I stopped, panting. I gaped at those two sweet, playful, affectionate, rather shy girls that I had hand-raised from when they were two days old. They were grooming themselves quite placidly. “Incident? What incident? Could we please resume our walk now, please?”
I was furious and baffled. I couldn’t have been more surprised if they had burst into flames. I couldn’t imagine what had come over them. It seemed like demonic possession. And I wondered if we’d be able to take walks again. I was pretty sure the woman would never walk her dog on West Madison again, and I was right about that, at least. A friend of mine finally explained it: when the dog came around behind us, the cats perceived it as a threat. “They were defending you,” she said. I was so moved, I almost wept.
We did resume our walks but almost always after dark. On the evening we met the woman with two dogs, we had almost made it to the little road that leads to the driveway be-hind our row of houses when she came toward us again, having obviously circumnavigated the block. “You’re not making much progress,” she said.
“They don’t go too fast when it’s this warm,” I said. “They rest a lot.” In fact, they were doing just that as I spoke.