I knew that mayhem was afoot when, walking down the hall at my parents home, the cat, having antagonized my mom’s purse dog, a silky terrier, was yet again was leading the dog into another trap of some kind. The cat could easily outrun the terrier and lived to make that dog crazy so I dodged the two small rockets as they flashed by and all but skidded through the ninety degree turn into my sister’s room.
The dog was arguably still a puppy while the cat was at least 4 years old and after living with me for almost all of those years, had some street creds which the dog could not comprehend. Over the past few weeks of living together while I prepared to move away for college, the cat firmly established the understanding that he was in charge and the tiny terrier had better get used to it.
So while the cat was running, the dog would give chase, but when he stopped, the dog was recalling what had happened every time he tried to disciple the cat. In short the dog got creamed; pounded and laid out to bleed out (figuratively speaking of course as the cat never used his claws).
So the cat ran along the side of my sister’s waterbed, which, if you’re old enough to recall normally sat on a pedestal. My sister had a cover that reached down almost to the floor, so behind it was a small cat-sized cave running the base of the bed.
The dog stopped near the end of the bed and began yapping while puppy-jumping up and down, so he could look as mean and nasty as a, — well, as an enraged puppy. The cat was not impressed and sat calmly waiting for his chance to savage the dog’s sense of self-respect. Then it happened.
The dog was too excited to remain stable and on one jump came down wrong, lost his balance and rolled over sideways from where he lost sight of the cat for less than 2 seconds.
Clumsy dog, I thought laughing to myself.
But as I watched, the cat recognized his chance and slipped behind the bed spread draped down to the floor and disappeared from view into that little cave beneath the waterbed. Oh wow. Clever cat!
The dog regained his stance ready to resume not scaring the cat in the least, but where was the cat? Where’s he go?
So already this was funny. The dog was mystified and the cat, well, as I watched, the cat invisibly and silently walked down the blanket cave towards the dog. I could see his paws slowly moving just barely beneath the bed spread. The dog was now silent looking for a full cat, swiveling his back and forth, but no joy.
In seconds the cat was right beside the dog with only the blanket between them. The dog was just turning to look behind him when two black and white paws flashed out from beneath the blanket and began to swat madly at the dog, pounding him from both left and right, up and down, head and body without reveling his presence from behind the drape.
I was in full belly laugh by this time as the dog was being knocked senseless, not even able to understand where his assailant was or where the paws were coming faster than anyone could count. Finally the dog fell over, completely flummoxed and rolled just out of reach of the cat who withdrew his paws and quickly made his way back down towards the head of the bed. On arrival, he silently resumed his original position sitting where right where he had just disappeared from and began judging the dog with an expression that pronounced him as “pathetic, just pathetic”.
The dog finally regained his balance and sat up to — what the. . . ? The cat had magically rematerialized, right where he’d been before some demon ghost had worked him over over with invisible flying paws.
The dog was out of breath, completely confused and so disgraced that he was close to loosing his dog card. He had no idea what had just happened and the cat, my cat, was king of the place from that day forward. The dog was and remained alive only at the pleasure of the cat.
It was a priceless moment to have beheld.
I’ve only had one cat in my travels and it was more of an accident than a planned act. I was coming back from shopping one evening and found a kitten, a real little black and white guy hanging around my San Jose apartment door. He looked lost and cold and hungry so I took him in and fed him and cared for him overnight. The next morning was a Saturday and I determined to find his owner, so I did the door to door thing until came to one door where the guy looked him over and answered me, “Yep, he’s from a litter our cat just had.”
“Ah, well I found him last night and didn’t know where he belonged so I kept him for the evening. Here he is.”
As I tried to hand him back, his owner, without even beginning to meet my outreached hands he said, “But it’s yours if you’d want it because we’re going to get rid of the lot of them.”
I knew well what that meant and by now, I liked the little guy too much to want him discarded like kitchen garbage which was clearly what this guy had in mind, so, I thanked him and carried my new kitten back up to my apartment and began a fun friendship.
First thing, he needed a name and to snub his near-miss-fate, I named him, Trash E. Cat, or just, Trash for short and he quickly made himself at home and endured the next hour in a box in my car while I acquired the needed cat gear.
I wanted to leave apartment life and soon afterwards, a room opened up at a rental home with some caving friends so Trash and I moved to much better digs where one of my roommates helped me train Trash is acceptable cat behavior. In short, he was not welcome on the dining room table or any kitchen counter. Trash did not take hints at all. We needed to strongly communicate the rules or be ignored so any infraction got him ejected from the indoors for a while and since the front door was nearby, the walkway, which was almost always covered with pine needles became his landing strip for when we threw him out. We knew he was young and would always land safely and after a while he got fairly aerodynamic and left these cool skid marks in the pine needles as he made so many controlled crash landings on our front walk. More than one arriving visitor chastised us for welcoming their arrival by throwing the cat out at them — before we realized that they were out there. Sorry!
Trash did all the normal cat things. He slept on my bed each night. He hated my guts wherever he got so dirty that I had to take him in the shower with me – and yes, I’ve heard all the lectures I need about how this was likely unnecessary, but it was always a time of howling and bonding for us so please, just relax . . .
He brought me captured and half dead critters in the summer when I left my window open for him to come and go as he pleased. The moth with a six-inch wingspan had to be my least favorite. Waking up to the cat was one thing. Waking up to a giant moth flapping two damaged wings in my half-asleep face was quite another.
He could be scary intuitive. I’ll never forget bringing a new girl friend home and Trash picked right up on the fact that she was somehow special. He never gave any of my other friends grief but just this certain one I was so fond of and one night I’d started a fire in the fireplace with a plan to sit on the couch with her , facing the fire and smooching for a while. Uncharacteristically, Trash took exception and insisted on sitting between us and scowling at her every time we got too close for his judgment. She was a neat gal, but Trash was right that she was not the gal for me. I later broke off our relationship and right afterwards she retaliated by doing something that for me was a full disqualification for a continued relationship, which we no longer had of course. All said and done, it just took me almost a year to catch up with the Trash knew after only 20 minutes. I still wonder just how do he did this?
But Trash and I were best buds for about 3 years until I went back to college and the dorms would not take pets. Trash moved into my parents home, with the much younger, much smaller and much abused silky terrier. They developed enough of a relationship that they could sort of be called friends, but honestly it mostly Trash setting traps for Teddy, Teddy getting creamed, Mom saving Teddy, Trash being set (not thrown) outside and the two of them entertaining my parents daily with some of the greatest chaos animals of their size can provide.
My visits home would always give dad, through tears of laughter, a new audience for some wild torture Trash had dealt out to the dog. He remained popular with everyone, well except that poor purse dog.
It’s probably a good thing that my wife, my daughter and I are all allergic to cats now.