The half-domesticated creature we call Fred spotted me standing in the doorway, as I hoped he would. He sprinted straight into our sleepy home only to dive-bomb our 14 year-old alpha male repeatedly. Then he bit my arm and hissed loudly. I ejected him from the premises. I like our clowder just the way it is. And yes, his cuteness is his only redeeming quality. It just appears to be non-existent after midnight. Wasn’t there a movie about this? Gremlins?

Clowder, you may think that I’m trying to dazzle you with a stupidly pretentious substitute for a “bunch of cats”. And you’re right, but it brings up the bizarre taxonomy of animal grouping words. You’ve probably heard of the common ones like Gander of Geese, a Colony of Bats, a Swarm of Bees, a Pride of Lion, a Kit of Pigeon, or Murder of Raven (is that an Edgar Allen Poe reference?). Let’s see, I already bored you with a Clowder of Cats. How about a Kettle of Hawks? A Labor of Moles (because they toil away, perhaps)? Here’s one: a Parliament of Owl. An Ostentation of Peacocks? Makes sense. A Crash of Rhinoceros! And a Siege of Heron. I hate those things, by the way.

Meanwhile, Fred, who so rudely tried to disrupt the peaceful clowder, will sleep with a gaze of raccoons tonight… so that my bleeding arm may heal.

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