Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lessons From the Cat

April 14, 2011
A to Z Blogging Challenge
Day 12 - L

When I was very young, we didn’t have cats, and the reason we didn’t was because my grandfather had hounds. Hunting hounds, not pets. No small animal was safe running loose around the old homestead. It wasn’t until my parents had saved enough to buy their first house that I had a cat. And my first cat was a Siamese named Mugsy.

We came by Mugsy as a favor to our next-door neighbor. They built a new house along a busy highway and feared for Mugsy’s life. I’m not sure why keeping him inside wasn’t an option, but 1967 was a long time ago and it hardly matters now. The neighbors asked my mother if we’d take him since the neighborhood was his home and he knew us. Mom said yes.

Mugsy adjusted to eating his meals and sleeping at our home. Whether or not he still haunted his old yard, I don’t remember. The yards backed up to each other so he probably did. What I do remember is Mugsy was quite the feline pugilist – or so he fancied himself.

Before he came to live with us, Mugsy was oblivious to the presence of another Siamese who lived across the road - Cocoa. We know this from Cocoa’s owner who never saw Mugsy before he came to live with us. Apparently our yard was the neutral zone, much like the one between the Federation and the Romulans.

Younger, and apparently stronger and smarter, Cocoa never came calling. He simply sat in his driveway and taunted Mugsy. By doing nothing.

Okay, he was breathing, but we have to give him a pass on that.

Mugsy hated Cocoa just on general principle… who the hell knows why. It was a cat thing. The moment Mugsy saw Cocoa, hot cat rage seized him and across the road he’d sprint, tail in the air. Cocoa would merely sit there and wait until Mugsy tackled him, and then HE WOULD KICK MUGSY’S CHOCOLATE BROWN ASS.

It was pathetic in a gotta-take-the-idiot-for-stitches-again sort of way. My dad was not pleased and now that I’m older I understand why. Vets are expensive.

We didn’t have Mugsy too many years. He was hit by a car on his way to do battle and we had to tell his original owners he died at home in the very manner they’d feared.

I don’t remember if I cried or not, being maybe ten, but I suspect I did. My stoic father didn’t protest when my mother declared we were getting a Siamese kitten at the earliest opportunity. I suppose that blunted the grief. I remember KiKi with love and fondness. He lived to the ripe old age of seventeen.

Mugsy never really joined our household. I think to him his real family deserted him and he never got over it. We cared for him, fed him, housed him and took him to the vet, but we were not his people.

And while I don’t remember Mugsy with any great affection, he taught a young girl a valuable lesson – never start a fight you can’t win.

KC Kendricks
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Melissa Bradley said...

What a great story. Makes me think of my friend's cat Cashius. That black beast fancied himself the ruler of the Known Universe and that we humans were here only to serve and leave him alone. Until he jumped out the window and got burrs in his paws. Then he sure needed human help. What a character. I never did like that cat. :)

KC Kendricks said...

My grandmother used to say "A cat's a cat, and that's that." :)

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