ALAN, WHO HAS ASKED that his last name be omitted, is standing in the doorway of his bathroom, dressed solely in a pair of khaki shorts, as he is apt to do on warm afternoons. He is going over the finer details of a recent and most unusual event. Apparently, an owl flew into the second-story window of his Silver Lake apartment in an attempt to steal his pet cat, Robert. The owl, Alan says, did not succeed. But the incident did leave Robert, an 18-year-old feline, traumatized and Alan intrigued.

“I was standing here,” Alan says, pointing to a closed door. “We have a stray cat locked in the bathroom right now, so I’m not gonna open the door — but I was in the bathroom. And Robert was right here.” Alan points to the floor of his nearby bedroom.

Robert is a durable orange tabby, whose hair is starting to clump from age, yet he still exhibits a spirited friendliness when rubbing against a stove door.

“It was about one o’clock,” Alan continues, “early Sunday morning. I was getting ready for bed, in the bathroom, and I could see out of the corner of my eye that Robert walked right here.”

Alan kneels beside a chest of drawers to indicate the exact spot where his cat supposedly came under siege.

“Suddenly, with a loud thump and a scratchy noise, a big brown shape descended on him, completely covering him. Essentially orange disappeared and dark brown took its place. And then I heard Robert meow and the shape disappeared. I came in here and Robert ran out into the dining room.”

Alan, who is 47, turns his torso as if he were watching his cat leave the room.

And you saw this out of the corner of your eye?

“I saw it out of the corner of my eye, right,” Alan nods.

The lights were on?

“There were lights on in here and in here.” Alan points to the bathroom and hallway of his large one-bedroom apartment. “So there was light. And I said to Zsuzsa” — Zsuzsa is Alan’s wife of 35 years — “?‘Oh my god, Lily ambushed Robert from the top of the chest.’?”? Lily, it should be noted, is Alan’s second cat. “Clearly something had descended on [Robert] from a height. But then I thought about it, and [Lily]’s not big enough to completely cover him, and she’s black, not brown. Plus, the chest is across the room.”

According to Alan, Robert’s behavior was very strange after all this occurred. First off, he refused to come into the bedroom for the rest of the night.

“His favorite thing in life is that he waits all day for cuddling with us in bed,” Alan points out.

In the morning, when they brought him into the bedroom and put him on the bed, he refused to get off. Alan suspects that Robert was scared something might be under the bed.

“When I finally lifted him down he started sniffing around this whole area very intently, and the slightest noise scared him. He wouldn’t come back in until I got some soap and washed down this whole area.”

What kind of cleaner did you use?

“Simple Green, something with a real strong scent. The only explanation is an owl flew in. If you see here” — Alan, still kneeling, points to his bedroom window — “this is right where it happened. And if you squat down here and look over there, you see a possible perching spot on either the branch or the railing of that balcony.”

Have you ever seen an owl around here?

“Never, never.” He looks very sincere.

Is that one of those little Christmas trees that someone planted years ago and now is big?

“Yes, it is. I planted it. Someone gave it to me.” Alan looks at the window again. “It’s a beeline from there to here, if an owl were desperate. I am not a hundred percent sure if that was exactly what it was, but I have no other explanation for this.”

Garrison Frost of Audubon California says the likelihood of an owl flying into a Silver Lake apartment is very slim. “Golly,” he says via phone. “I’ve never heard of anything like that happening. You’ll hear of wildlife interacting with urban civilization, mountain lions coming down from the Angeles forest .?.?. hmmm.”

But Alan is sticking to his theory, if only for lack of a better explanation. Besides, this is not the first bird to have flown into his life. Fifteen years ago, on the first day he and his wife were in this apartment, a canary flew into anopen window and perched on a chair. The canary, a male, stayed two years, and Alan, who has been an avid bird watcher since his early teens, says it sang beautifully.

Robert, at the time, was essentially a kitten and belonged to the downstairs neighbor. Yet every afternoon, he would wander through the preexisting cat door of Alan’s apartment, along with his companion, the now-deceased Agatha, and sit outside the sunroom where the canary was kept. Robert and Agatha would watch the bird through the French doors and eventually spent so much time visiting Alan’s apartment that their previous owner asked Alan if he would like to call the cats his own.

Zsuzsa, what do you think about all this owl stuff?

“I told him right away, ‘This sounds like an urban legend.’?” Alan’s wife is wiping away some dust from the kitchen counter.

Hearing her reply, Alan hustles into the kitchen. “But when I ask her,” he retorts, “?‘Do you have a better explanation for what happened?’ she doesn’t.”

“I don’t, I don’t .?.?.” Zsuzsa says with a slight shake of the head. “Other than, maybe Robert going senile?”

“But how can Robert going senile create a brown shape descending on him from above? That is not senility .?.?. that would be my senility, not Robert’s.”

Zsuzsa casts her eyes to the floor ?flirtatiously and answers, “That is possible.”

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