This tail... er... excuse me... tale happened years ago, but a picture brought that night rushing back, scents and all!
My parents live out in the country. Growing up we were constantly exposed to the wildlife. Skunks, raccoons, 'possums, turkeys, rabbits, and insane squirrels. The menagerie of pets, which in truth were only slightly domesticated, included dogs, cats, rabbits, rats, mice, fish, a satanic dwarf hamster, and a lizard.
What I'm getting at is that I grew up in a country zoo.
The cats were, well, cats. So when you drove up to the house, provided that they weren't lounging in the drive way giving you That Look, would come running to met you. More precisely, they would run until they felt you could see them running and then they would slow, saunter toward you, stop and lick their butt just as you went to pet them. Having proved what little regard they had for us, they would then twine their way around your legs until you fell over or stepped on one, incurring the Wrath of the Feline for years.
And they really liked meeting you at night.
In the dark you can't see the cat running towards you until something hard bumps into your legs. In daylight the cat may only rub against your ankles, but in the dark that same cat is CONVINCED that the place between your legs as you try to walk up the path is THE PLACE to be.
So driving up to my parents house at night, you first get out of the car and wait for the cats to arrive. You then shuffle your way up to the house, having ascertained the approximate position of each cat. The relative position of cats, like atoms, can only be theoretically determined. The minute you see the cat, the cat is no longer there.
Anyway, on one particular evening I arrived at the old homestead and got out of the car. In the light of the porch, a yellowish light, due to an unfortunate lightbulb purchasing event, cast a glow over the... well, we'll call it a yard for the sake of argument. "Patch of mown weeds" sounds like I grew up in a trailer park. Three figures launched themselves off the porch, tails up and ticking (cat tails do not wag, but I can't think of a better word than "ticking" at the moment... those waving tails remind me of a metronome). The one in the front is dark with a big plumed tail. Ah, that's my good kitty! I adopted a cat all of three months before I moved away to a college dorm and I hadn't been forgiven even years later. But here he was, first in line to greet me! What joy! My fat fluff ball loves me!!
I reached down to pet the tufted head as it reached my legs and then was assaulted by the smell.
At first I thought my poor cat had had a run in with a skunk.
Then I realized it WAS a skunk.
The skunk waddled past me and off into the night. He had eaten his fill of cat food and was ready for something new. The two other cats greeted me as if there was nothing wrong with what had just happened. Almost as if they were saying, "what? Oh Earl? Yeah, he comes around from time to time when Ethel kicks him out of the garbage trailer."
I found MY cat steadily ignoring me on the porch. He gave himself a good butt licking to show his distain for my presence.
Lord I miss having a cat!