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Tag Archive: cats

Sep 29

R.I.P Henry, the cat

“No amount of time can erase the memory of a good cat –Leo Dworken

In Greek mythology, a prologue is an opening to a story that establishes the setting and gives background details that tie into the main story.

With that in mind, here is my prologue to a story I wrote three years ago about Henry, a neighborhood cat who could survive just about anything including a near-death experience in our front yard.

Since then during a fierce territorial feline war, another cat in the neighborhood bit a huge chunk out of Henry’s head. Henry lived.

In the last three years, Henry also successfully dodged cars that nearly ran over him and escaped the clutches of any number of malicious raccoons, skunks and bobcats in the nearby woods where he was the undisputed king of the forest. He fell sick a time or two from eating too many mice, but somehow he always survived whatever ailed him.

If you are counting, that is more than nine lives. Sadly, this unconquerable cat recently succumbed to something he could not beat–old age and infirmity.

Henry was resolute, determined, tough, lucky and yes, one stubborn, big fat cat.

I miss him already. R.I.P Henry.

Therefore in his honor and by reader request, I am sharing once again my story about how I almost caused Henry to lose one of his nine lives.

“A cat named Henry”

“In a cat’s eye, all things belong to cats.”—Old English Proverb.

A common belief is that cats were worshipped as gods thousands of years ago. Cats have never forgotten this.

With that thought in mind, let me introduce you to Henry, our neighbor’s cat and undisputed god of our subdivision.

Now as cats go, Henry is quite likeable and better than most in my non-cat lover opinion.

Do not write telling me how wrong I am about cats. Hear me out first.

Henry is a portly, orange cat that minds his own business most of the time, mouses in the nearby field, and stands guard over my koi pond.

I generally give Henry the benefit of the doubt when he does this and assume he is guarding my fish instead of trying to eat them. So far, Henry sits contentedly watching the fish swim, and that is fine with me.

The real reason I give him this much credit is because he is a tad too indolent to expend the energy necessary for fishing.

Thus, I never worry much about Henry knowing that he will not take up fishing in addition to mousing.

As a rule, Henry eyes me with the same wariness and circumspection as I watch him. We hold our ground and neither budges.

I suspect that in a match of wills Henry would win because as all cats do, Henry senses that I am not a cat lover.

His air of superiority lets me know that he “totally gets it” (pardon the common vernacular).

Henry exudes confidence as though he understands Faith Resnick’s quote that people who hate cats will come back in the next life as mice.

That could be me except for my cat-hating redemption experience, “the rest of the story”, as Paul Harvey says.

One Friday evening, we finished packing a trailer with our youngest son’s personal belongings and furniture. We were about to drive him on an out-of-state journey to begin graduate school.

We padlocked the trailer knowing it would not be opened again until the following Tuesday, four long days later.

The next morning I realized I forgot to put one box in the trailer and hurriedly opened the lock to toss in the small box and finally be done with the packing.

To my surprise and Henry’s (this is when he re-enters my story), as I flung the trailer door open, Henry and I locked eyes. He was inside the trailer and sitting on the barbeque grill.

Apparently, he had hopped in the night before while we were packing and no one saw him.

I am not sure which of us was the most shocked, stunned, frightened or relieved.

Henry ran for home, and I was overcome with compassion for him. Likely, he would not have survived the four days shut inside a hot trailer.

I saved Henry purely on a last minute whim, or let’s call it, a nudge from the universe, and Henry survived to watch my fish another day.

Henry is now my eternal friend and I am his, although both of us realize there will never be any affection between us.

I figure that saving Henry keeps me from returning as a mouse in the next life.

We are even.

Jul 15

Backyard tales of frogs, cats, and a boy and a girl

“What are little boys (and girls) made of? Frogs and snails and puppy-dogs’ tails, that’s what little boys (and girls) are made of.”—Nursery Rhyme, adapted

English poet Robert Stouthey (1774-1843) is thought to have first penned the famous nursery rhyme “What are little boys made of”. I added the “and girls” part.

Why? Because one day this week in my backyard, I encountered a little boy and a little girl who told me fabulous tales about frogs, about the ones living in my lawn pond. These two could indeed be made of frogs.

It wasn’t long before their tales about frogs included some incredible stories about cats as well. Cats that also apparently live in my backyard.

You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned the fish in my backyard lawn pond yet. I guess you’ll have to ask the cats about that.

Nevertheless, here is what happened when I was watering my flowers the other day, minding my own business, sort of.

From behind a tall fence that separates the patio and the lawn pond, I heard small voices. Walking around to investigate, I discovered neighbor boy Hunter, age 10. With him was a small girl with beautiful red hair and lovely freckles and about the same age. Neither wore shoes, but I am not sure I have ever seen Hunter in shoes in the summertime.

Hunter introduced me to his best friend Rachael, said they met in school and that they both love frogs and cats. And, thus their fabulous tales began.

