Au Au uses the water dish as a finger bowl. She skims a paw across the top, then licks it, again across the top, then licks it. A shortcut to personal grooming. One night we heard noises from the kitchen, and Au Au went to investigate. Since there are always noises in the kitchen, I wondered why Au Au bothered with this one. In a few seconds she was back, bounced on the bed, once, and ran off again.
Summoned,I got up to go see. She hung behind me. An animal of some kind streaked off so quickly I could not see what it was in the beam of my flashlight. I went back to bed, but Au Au did an unaccustomed thing. She crawled under the bed, only her tail showing.
In these Oakland hills in northern California, the invader could have been a fox, a squirrel, or the usual raccoon or skunk. We have opossums, which do not move quickly no matter how alarmed. Some nights we hear a cougar scream in the woods, and one evening as Renato and I rounded the curve on our road, our headlights caught the green gleam of a cougar’s eyes. The distance between us was about 100 feet. Renato braked, and we sat still, staring. The lion was bigger than a German Shepherd, a tawny color, and its rounded shoulders as it sat were bigger than my own, or my husband’s for that matter. Its supple tail flew behind it as it ran off.