By Kesley Colbert
It’s been almost four years since my wife stole our neighbor’s cat. That’s old news by now. Folks have even quit laughing at me when I walk into the grocery store or the Ace Hardware or church…
And I admit I didn’t mind having the cat around in the early days. She would lay quietly on the floor…not really close underfoot and she minded her own business. If she got hungry Cooney eased over to the special bowl Cathy kept filled to the brim with extra nutritional and very expensive premium cat food.
If she needed to go to the bathroom, she strolled purposefully to the door and looked back at one of us like “what’s the hold up.” She didn’t have to say it twice. I’d immediately leap to her aid and get that door opened.
We didn’t need any accidents in the house!
Cooney learned early to stay out of my way. She was a guest. I set the rules. She should know her place. I made that perfectly clear to her. And, what I really liked, she didn’t complain one bit about having to watch all those NCIS reruns
I explained to her every chance I got how lucky she was NOT to be one of the cats we kept as kids out at the end of Stonewall Street. In 1958 we didn’t feed our cats 100% complete and balanced, chicken and salmon enriched, added vitamins and nutrients, all natural Purina Cat Chow. NOT by any stretch of the imagination! Most days we didn’t feed them anything.
They had to chase down their own supper. We provided the corn crib. The rats showed up in force intent on “eating us out of house and home.” The cats were our first line of defense.
It was pretty much an “if you don’t work, you don’t eat” kind of deal. But Mom would sometimes set a bowl of milk on the back steps. I guess that was our rendition of “added vitamin and minerals” to their diet.
They didn’t dare come into the house unless Mom had propped open the screen door when she was bringing in the groceries and a couple inadvertently sneaked in. Or Leon was trying to train one to fetch his good pair of shoes out of the closet.
We didn’t necessarily shoo them off the side porch or the back steps. We didn’t care where they hung out. But if we were running late for supper, to the point where Daddy was already sitting down, you can bet your bottom dollar it was “every cat for itself” when we raced across the porch or up the back steps!
I told Cooney about the fights. Some of those cats were about half wild! Mom called them “alley” cats like that explained why they’d “go after” one another at times. I never really understood the term. We were pretty far out of town. There were some trails out our way. And one road. And a big ditch that ran into Archie Moore’s pond. But we didn’t have any type of alley for miles around…
Leon was quick on the scene when a fight occurred. He’d grab up a bleeding cat and pour a good dose of turpentine all over every injured spot on that animal. I don’t know to this day if he was being a super good humanitarian…or he wanted to see how fast that cat leaped off the porch, flew by Aunt Jessie’s house and made like a scalded dog for the far hills…
I’m telling you, in eight seconds or less that cat would be two miles from the house and picking up speed as it went out of sight.
Cooney failed to get any of my messages. She owns our house now. We didn’t buy her one of those scratching tree things so she just uses the front and back corners of our couch and love seat. She has torn them both to shreds.
She eats standing, sitting or propped up on one side in any room in the house she chooses. All she wants to watch now on TV is “Garfield and Friends.” She insists on rummaging around in our bedroom late at night.
And here’s the last straw. She was perfectly house trained for the first three years. Lately, she will be outside playing and suddenly knock on the door. I let her in. She hurries over to the litter box Cathy has placed in the baseball locker room. She does her business. And THEN goes straight to the door and demands to go back outside.
I want to give the cat back! Right the grievous misdeed that was perpetrated on our unsuspecting neighbors. We’ve got to come clean. Make amends. Let justice prevail. Truth endure. Freedom ring…
That’s My Freedom Of Course,
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