The Cat and the Collar
by James R. Aist
We have been cat people for many years now. Cats are a most entertaining animal form, if you just pay attention to them. Quite some time ago we had two cats, Bonnie and Clyde; Clyde because he had large feet and looked like a Clydesdale (horse) when he walked toward you, and Bonnie because, well, it goes with Clyde.
Now Bonnie had, somehow, learned to play “fetch.” One evening I was sitting in the dining room trying to write a letter, and I had a hard time getting the letter off on the right foot, so to speak. I had just tossed my third paper wad to the floor on my way to yet another fresh start, when I noticed that Bonnie had walked up to me with the last paper wad in her mouth. She looked up at me with that excited “Let’s play fetch!” look in her eyes. Now, how could I resist that?! So I retrieved the paper wad from her mouth, showed it to her and gave it a good fling through the doorway and across the kitchen floor. Now the kitchen floor was linoleum and very slick, whereas the dining room floor was carpeted and had really good traction. So Bonnie got off to a rapid sprint in a split second as she raced through the doorway in pursuit of the paper wad. Just then my daughter, Liesel, opened the refrigerator door to get a snack, not seeing Bonnie racing toward her. Bonnie, intent on retrieving the paper wad in record time, failed to notice Liesel opening the refrigerator door, which was square in her path. Seeing all of this unfold before my eyes, I was already getting ready for a really big laugh (don’t ask me why; maybe it’s a guy thing) upon her inevitable collision with the refrigerator door. Well, into the bottom of the refrigerator door she slammed at full bore — BAM — and then bounced back violently, from the impact. At first, this seemed hilariously funny to me, but then I noticed that Bonnie was flailing around on the kitchen floor “like a chicken with its head cut off.” That threw me into a panic, as I thought “Oh no, she must have broken her neck… I killed the cat!” So I sprang from my chair and rushed into the kitchen to see if there was anything I could possibly do to save her. She was still retching and flailing when I finally managed to get her into my grasp to see how badly she was hurt. Then I saw it. Her neck wasn’t broken at all. Instead, her lower jaw had gotten caught in her flea collar when the impact with the refrigerator door forced her head suddenly downward, and she was just struggling violently, in sheer panic, to free her jaw from the flea collar!
Whew, I didn’t kill the cat after all. Then the hilarity of the whole scenario struck me, and I began laughing so hard it took me a while to free her from that demon flea collar and send her on her way, relatively unscathed. Needless to say, that was the first, and the last, “fetch” of that evening!
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