Friends

Friends

By Angie Brown, Guest Author

I was finishing after-supper chores one day, when there was a knock on the door. I opened it to find a little girl, about nine years old, with an impish grin on her face. “Can I use your phone?” she asked. “Sure,” I replied, realizing that she was one of the children who had recently moved in next door. The next day, about the same time, she came again. This time, she said, “I came to visit.” After explaining that I couldn’t visit right then, she left. This did not discourage her. The third time, she came to use the phone again. I sensed this was going to be a daily routine, so I said, “only in emergencies.”

A few days later, she burst into the kitchen without knocking. Holding up her hand, she said, “An emergency; do you have a band-aid?” I promptly got one, as I could see a small trickle of red oozing out of the palm of her hand. I fastened the band-aid on the cut. She thanked me, gave me a slight hug and left. Her conversations were always short and sweet.

I didn’t see her again until several days later. She was on her way to our back door, but before I could get there, I saw her mother following and taking her by the hand, and ushering her back home. That told me she was coming over without permission. She was like a puppy or kitten, always returning after interruptions in between. By this time, I had much love and compassion for Daisy. It was the quiet way she had of appearing out of nowhere, plus the smile on her, usually soiled, face that got to me.

We were having our evening meal on the porch one day, when she emerged again, this time with a gray and white kitten to show us. I asked her how many they had. She said, “Tons and tons.” Skipping away, she came back with a dish of ice cream and a spoon and sat down at the table to eat it. Believing that she wanted to eat with us, I offered her a muffin, which she gladly accepted. Upon finishing that and her ice cream, she left.

Later, while I was in the garden, she called me to come over and see her kittens. Her two sisters and three brothers were also waiting as I walked over. They directed me to an unused vehicle in the yard. There, on the inside, were many cats. “Tons,” as she said, of all shapes and sizes. That explained why I was seeing so many cats in the neighborhood lately! They were climbing over the seats and the instruments. The children were having the joy that only an animal pet can bring. Babbling all at once, the children proceeded to tell me which kittens belonged to which mothers.

A few months later, when I told Daisy we were moving, she seemed disappointed. She sat quietly for a moment, and I knew she was thinking. Then off she scampered. As she returned and handed me a single, pink rosebud, the loving expression on her face revealed it all: “Thank you for being my friend.”

(For more  short stories by Angie Brown, click HERE)

Déjà vu All Over Again…Almost!

BonnieDéjà vu All Over Again…Almost!

James R. Aist

If you have cats, you know that they are consummate creatures of habit. And it is often said that they usually forget things after a few weeks. Well, this true story may well be proof positive of those two kitty characteristics.

It all happened on Snyder Hill, just a little southeast of Ithaca, in upstate New York, about 15 years ago. We had two cats, Bonnie and Clyde, but we had to let Clyde “go” because he became mean and unruly. That left just Bonnie, whose personality blossomed after Clyde’s departure, especially her assertiveness. And it was a good thing, too.

One hot summer evening (yes, it does occasionally get hot in upstate New York, believe it or not), Bonnie and I were in the living room when we heard a neighborhood cat let out a menacing verbalization that can best be described as a long-drawn-out, blood-curdling “scrowl.” When this announcement was repeated, it became obvious to both of us that this intruder was approaching the living room window, which was open, with only the window screen between us and him. So, Bonnie took it upon herself to fend off this intruder at all costs, and she began to answer his threats in like manner. As he got closer and closer to the window from the outside, so, too, did Bonnie get closer and closer to it from the inside. Now, both of these ferocious beasts were exchanging the most insidious of threatening insults with seriously hurtful intentions. Suddenly, Bonnie jumped up onto the back of the couch with her face just inches away from the screen. I knew that something violent was about to come down, so I summoned my wife, Janet, to come quickly, so she wouldn’t miss out on the ensuing encounter.

Just as Janet entered the room, the intruder leapt onto the screen with a fierce scream and a menacing glare on his face. In a split second, Bonnie joined him on the screen in like manner. I am constrained to relate exactly the “words” that were rapidly exchanged between the two cats suspended in this pose for a few moments, but suffice it to say that there was no love lost between challenger and defender. Then, realizing that there was no way that he was going to get at Bonnie with the screen separating the two of them, the would-be intruder gingerly relinquished his grip on the screen, dropped to the ground…kerplunk, and slinked away into the night. Convinced that she had won the day, Bonnie then abandoned the screen and returned to her place in the living room, as proud as a peacock. And we, too, were quite impressed and proud of our vicious little attack cat.

But, that’s not the end of the story, not by a long shot. Fast forward a few months. It’s now Fall, the nights are cold, the screen was up and the glass sash was in its lowered position. The evening began innocently enough, but we were in for some exceptional entertainment. Bonnie and I were, once again, in the living room when we heard the same neighborhood cat let out a menacing verbalization that can best be described as a long-drawn-out, blood-curdling “scrowl.” When this announcement was repeated, it became obvious to both of us that this intruder was, once again, approaching the living room window, which was now closed, with only the window glass between us and him. So, again, Bonnie took it upon herself to fend off this intruder at all costs, and she began to answer his threats. As he got closer and closer to the window from the outside, so, too, did Bonnie get closer and closer to it from the inside. Now, both of these ferocious beasts were exchanging the most insidious of threatening insults with seriously hurtful intentions. By this time, I was already saying to myself, “No-no-no, surely he wouldn’t, not with the glass in place now. I don’t know if I can survive the intensity of the ensuing laughter if he were to do that again.” But, just in case, I beckoned Janet into the living room once again, so she wouldn’t miss out on the fun. Anticipating what might be coming, we were already about to burst out in laughter when, low and behold, it happened.