Rachael started first, “We brought you our frog Jenn, she is having babies. It all started today and she swole up and she is probably having them right now. So we brought her to your pond and put her on a lily pad. Do you want to see her? There she is and look at her fat belly and funny legs. She is not a poisonous frog though, we had a poisonous one and he had yellow hands. That is how you know if they are poisonous.”

Hunter: “We like your frogs, do you know you have lots of tadpoles, big tadpoles, and you have one orange fish (left) and we named all your frogs. Sometimes we take them back to our house. I love to catch frogs. Do you want to know the names of all your frogs? Some of the frogs wake me in the night. Your frogs are so noisy, but I still love your frogs.”

I looked at Jenn. She rested gratefully on the lily pad. I didn’t think she looked so terribly swollen, but we’ll see how she is in the morning, I thought.

Hunter interrupted my thoughts as he let out an excited squeal: “Look at Tom Cat. Did you see him jump? He does that all the time. Have you seen the cat named Evil in your backyard? We call him that because he is mean, and he is all black.”

I turned just in time to see Tom, the motley gray tomcat, jump probably 2 feet straight up into the air to catch a bug. Then, he crouched in the grass ready to pounce on a field mouse, I presume.

Rachael: “Don’t go near Evil. He lives in the woods by your creek, and he eats baby kittens. There are lots of them down near your creek; did you know that? The Mom is Ginger and she has lots of kittens all the time. We name them all. There is Midnight, who has a star on his chest, and then there is Snowball, she’s a kitten still but is fat because she eats lots of mice. There are lots more and we have them all named but I won’t tell you all their names now.”

Hunter, as he pointed to my herb garden: “What is this?”

“Mint”, I explained. “ I have both peppermint and spearmint.” Then, I picked some and showed them how to rub it between your fingers to get the most wonderful scent. I told them to take it home, wash it, and put it in a glass of lemonade or 7-Up.”

Off they ran with their new favorite thing mint leaves. I finished watering and went inside.

About 30 minutes later the doorbell rang. It was Hunter and Rachael.

Rachael: “Can you come outside and talk? You were so nice to us that we want to talk some more.”

Hunter, holding out his hand with a big frog in it: “And, we brought you Climber, he’s my favorite frog.”

Outside we talked and talked and talked about frogs and cats.

It was the best therapy ever I decided for combating an otherwise tiring and overly busy day.

As I walked back to my front door, I almost went instead to Hunter’s house to ring the doorbell and ask, “Can you and Rachael come out and talk; you were so nice to me.”

Aug 21

A cat named Henry

“In a cat’s eye, all things belong to cats.”
—Old English Proverb.

A common belief is that cats were worshipped as gods thousands of years ago. Cats have never forgotten this.

With that thought in mind, let me introduce you to Henry, our neighbor’s cat and undisputed god of our subdivision.

Now as cats go, Henry is quite likeable and better than most in my non-cat lover opinion.

Do not write telling me how wrong I am about cats. Hear me out first.

Henry is a portly, orange cat that minds his own business most of the time, mouses in the nearby field, and stands guard over my koi pond.

I generally give Henry the benefit of the doubt when he does this and assume he is guarding my fish instead of trying to eat them. So far, Henry sits contentedly watching the fish swim, and that is fine with me.

The real reason I give him this much credit is because he is a tad too indolent to expend the energy necessary for fishing.

Thus, I never worry much about Henry knowing that he will not take up fishing in addition to mousing.

As a rule, Henry eyes me with the same wariness and circumspection as I watch him. We hold our ground and neither budges.

I suspect that in a match of wills Henry would win because as all cats do Henry senses that I am not a cat lover.

His air of superiority lets me know that he “totally gets it (pardon the common vernacular). Henry exudes confidence as though he understands Faith Resnick’s quote that people who hate cats will come back in the next life as mice.

That could be me except for my cat-hating redemption experience, “the rest of the story”, as Paul Harvey says.

On Friday evening of last week, we finished packing a trailer with our youngest son’s personal belongings and furniture. We were about to drive him on an out-of-state journey to begin graduate school.

We padlocked the trailer knowing it would not be opened again until the following Tuesday.

Four long days later.

But I digress. The next morning I realized I forgot to put one box in the trailer and hurriedly opened the lock to toss in the small box and finally be done with the packing.

To my surprise and Henry’s (this is when he re-enters my story), as I flung the trailer door open, Henry and I locked eyes. He was inside the trailer and sitting on the barbeque grill.

Apparently, he had hopped in the night before while we were packing and no one saw him.

I am not sure which of us was the most shocked, stunned, frightened, or relieved.

Henry ran for home, and I was overcome with compassion for him. Likely, he would not have survived the four days shut inside a hot trailer.

I saved Henry purely on a last minute whim, or let’s call it, a nudge from the universe, and Henry survived to watch my fish another day.

Now, Henry is my eternal friend and I am his, although both of us realize there will never be any affection involved.

I figure that saving Henry keeps me from returning as a mouse in the next life.

We are even.