shell. Most mornings we found small decapitated corpses on the lawn, which were unpleasant to clean up, but not as unsettling as the small beady eyeballs he often left behind, staring up at us through blades of grass. It was gross but being outside made him happy, and he was so fit from all the exercise and varied diet. The downside of buying and applying flea control and tapeworm pills seemed worth it. But recently, Joe has acquired a new interest, and it has been his downfall. It seems that on his nightly sojourns, he has developed a social streak and in the interest of finding new feline friends, has taken to launching himself onto neighbors’ window screens. Joe is not a small cat; he weighs a good twelve pounds. Evidently a cat of the right size can propel itself with sufficient force to pull a screen right out of a window, then enter, panicking feline and human inhabitants alike and leaving a swath of destruction in his wake. It has happened more than once. Multiple households. I am unshaken in my belief that his sole intention was to have a friendly visit, but I couldn’t argue with the damage. So now Joe is an inside cat, and we are all coming to terms with that. He is still vocal about his preference to be outside, especially as the evening slips into night. He seems to be putting on a little weight. We try to chase him around a little more often, and pull out the toys; overall we are making the transition. He might be a trespasser with a little bit of murder in his heart, but he is still my baby.