Bonnie jumped up onto the back of the couch with her face just inches away from the glass. As anticipated, the would-be intruder leapt onto the glass with a fierce scream and a menacing glare on his face. In a split second, Bonnie joined him on the glass in like manner. I am constrained to relate exactly the “words” that were rapidly exchanged between the two cats suspended in this pose for a split second, but that pose didn’t last long. Like Wiley Coyote who, chasing feverishly after the Road Runner, failed to make the turn just before the cliff and was briefly suspended in mid-air before crashing to the ground…kuh-thump, so, too, these valiant feline warriors seemed suspended in time for a brief moment before the reality of gravity set in, and, bug-eyed and terrified, they came crashing (more precisely, sliding rapidly) down. At this point we were so consumed by uncontrollable laughter that we had zero concern for Bonnie’s well being following her fall. But, not to worry, we finally regained our composure to find that the couch was soft and had afforded her a perfect landing place. I can’t say that the other cat fared as well, though.

And that was the last we heard from this unwelcome, wannabe intruder. I guess his memory must have lasted more than a few weeks that time!

(For more True Tales on my website, click HERE)

A Harmless “Cat-a-Clysm”

Kittens nursing

A Harmless “Cat-a-Clysm”

By Angie Brown, Guest Author

Our beloved cat, Feemy, was two years old and the mother of Squeaky, who was one year old.  Squeaky gave birth to four lovely kittens.  We had fixed her a box a few days before the event, and she seemed content with our nest for her little ones. In the meantime, we had to prepare another box for Feemy, who was also expecting.

A few days after Squeaky’s arrivals, we discovered Feemy had performed her task.  We looked for her kittens but couldn’t find them.  Shortly thereafter, we noticed Feemy going into Squeaky’s box, so we took a look inside. Sure enough, Feemy’s three beautiful newborn kittens were there, along with Squeaky’s four older ones.

Wanting to make things more comfortable for them, we transferred Squeaky’s four kittens into a larger box.  But, the next time I went out to inspect the litters, Squeaky had carried one of Feemy’s kittens into her box. So, I picked it up and put it back into the “right” box (where Feemy’s other babies were).  This process was repeated over and over, until finally, all the kittens, somehow, ended up in one box, all mixed up.  That’s when we decided to let the cats handle the situation their own way!

The arrangement now is that all the kittens – babies and grand-babies — are together in one box, along with mother and daughter, who take turns “kitten sittin’.”  I guess you could call it an “extended family”!

(For more short stories by Angie Brown, click HERE)

The Cat in the Bag

English: Young Maine Coon cat in paper bagThe Cat in the Bag

James R. Aist

Cats can be not only good little buddies, but also good entertainment. That is, if you pay attention and take time to interact with them. This funny story took place because I paid attention and took a moment to interact with our cat, Clyde, at just the right time.

We were living in a small, two-story frame house on Snyder Hill, just outside of Ithaca, in the Finger Lakes Region of upstate NY. One lazy Saturday afternoon, shortly after we had returned from shopping and were unloading our shopping bags in the appropriate rooms, I lingered for a moment, in the small upstairs bedroom at the end of the hallway, to put away some of the spoils of our shopping spree. Then I heard behind me the familiar sound of “someone” rattling a paper shopping bag that, innocently, I had left on the floor. So, I turned to see exactly what I expected to see: Clyde was in the bag poking and scratching mischievously at the sides, just to hear the mysterious noise it made when he struck it.

Now, this happened not to be your ordinary, run-of-the-mill paper grocery bag; this one had those paper loops at the top which served as handles for ease of toting. Ignoring the handles for the moment, I began to playfully poke and scratch at the bag from the outside, also mischievously, to see if I could spook the cat and get in on the fun. Well, it wasn’t long before Clyde became so spooked by (what must have seemed to him as) the bag poking and scratching back, that he panicked and burst suddenly out of the bag at breakneck speed in order to escape the “bag monster” within. Problem was, he was ignoring the handles on the bag as much as I was. Until, that is, it became evident that in exiting the bag in a panic, he had accidentally put his head through one of the handles and was dragging the bag ever so close behind him. When he heard the noise of the bag behind him, he looked back in full stride to see what was making the noise and saw that the bag was actually chasing him! This discovery put a sudden look of terror on his face, and he kicked it into high gear. I had no idea he could even run that fast.

By this time I was beginning to laugh uncontrollably, as compassion for my little buddy had not yet kicked in. Out the doorway and down the hallway he bolted, with the ensnared bag keeping pace with every leap and bound he made. Just then (after I had had my jollies, that is) my heart became flooded with compassion, and I ran after him to free him of the “bag monster.” Of course, this just added to his panic attack, because now he had both a “bag monster” and a “giant monster” chasing him! So, he went into overdrive. Turning the corner, he raced down the stairs at lightning speed, banged into the closet door at the bottom, turned left and began making circles through the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, the living room again, etc. I was hopelessly chasing behind him, desperately trying to grasp the bag from behind and set him free (By the way, have you ever chased behind a paper bag moving at ~ 10 MPH, stooping forward every second or two to grasp the bottom of the bag with one hand, while laughing uncontrollably? I think not. Well, I can assure you, it’s no easy task!).

Fortunately, Clyde began to tire out, and I was finally able to get control of the bag, and, with expert precision, extract his head from the handle. Now, I’m sure he was thankful later that I had rescued him from the “bag monster”, but his immediate reaction was to run from both the bag and me as fast as he could go, the little ingrate!

(For more articles on TRUE TALES, click HERE)