Sunday, August 17, 2008


I've mentioned that I have a cat in the house. I may be the ultimate party responsible for this animal, but the ownership roles tend to be reversed with domestic felines. In other words, he owns me.

I never thought I'd want a cat, but one fine day Sis called me up. She found a kitten under her deck, and he was suffering. She took him in, and realized he needed to go to the vet because he was too young. She wanted me to take him in. I did.

I called him Duke. He obviously had Siamese heritage, even though he was mostly white with faint yellow circles on his tail, and a yellow tint at the tips of his ears. He certainly talked Siamese - his yowling could be grating. I never had him "fixed" which was a mistake.

To punish him for transgressions, like clawing furniture, I'd toss his butt outside. As he got older the female feral cats became more attractive, and it was no longer punishment. He'd escape out the door when I was busy. Then, a couple days later, his plaintive yowling signaled me he wanted back in.

Duke got into the habit of climbing to the top of the window A/C and yowled for me to come get him. He was scared to come back down on his own. Didn't stop him from climbing up there. I'd go out, and he'd generally claw the crap out of me when I'd try to get him past Babs the dog.

Naturally, that got old. One day, I decided he could climb down on his own and come to the door when he was ready. I never saw him again.

He'd come home all chewed up, so he was fighting it out with the local tom toughs. I regularly find coyote scat in my yard, and they have no problem with a menu that includes kitteh. A white cat is bit more of a target. So, I should have had him fixed, and kept him inside.

Well, it was kinda lonely at the catless ranch after that, so I went to Dodge to the animal shelter to adopt a cat. I didn't want a kitten again - it felt like the scratches and bite marks had just healed. I wanted one at least half grown. There was a beautiful long haired lady patrolling the area - they let her out to roam the facility because she was so personable. But, she had been declawed. No way she'd survive if she got out in my rough and tumble world.

There were kittens galore, but the one that caught my eye was a half grown Garfield in the making. One of those orange tabby types. He seemed to take to me right off. I decided to go with Rooster as a name - in keeping with the John Wayne theme. I put him in my truck enclosed in a cat carrier, but he wasn't happy about it. I let him out, and he was all over me on the way home.

Rooster has turned out to be a bit of a 'fraidy cat. He likes to look out the windows, but when a door is opened the desire to go out just isn't in him. He did get out several months ago. Some of my buddies dropped by one night while I was cooking supper. My front screen door doesn't have a "closer" on it, so if you don't close it, it, like other doors, doesn't close itself. My buds were a bit lubed, so the concept of a non self closing screen door never occurred to them. Rooster took this opportunity to explore. I saw him a couple times that night, and he was not interested in coming back what so ever.

I didn't see him at all the next day. I was still home recuperating from my heart surgery, so I had time to keep an eye out. The next day, I checked my old "well house." Years ago, the windmill pumped water into a couple holding tanks in the little building to keep milk cool before the water flowed on out to the stock tanks. It's a great shelter for mice and stray cats, plus some birds. Rooster had hidden himself there. It took some convincing for him to decide to come to me, but he finally did. I got him inside and he ate everything in sight, promptly hurled it up, and slept for about three days. He doesn't want to go outside at all these days.

He also isn't much for playing. He'll play with toy mice and other cat toys, but if I tie a string to one of the "mice" he isn't interested. He loves laser pointers, but he gets lazy and when he decides I am to just play it around his feet so he doesn't have to move at all, well, I put it away. He has a cat pole with three levels that reaches the ceiling. The carpeting has been re-stapled to the cardboard tubes many times. Rooster was initially afraid to go to the top level, so another buddy thought I should put his cat treats up there as an incentive. Now that is the only way he will eat them. He'll run at the pole from across the room and smack it, causing some treats to fall to the floor. If he doesn't see one fall, it doesn't exist to him anymore. As a rule, the floor is littered with cat treats he won't eat. If I pick them up and put them on the top level, suddenly they are fair game again.

