Of all the critters around here, Pussy is probably the least involved. From her perch on the mantle she surveys "her" domain, and the expression on her face betrays a lively interest in all that transpires. But that's usually as far as it goes. Until now.
Toby is noticeably calming down a bit as he matures, although the other critters still keep an eye on him. Those little puppy teeth are still his playthings of choice. He has learned to confine his forays to slash and run rather than stick around for the inevitable retaliation. Self preservation might have something to do with that.
A few minutes ago he finally ran down and flopped in his tracks about a foot in front of Cherokee, tail to nose, and was soon sound asleep. Sound is the word for it, as he snorts and snores like an old man in his sleep.
Pussy closed her eyes as if asleep, but her tail twitched like a metronome. When I looked at her again, a few moments later, she was crouching to spring. She hit the floor running, streaked across the floor behind the couch, and was just a blur as she ran between Toby and Cherokee, raked the pup across the butt with her claws as she passed, and sprang back to her perch on the mantle.
Toby spun to the right as he leaped to his feet, but Pussy had passed him on the left, so by the time he got up and alert, she was gone. From the way his head swiveled wildly in all directions, he had no clue what was going on. Every time he moved his head quickly, his ears flapped wildly about his face, slapping him vigorously across the nose and making a noise like someone making tortillas: Blap! Blap! Blap!
He looked accusingly at Cherokee. The cat looked back, just as puzzled as he was. Samantha raised her head and smiled, but she wasn't telling. Mac slept through it all. Pussy was on the mantle in her usual meatloaf position, eyes closed and little pink tongue protruding. Toby looked around, head up, alert, but clueless.
His head drooped as he recalled the nap he'd begun, and with a sigh he flopped in his tracks, approximately where he'd been before. With a heartfelt sigh he closed his eyes and went back to sleep.
I caught a flicker of movement out of the corner of my eye and looked up in time to see Pussy glide effortlessly behind the couch and begin stalking. Stealth wasn't so important the first time, but now the pup was aware. Well, as aware as he ever was. She slithered along the baseboard and around the room so smoothly she barely aroused a ripple of interest, at first, but soon Sam, Cherokee, and even Mac were watching her every move. None wanted to be the stalkee or the slashee. Toby licked his lips and settled deeper into his nap.
Pussy moved so quickly it was over in the wink of an eye. Toby leaped to his feet so fast he fell over on his side when he spun around, trying to get a glimpse of whoever or whatever had just slashed his butt, but there was no one there except Cherokee. Suddenly the pup had this premonition something was attacking from behind, and he spun to face his tormentor. There was no one there, but he immediately spun back around in case something was sneaking up on him again. For a while, no matter which way he faced, he was convinced something was creeping up on him from the rear, and he just stood there spinning in place, slapping himself silly with those big, floppy ears with every turn.
I think he finally decided Cherokee was to blame for his troubles. Although he wouldn't fight the cat, having a certain delicacy about getting thrashed, he no longer trusted him. So when he lay back down, he was facing Cherokee. He tried to resume his nap, but every time his chin rested on his paws and it looked as if he were going to settle down again, his head would snap up, and he'd give Cherokee this wary look, as if to say, "Oh, no, you don't. You ain't fooling me this time."
At this moment Toby is intently watching Cherokee, alert for any sign that treacherous, sneaky cat might be up to his old tricks, and Pussy is creeping up on him from behind.
The day just started; this could be a long day for at least one member of the critter family.