Dexter lives two doors down from me. Originally he lived diagonally across the yard, but his people moved and he was adopted by my cat-friendly neighbors who are always a soft touch for those left behind. The benefit to me, of course, is that I often end up with extra cat friends who come calling.
Dexter, however, is in a class by himself. His very friendly, outgoing personality does not admit a shadow of a doubt that the world will love him. As he is a very large, handsome gray and white cat with a sort of bumbling and insistent charm, most of the world seems to agree with him, myself included.
My first introduction to Dexter was as I was digging a hole to plant a newly acquired addition to the garden. Suddenly there was this strange cat right next to me peering into the hole with intense concentration, almost as though he was an inspector for Better Homes and Gardens. So intense was his interest that I had to elbow him back from the hole as I dug because I was concerned that I was going to accidentally stab him with the Japanese digging knife I was using!
From that point on Dexter made regular visits to see what I was up to, and discovered in short order that I had a secret stash of catnip in my garage. I have a student who is a gardening wonder, and who brings me fresh stems of catnip in season. I take these fragrant offerings, hang them to dry, and then store them in the garage where my cats can’t get to them. This way I can dole the catnip out in measured doses rather than having an entire household turn into feline junkies on a bender for days.
I left the garage door open one day, and Dexter wandered in and discovered the stash. He ripped the bag down and proceeded to have a glorious time. The next time I saw him the garage door was again closed, but Dexter was having none of it. Meowing loudly and longingly, he proceeded to tell me just how miserable his lot in life was without that luscious scent that rolled up warm radiators, sunshine, cushiony beds, and sardines on toast into one whisker-twitching burst of glorious nirvana. Listening to him made me yearn momentarily for my long-gone stupefied early college years! So, I caved and gave him a hit of my super cat stash, and that was my undoing. Now every time Dexter sees me outside he wants what he knows I’ve got. I am now his favorite dealer of choice!
P.S. Dexter knew I was taking these photos. Rather than being ashamed of his addiction he obviously decided that any fame is better than no fame at all. So, here he is, looking rather like a furry version of Carmen Miranda with a catnip stem, rather than a rose, clamped in his teeth!