Speaking of fair game, he's a decent mouser. This house is nearly one hundred years old, and the occasional mouse finds it's way in. He's captured them all. They are coming in around the pipes under the kitchen sink - if I would stuff some more steel wool in the gaps, that would stop. I hate going into the dirt cellar, though. I usually find fresh skins from snakes, the cobwebs are incredible, and it's a pain to crawl to where the pipes go into the kitchen. So, Rooster is the last line of defense.

Only he has gotten a bit jaded about the whole thing. The mice used to be killed promptly, then used as toys. Now, the chase is the big thing. He'll let them run and try to hide somewhere, so when I'm trying to snooze, I may have a mouse hunt going on.

Rooster is far more vocal than any Siamese as well. His little mewlings and plaintive cries are really endearing at 2am. No telling what he wants, other than attention. He is primarily a lap cat. I'm surprised he hasn't pissed all over my laptop, considering that is his competition. I've got him trained not to jump on my chair unless I call to him - I kinda meow at him, and he knows permission is granted. He really doesn't need a lot of petting - it only lasts a couple minutes until he wants to take care of his ablutions and then nap.

He's also figured out fairly well what he can destroy and what he can't. The cat pole is his to destroy. There is a sisal rope plank hanging from the kitchen door knob. The rattan clothes hamper has not fared so well, but that is about the only thing he has torn up.

He's a puker, too. I've found cat hurl all over the house, and he had climbed to some pretty remote spots to be able to place his stomach contents where he has. I particularly like finding it in my dish rack, or on top of my entertainment center. He sheds like a long haired cat - my vacuum cleaner is always full of cat hair.

But, I can put out several days worth of cat food and it takes him several days to eat it. He likes the treats and the occasional wet cat food. He isn't a picky eater. When I make sandwiches to carry in the truck, he really likes tidbits of lunchmeat. He gets tuna when I make mac, cheese, tuna and peas for supper.

Plus, Mr. Stealthy, heir to the kings of the jungle, must wear invisible combat boots. That is the only explanation for the clomping noises he makes while running through the house, showing off. I like to call it "throwing it into four wheel drive" because his claws are out when he's on the carpeting, stomping around. This is usually when he throws himself at the cat pole to dislodge his treats.

He'll never dial 911 to save my life, nor will he inform me that little Timmy fell into the well, but that isn't a job for a cat anyways. He must be a union animal. I do get a kick out of him and his antics, and miss him when I'm gone. I know he misses me, and he knows when I'm leaving, I may not be back for a while (The neighbors feed him and Babs when I'm on an extended trip).

So, I never thought I'd be a cat person, but there you have it.


Jerry in Texas said...

I never thought I'd be a cat person either, but I've got three outdoor cats (there originally were 4). I wanted some good mousers. I don't know. These dumb cats can't figure out which way to run when a truck comes towards them (under the truck is not a good choice).

Some how they've given me fleas, which I think are now in my house.

I think it would have been easier to make some sort of treaty with the mice.

threecollie said...

We call those heavy cat feet "thunderpaw". I love it when our little house cat thunderpaws through the house. He sounds like a herd of buffalo.

ptg said...

I had a cat that 'saved my life' twice. Once it woke me up just in time to hit the cellar as a tornado went over the house. It destroyed houses on both sides of mine and blew out all my windows.

I moved to another house and the same cat woke me up to let me know a brick had fallen into the chimney and CO was gassing us. I was confused and sick, but the cat kept yowling until my head cleared enough to get outdoors.

I'm not really sure if the cat cared about me, but it knew it wasn't going to get out of the house unless I opened the door. No matter, the result was the same.

Anonymous said...

Only pet I have ever had is a cat, except the baby lamb I "borrowed" once so I could get the cat.
She's stubborn and opinionated and I call her "light foot" because she walks like she weighs 100 pounds. Her real name is Mot (Irish slang for girlfriend) great company, and she doesn't mind being left alone.

Anonymous said...

Rooster looks a little like my Buster (full name: Buster MacFusser).

I miss my kitties. I'll see them Saturday. :)