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.