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Cat round-up and happy places

I have heard the idiom “like herding cats” when referencing a difficult organizational task, but I had never had any experience along these lines. The reality is, once you begin feeding one semi-feral cat out of compassion coupled with lunacy, other felines decide that perhaps they are not quite as feral as they imagined themselves.

With a twice-daily serving of Blue Buffalo, canned and dry, I now have two partakers. I can’t even manage a herd of one. Here’s an update.

A few weeks back I wrote about the best-laid plan of trapping “poor” little Chicory, a handsome, marbled tabby, and having him fixed, vaxxed and de-pested. I can pass along a hint for the first-time trapper — there will be no opportunity for a second attempt if you try to “help” kitty into the trap by shoving from behind. I learned this. How he was able to extricate himself from such a small opening in a furred flurry is beyond normal physics, but cats are sublime contortionists when necessary.

I waited several days for another appointment, thinking his small brain would be emptied of the ordeal, then set the trap once more. I had to be the contortionist this time, as the trap is so long, it necessitated lying on the floor and shoving the food back using the full stretch of my arm. I directed the opening straight at the door for when he arrived for breakfast. Chicory took one look at the trap and then at me as if to say, “Not that old gag again. What do you take me for? A dog?”

Since then, Mr. (or Ms.) Big Stuff from under the deck, has joined us. I believe this cat has called my yard home for two or three years, but I rarely see or hear any sign of it. It’s not as friendly, but “will mew for food.” It has a deceptively kittenish mew for such a large animal, as if trying to sound as cute and helpless as possible.

It works. The big faker has an enormous appetite. Chicory doesn’t seem to mind the interloper much. They dine within close proximity without coming to blows. But he’s reluctant to exhibit his cuddly side with the other guy around. Doesn’t want to appear the suck-up, I guess.

Meanwhile, current situations find me spending a lot of time within, again. In lieu of writing about actual experiences and meeting with real people, which is limited, again, I’ll recommend favorite books and movies that whisk me right out of this old troubled world and into a happier place.

Children’s classics do this for me every time. It’s never a bad thing to revisit the simpler child within. Books, along with classic movies, help me to send headlines about Jeopardy’s latest new host drama and other current events to the end of the line.

Once in a blue moon, I pull out one of Montgomery’s books about Anne with an E. It’s hard to feel defeated when revisiting old friends at Green Gables and the surrounding countryside of Prince Edward Island. Other childhood escapes are “The Secret Garden” by Burnett, “The Wind in the Willows” by Grahame, “Huckleberry Finn” by Twain, and “Freddy the Pig” books by Brooks. They all stand proudly on my shelves along with Dickens, Dostoevsky and Doerr. Oh, and Dover. My new novel, “Stone Revival,” sails you over the ocean and back to 1940s England.

Though I occasionally enjoy modern movies, it’s the black-and-whites that do it for me — escape-wise. There are many, but purely for fun and rompishness, I recommend “You Can’t Take it with You” with James Stewart and Jean Arthur, “Bringing up Baby” with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant, “Easy Living” with Ray Milland and Jean Arthur, and anything with the Marx Brothers.

Don’t let the headlines get you down. This too shall pass. And Matt Amodio, 18-day “Jeopardy” champion shall return, even if Harpo Marx is the host.

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer and author of “Stone Revival,” now available through the Jackson County library system. Reach her at pcdover@hotmail.com.