I’m not usually a ‘cat person’.
I typically like cats that are dog-like, or at least, just don’t act like in the snobby and stuck up way that a cat usually does. I like cats with distinctive personalities and not the kind of cats that solicit a good rub down then claw and bite you mid-way through when they have had their fill. Or cats that give off the impression that they don’t need you, don’t really want you there, and would, quite frankly, probably be much happier should you drop dead in front of them.
I have had such a cat. Actually, I have had a few cats that I can remember. First was Tinker, when I was just a wee pup of 3 years old. Tinker turned out to actually be a neighbor’s cat, but she was my first official pet, even if I couldn’t claim her as my own. The next was my solid black tom, Blackie, and his adopted ‘brother’, Tiger. Blackie sadly ran off to a neighbor’s house after one of my brother’s ‘friends’ chucked pinecones at him one too many times. Tiger was with us for many years until he decided to car surf (don’t ask) one day down the road and we never saw him again. The next was a cat that I have written about before, Garfield. You can read about Garfield in my posts, Super Fantastic Cat Alarm 5000, Super Fantastic Cat Alarm 2, and finally in his last blog, It Ain’t Always Easy. That was the last time we had a cat that I really loved.
I told myself we would never own another cat. Ever.
Every cat that I loved either packed up and left of its own accord or met their end with an automobile in some way. Cats, for whatever reason, are attracted to cars in the same way that moths and June bugs are attracted to your porch light. I also don’t like the idea of an outdoor cat, because they usually will kill birds, lizards, toads, and all of the creepy crawlies that I enjoy having around.
God, as usual, had other plans.
One day, as we were quietly doing math problems in our homeschool room, in the midst of division problems, the kids scream out, “CAT! IT’S A CAAAAAAAT!” After recovering from my minor heart attack brought on by the piercing screams of 2 children during a moment of silence, I look out the window to see the slinky tail of a cat sauntering (because that’s what cats do…they don’t walk, they saunter) past our barn. I make the kids stay inside and I run outside to try and find said cat. Of course, it’s nowhere to be found. They can do that, you know. Disappear magically without the slightest trace.
About a week later, we were in the barn when suddenly a cat came flying out from nowhere…right by my legs. I’m doing a weird, leaping dance while making strange, unintelligible choking noises with 3 small dogs chasing a stray cat who is running through my legs and a big 100 pound goober dog who is frantically trying to escape the situation unsuccessfully as his claws skate perilously on concrete while doing sideways donuts around the whole of the fracas. Of course the cat made it out. You knew that, though. As Jason says, anyone with any sense at all will yield to a cat.
A couple of days later, one night I happened to see the cat in the barn snacking on dog food. I call Jason out and as he slammed close one door I closed the other. The cat was trapped. We snuck in. The cat was in a corner, under a workbench and he was not a happy camper. He was meowing in the most pathetic manner you could imagine. Well, as I’m on one side of the barn, Jason makes his way to the other, which in turn is herding the cat STRAIGHT TOWARDS ME. I don’t turn my back on animals I don’t know, and I don’t want to reach for the door because I am terrified that this cat will use me as a human pole vault to escape. Jason is calling, “Here, kitty kiiiiitty!” in his nicest voice and I’m getting slowly cornered as the cat creeps closer and closer. All I can see is the cat attached to my face, I get rabies, and lose my vision.
In one singular motion, cat leaps (flies) through the air and is now above my head on the supporting 2×4 on the wall of the barn. Only a cat can make a 6 foot leap, scale a post, and walk across a 2″ surface without so much as a single false step. Now is my turn to escape. I run back to Jason in the safety zone. I don’t think he notices how breathless and pale I am.
J: Well, what now?
Me: I don’t know. What do you think?
J: Well, I mean, we don’t need a stray cat out here. Should we….
Me: Get rid of it?
J: (frowns and shrugs)
Me: I mean, I don’t want to…you know…he’s such a pretty cat. But we can’t have a feral cat around the kids and the chickens.
Me: (sighs and looks at cat)
(cat is staring at us accusingly through slitted eyes still balancing on his perch)
Me: Crap. Well, we can’t kill the damned thing, I mean, we just can’t. Let’s just wait and see. Let’s let him out.
A week after that, we lost a chicken to a raccoon. Jason set up a live trap using a can of cat food. The next morning, my oldest comes running in the house. “WE CAUGHT A CAAAAAT!” Maybe I should have used a can of coon food. Apparently, if you set a trap using cat food, I guess you’re gonna catch a cat. Well, there you go. There’s a lesson for you.
Let me pause the story to tell you about cats. After working in a veterinary clinic for a few years, there was one animal that I feared the most. Not a snake, huge hissing monitor lizard, angry dog, or a pissed off parrot with a beak like a set of Vise-Grips. It was the cat that struck up the most fear. Not only does a cat have a very impressive and deadly set of nice pointed teeth, but it also has 4 sets of equally sharp claws. Cats have the muscle tone of a bodybuilder and they can rotate their heads and body something akin to Linda Blair mixed with an owl and a Cirque du Soleil contortionist. You don’t want to tangle with a pissed off cat. You want proof?
This woman was trying to keep this stray cat away from her dog which it had just attacked. Note the body language of the cat. It is completely puffed up, including tail, ears are all the way back, in an extremely defensive posture. Do not EVER approach an animal with these signs unless you want to end up with some time in the ER.
This video gives me flashbacks of two cat attacks I have personally witnessed, and one I didn’t. The first was when I was attacked myself. As I was walking past a friend’s bed, her cat who was the spawn of the devil himself, leapt from the bed and latched all of its teeth into my elbow. It was shocking, it hurt, and I was in disbelief. I am sure that the cat was extremely territorial and I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. At any rate, it wasn’t an animal that had any business around children.
The second time was when I was a grooming assistant at a pet store. My co-worker was about to bathe this cat, and I had my back turned. Suddenly, she said my name in a strange and terrified voice. I wheeled around, and the cat was attached to her arm, teeth fully sunk into her flesh, and all 4 sets of claws were also engaged. Wide-eyed, all I knew to do was pop the cat on the head to get it to release. It did, and my co-worker promptly fainted.
Last story I have was about Jason’s aunt. She was going to clean out a storage shed at a new house they had just bought. When she walked in, a feral cat leapt onto her face, attacking her viciously. I can’t remember if the cat was rabid or not, but I’m sure she at least had to get the vaccines.
So, bearing all that in mind, back to my cat story.
Well, dear readers, here it is that I have to stop my cat story.
Because, you see, I was writing this nice long blog, all about my love for our new cat. I was writing this on a lovely Saturday afternoon. Our cat (whom I named Churchill, and ‘Church’ for short) was contentedly sunning himself on our front porch all day long. That night, I locked him up in the barn and the next day, he was gone.
I guess my words held more truth than even I believed.
Cats really can disappear magically without a trace.
Goodbye, Church. One day, maybe we’ll meet again.