Never bet against the Cat. That is a lesson I am still trying to learn. As a reformed Cat-hater, I have come to not only tolerate but to love and, dare I say, respect the feline species.
You’ll notice any time I use the “c” word, it will be capitalized. As the old saying goes, dogs have masters — Cats have staff. So, I feel it only proper to refer to the Boss with due consideration.
All my family’s Cats have been rescue kitties. Funny thing — as soon as you move to the country, friends and relatives see you (more specifically, your land) as a stray critter repository. Kind of like when you buy a pickup truck, you automatically become everyone’s moving company.
Let’s start with China (the Cat, not the country). He came to us as a kitten soon after we moved to the farm. He was a street-wise Cat, having come from Forest Avenue. Also, he could levitate. No kidding. We would try to look for him, only to find him on top of the kitchen cabinets, looking down at us, mockingly. Or, better yet, he would magically appear in a cabinet, waiting to surprise us.
Mouser, on the other hand, was a world-weary feral Cat who, I guess, found a friendly face with my Bride, me and our elderly Shih-Tzu, Skid Roe. At 4:30 every morning, after a night’s reverie, we could hear Mouser’s signature “meow meow meow” as he came up our sidewalk, ready to either take a break from the party, or to recover from a fight. Regardless, my Bride would feed him and/or patch him up, at which time he would curl up on the bed to rest up for the next evening’s activities.
Our care for Mouser was paid back in spades. Skid was used to taking walks on his own. But a combination of age and his proclivity for stuffing his face into thorny rose bushes left him with little to no vision. Mouser served as his guide, walking him down our lane and keeping him safe while he performed his daily ablutions.
One morning the “meow meow meow” wasn’t as peppy as usual. It seems Mouser had been in a brutal street fight. I’d hate to have seen the other fella. My Bride (an animal medical miracle worker) tended to his wounds. Mouser knew what she was doing and, although I am sure he was in discomfort, kept a brave face, knowing she was doing everything humanly possible to make him feel better.
I had been warned by Lorita to not get emotionally attached to country animals who show up for a while because they will just as quickly disappear. When Mouser did not come back one day it was (and still is) one of the hardest losses I’ve had to face as an animal lover.
Our current Cat overlord is Tucker, a Rag Doll Cat, so named because when you try to pick them up they go limp, like a rag doll. Their fur is luxuriant like an Alpacas, and their temperament is, to be kind, bi-polar.
One minute Tuck is leisurely cozying up to you, purring contentedly in advance of the expected tummy rub. The next, a flurry of teeth assault your skin, making a bizarre noise that sounds like “snack snack snack.”
Tucker’s favorite pastime, however, is creeping out the dogs. All he has to do is sit anywhere near Sheldon (the Shih Tzu), Snoopy (the horse-sized dog) and Abby (Forget it. She is a beagle. Nothing bothers her) and pandemonium ensues.
If you ever have an exasperated friend ask you to take a stray cat off their hands, take a chance. The fun and frivolity of these felines will give you years of enjoyment. And love.