The Zombie Cat Cometh!

So on Sunday afternoon I went to take the recycling out to the can by the side of my house and I noticed a strange cat sitting on the new garage pad at the back of the yard. Now this cat was strange, not merely unfamiliar, so I walked back a bit to get a better look. As I walked back the cat arose from it’s haunches and began to lurch towards me. My first impression was how an arthritic cat, who was unfamiliar, in addition to being strange, came to be in my back yard. Generally all our cats run off all feline interlopers, even ones that used to be welcome. As I got closer what I had mistaken for a cat shaved from the neck down developed (to my horror) to be afflicted with some sort of malady, nutritional or otherwise, that had rendered it nude. In addition I could clearly see every bone in the poor creatures body as malnutrition had taken a toll on the beasts mass. Startled, I recoiled a pace or two as a preservational proximity alert chimed in my head. With cinematic timing that would have made George Romero proud the cat’s jaw dropped and it let out a gravely cry. Now, I’m not one to have ever interpreted tongues, but in my head I heard the zombie call. “Braaaaiins!” I scooped up a handful of gravel from the ground and tossed it in the general direction of the cat, afraid that if the pebbles actually struck it they might tear through the beast like tissue paper. Undeterred, the cat continued to close distance at a snails pace. Equally appropriately to the situation, I failed to use my superior coordination to get safely away.
I yelled (and backed up a step). I stamped my foot (and took two more steps back). The cat was closing on me. Any second now it would be in reach. I finally let out a manly wail and broke into a run for the front door.
“What’s the matter with you?” my wife asked, turning from her computer.
“Where are our cats?” I couldn’t keep the tremor out of my voice. I started searching on chairs under tables trying to count pets.
She got up and started for the door, “What happened?”
“Don’t open it!” I shreaked. “Zombie Cat!”
She went to the door, “Oh the poor thing!”
One of us sent Kayla out back to gather up Stan and Narby.
“What’s it doing?” I managed, cracking open the brand new phne book.
“It’s eating the food on the porch.”
I found the number for animal control and began dialing. I wondered what percentage of brains was in the cat food. An automated message told me the phone number for animal control had been changed. At this point the phone should have gone dead, but my luck held out. I dialed the new number. An automated message came up telling me to listen to the options and to push 1 for some non-zombie animal situation. I sat listening to my choices waiting for some sort of Buffy option but none came. I finally pushed 0 to talk to an operator. After a moment a synthetic voice came back telling me to listen to the options and push 1 for… I pushed 0 again.
And again.
“Please listen to our options.”
Animal control was out. So I went to get my cell phone because it has the number for police dispatch on it from a car accident a couple years ago. Debbie was still looking at the door making sympathetic comments. I love her for caring about everything, even the undead pets.
Dispatch answers and I describe the zombie cat on my porch eating cat food. They tell me to call animal control and I told them I’d tried, and maybe everyone there was dead already. (ok, I didn’t say that last part, but it did cross my mind.) They say there’s nothing they can do.
“Can I kill it?” I ask.
“That will probably result in animal cruelty charges.” I’m told.
“It wouldn’t be cruelty, it would be…” and here I can’t think of the word merciful so I end up muttering, “better… stopping… Well, it’s not in good shape.” I finish lamely.
They asked if I called a certain number and I said I didn’t that I’d tried one number and gotten a changed number and then the other one just told me to listen to my options. The kind, yet dispassionate dispatch officer, knowing how to deal with the over imaginative, adrenaline-addled horror movie susceptible segment of the population gave me a fourth number.
I dial the fourth number and begin to tell another person of my brush with the feline undead. I get a quick response, “Do you have the animal trapped?”
“What?” I’m a bit taken aback, as this seems like a step in a positive direction.
“Do you have it in a cardboard box, or something?”
“I’m not going near that,” and again I imagine the tissue-paper thin skin tearing as I try to pick it up in my welding-gloved hands.
“Well, if you catch it we can send somebody out, otherwise…”
“Isn’t this animal control?” I ask, wondering if I could borrow a protective storm-trooper outfit or something.
“No, they’re closed on Sundays, this is the County Sheriff’s office. Do you still have a visual on the animal?”
“Can you see it?” I ask my wife who is still at the door.
“No, it went back around the side of the house.”
I relay the information to the sheriff.
“Sorry, if you don’t have at least a visual and we send an officer out, he’s just going to wander around your yard a second and leave, so it’s really not worth the time.”
It makes sense, yet I feel somehow let down.
“Ok,” I tell her.
“Call us back if you catch it.” and she rings off.
I ask Debbie where the cat went, and bravely (in my mind, as I still am unprotected from my knees to my toes) walk out on the porch. She tells me back up the driveway and I go investigate, but it seems the zombie cat has disappeared into the dark of the afternoon.