Sunday mornings around here used to be about coffee, newspapers, and belly scratching. But a neighborhood cat overturned those tables this past Sunday, no doubt altering the Sunday morning landscape for the foreseeable future.
He’s not just a neighborhood cat—he’s a cat who owns the neighborhood.
When he’s not running squirrels up trees, he’s dangling from bird feeders or harassing the local Handbag Dog Club (pictured above). Our knuckleheads met him on the street once: Fletch spotted them, moseyed across the street toward them, then sat himself down, just outside the reach of their leashes, staring at them—not even budging—as my brood went absolutely nuts.
He never so much as blinked.
At one point, they simply froze, staring at Fletch, Fletch staring at them, all wondering who was going to make the next move. That would be Fletch, of course—nonchalantly lifting a paw and methodically licking it clean.
As mine resumed going nuts.
Fletch can also be seen walking down the sidewalk on any given spring afternoon, after having raided various nests—with angry momma birds circling, swooping from the sky, diving within inches of him, chirping their motherly disapproval of his shenanigans.
He never even breaks stride. I have no idea where he’s headed next, but I did follow him once. He turned the corner and headed toward the grove of pine trees behind our house, the distant sounds of squirrels scrambling for their furry little lives.
Yeah, Fletch isn’t exactly running low on moxie.
The neighborhood was in an uproar at one point, flooding the online discussion boards with gasps about the piles of feathers left in his wake and the disturbing sights of their own felines clutching to screen doors, screaming to escape into the safety of indoors. Torch-wielding neighbors called for his instant removal, by noose-wielding animal control officers, no less. “He jumps on our fence and bullies our dogs!” typed the nice old lady three doors down with all the colorful hanging baskets.
That’s when his owner jumped in on the conversation, typing a somewhat frantic “Whoa, wait, I think that’s our cat! Sorry, I didn’t know Fletch was doing any of this.”
Fletch, I chuckled. Of course this cat’s name is Fletch.
“Please, we’re moving to the country!” he pleaded. “Fletch needs some space.”
Yeah, Fletch could use some space alright. Like, his own planet. He’s clearly too big for this one.
But having had my own Fletch once—a black labrador that rode shotgun in my 1972 VW bus in Redondo Beach back in the day—I do get it. Any time you encounter a Fletch—be it a dog, a cat, or a 1980s movie character—it’s an air that must be inhaled. And exhaled. Certainly again. Maybe even a third time.
Because I’m not sure it gets any fresher than that.