Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Shooting The Cat

Kittens are cute little things. I know very few people who aren’t charmed by kittens. Sadly, kittens have the despicable habit of turning into cats. For that reason, I’m a dog guy—always have been, always will be.
We once had a cat on the farm, though, thanks to my slightly deranged sister. I don’t remember where she got the cute little ball of fluff but, despite being six years her junior, I knew that no good would come of the affair. Sis was probably in her mid-teens and thus old enough to care for the thing so, of course, the responsibility ended up falling on Mom anyway.

Most farm cats don’t have litter boxes; that’s what the great outdoors is for. Naturally, once the cat arrived, you had to watch your step in dusty areas of the lawn, barn and driveway, and even in the gravel of the driveway. The kitten eventually turned into a beautiful grey Persian cat, which the folks made sure to get spayed before its presence became common knowledge among the neighborhood tomcats.

Now, most farmers think that having a cat around the barn is a good thing, since most cats are good at catching mice, but sis’s cat didn’t seem to like either cattle or mice very well, so she didn’t travel the 400 feet to the barn very often. That may have also been in part due to her ample pear-shaped body from her love of spaghetti and other people foods. Cat food just wasn’t her thing. Unfortunately, such things gave her extraordinary gas which, in typical cat-like fashion, she figured was OUR problem, not hers.

While the cat would on occasion kill a mouse, if it attacked first, she much preferred songbirds. Plus, more than once, I caught her with a baby rabbit, hide torn almost completely from its body as she tortured it to death. For those who have ever wondered, you CAN drop-kick a cat, but I don’t suggest it as they tend to walk funny for a few weeks afterward.

After my sister went to college, all home improvement stopped on the old farm house and the cat got less attention, as well. That combination seemed to cause the cat to look for additional ways to be aggravating. She found that she could climb the screen door on the back porch and get into the rafters that had been uncovered during some planned renovation. She then found a hole that she could squeeze through into the half-story attic room over the rear ell of the house. The room was used only for storage of ancient odds and ends and was in some disarray. As a result, there were times in the night when I would lie sleeping, only to be awoken by the sound of some object falling beyond the door going from my bedroom into the attic. Talk about things going bump in the night! But, at least I knew who was responsible.

One day when the folks were gone and the cat was milling around the back porch, I looked at the sagging screen of the back door and the gap at the top, where the overweight feline had pulled the screen from its frame, and an idea struck me. Going to a closet in the next room, I found an old hot-water bottle and the accompanying hose and nozzle used for things that I won’t discuss here. Filling it with water and mounting the hose and nozzle, I sat a chair a few feet inside the screen door and WAITED.

I didn’t have to wait long. Soon, the cat decided to climb the screen to its upstairs territory. Tucking the water bottle under one arm and aiming with the other hand, I clamped my arm down on the bottle for pressure and gave the cat a good hosing. The look of shock on its face was more than I could handle without laughing aloud. The cat dove from the screen, ran a few feet and shook the water off as best it could. A few minutes later, it tried climbing the screen again with the same results. It left the porch that time.

That evening, Mom was in the closet for some reason and asked if I’d been using the hot-water bottle. When I told her that I had and what for, she and Dad cracked up. A few days later, Dad got the ladder, found the hole into the attic and patched it. I never did break the cat of climbing the screen even though I “shot” her a few more times. Cats are cats, after all. With the hole blocked, she sometimes just sat on one of the rafters and stared down at me with a disgusted look on her face. Life’s rough for a farm cat with an ornery boy around! © 2017


Glen Filthie said...

Awesome Gorges.

Mine liked to hop up on the work bench and knock the tools off the peg board. I would flip and foam with rage and he would escape before I could lay hands on him. I got one of those water pistols that are more like a water canon and soaked that little booger a few times before he wised up.

Then he decided he didn't mind water...

Lady Locust said...

I like cats as well as any other critter but sure wouldn't take kindly to it climbing the screen door. Our current cat is 17 and like you said will only kill a mouse if the mouse starts the fight. Also, no more long haired cats!

Gorges Smythe said...

They'll never let you win, Glen!

Can't blame you on the hair length, LL.

Ralph Goff said...

I guess I'm more a cat person than dog person. Had a good dog that died about 17 years ago and never seen one fit to replace her yet. My 3 tom cats are pretty well behaved. One even catches gophers and brings them in to share with the other non hunters.

Gorges Smythe said...

To show two of my prejudices at once, Ralph, I feel about cats as I do about blacks, as a group I don't like them, but some individuals are just fine.