Tether-Cat

Despite what you might think, I am not a hater of cats. I have been politely scolded a couple of times lately for a couple of comments I’ve made about cats that could have been possibly misunderstood or taken out of context to imply or insinuate or suggest that perhaps I might be a person who hates cats. I don’t. Really.

I just think cats have a brain about the size of a field pea.

That doesn’t mean that I hate them. Hold on, now. Put that down. Please don’t throw your coffee cup at me.

It just means that cats are an easy target for humor.

Admit it. Even if you love cats. And, you think cats are the most wonderful gift to humankind. You have 2 or 12 of them. You love to scratch their pointy little ears and hear them purr. You feed them Fancy Feast. You’re a no-Friskies-is-good-enough-for-my-precious-fur-ball kind of weird messed up person.

Even if that’s you, you have teased a cat just for the humor of it. You know you have. You’ve tortured him just a little bit for the pure pleasure of a cheap laugh. You’re one of those who secretly looks for those videos of cats sliding off the countertop, or leaping for the edge and missing it, or getting the beejeebeez scared out of them so they jump and twist and break their little necks getting out of the way. I’d bet money on it.

You’ve made him chase the red laser dot until his little pea brain is all scrambled up inside that little stupid head of his. I mean cute fuzzy-wuzzy head of his. He ploughs into the wall. You laugh until it hurts. And, then, you do it again. Your evil masquerade is up.

Am I right? You know I am.

So, don’t come at me with all this gushy-wushy sympathy disguised as a mother-like concern for cats.

“Now, now. Cats count, too. We mustn’t say things that hurt their feelings.”

I like cats just fine. It’s just that I like dogs better. One of my all time favorite cartoons says this in a way that cannot be improved upon. Gary Larson. Far Side. A cat tied to the end of a rope attached to a pole. Two dogs slapping it round and round, back and forth. Tongues hanging out. Doggy smiles. Tails wagging. And the caption says, “Tether-Cat”.

No cats were harmed in the making of this cartoon.

When I was maybe 12 years old, we had a calico cat at our house. We had what seemed like 75 cats that hung around the barn and smokehouse. Mouse chasers. You couldn’t catch a single one of them. But this one had become friendly. Mama let him stay on the back porch where we kept the washer and dryer.

The washing machine was a front loader. The door always stayed open, and the cat liked to crawl in and sleep there. One day, my grandmother, who lived with us, takes an armload of clothes or sheets or whatever to the back porch. She stuffs them in the front of the washer. Shuts the door. Pours in the soap and starts it up.

Mama is working at the sink in the kitchen.

“Do you hear the cat?”

We started following the sound. It was coming from the back porch, we thought. He’s not behind the freezer. I crawled up and looked behind the dryer. Maybe he’s outside. Not there. Then it hit us. We stopped the washer and pulled out one of the most pitiful little cats you’ve ever seen.

“Cleanest cat I ever saw”, Dad said.

There you have it. Humor at the expense of a cat.

Dad told us one time that one of the worst whippings he ever got involved a cat. He and the cat were playing by the fireplace. He took the tongs and pulled out a small piece of hot coal and put it in front of the cat, which instinctively reached out and touched it with his paw. Cat screamed and ran off. Dad got yanked up and taken out behind the woodshed.

I do not support any kind of cruelty to cats. Honestly. But I don’t consider teasing to be unacceptably cruel.

We have a grandcat. A grand cat is a cat that actually belongs to one of your adult children, but for whatever reason now lives in your home. He’s temporarily ours until the dawn of the next century. His official name is Jack. Sometimes, Jack-Jack. I typically call him Jackson. It really doesn’t matter. He ignores them all and does whatever he wants to do anyway.

Jack’s nemesis is plastic bags. The kind that you bring home from the dollar store. Make the least bit of noise with a plastic bag and he shoots off the couch like a F16 Falcon off the deck of an aircraft carrier. So, what do I do? I walk quietly into the living room with a plastic bag and hit the launch code. It’s funny every time. And he still comes to sit in my lap and lets me scratch his ears. We have an understanding. He gets fed and loved. I get to scare the crap out of him.

Currently, I am in a state of heartfelt sympathy for Jackson. The new and unexpected dog which came into our lives just before Christmas has turned Jack’s world upside down. More accurately, Jack lives in constant fear for his life. Max is a playful dog. And, unfortunately, one of his favorite games is chase the cat.

I was told that Max gets along with cats famously. But Jackson has become a homeless vagabond living in an abandoned Armadillo den beneath the retaining wall next to the driveway. He has been forced to come out at night and sneak to his food dish. When he does come in the house, he’s nervous. His dog radar is on high alert.

I hope to make progress soon. I honestly feel for Jack the Cat. And just so you know, I have scolded Max. If Jack comes in, Max goes out. If Jack is out, and Max goes out, I keep him on a leash. This is work.

My fear is that I’ll come home one day from work and Max will have teamed up with one of our neighbor’s dogs. I’ll come driving down the hill to the house. And there in the front yard, they’ll be playing Tether-Cat.

I’m sorry. I just can’t get that cartoon out of my head.

2 thoughts on “Tether-Cat

  1. Hmmmm; cats can be pretty smart, just so as you know. I was just thinking about how when I need to give the dog that I help take of some medicine, he just laps it up as long as I give him a little piece of food. My cats, on the other hand, no matter if I mix it up pureed in their food perfectly – nope, nope, nope. And let’s put their hunting skills up against a dog. :-0 🙂

    Like

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