I swear I do not know what it is about cats here in the Swamp. Now I am not talking about the cats I brought with me from South Carolina some 20 years ago. Tango and Cash were brothers from a mother born during Hurricane Hugo in ’89 and that is a whole story unto itself. No I am talking about cats that are not ours and yet….
It seems that one of the problems living in a quiet ‘burp is the dumping of pets by people who no longer want them. I cannot begin to tell you how despicable I think this act is. Be that as it may, one day we had a new feral cat appear in our backyard. He was snowy white with no dark spots anywhere. I decided to feed it (yes I hear the groans) and he stayed around for a while. He was doing a good job of chasing off the Squirrel Horde (that also is a story for another day) so I figured he was earning his keep. I decided to name him Honky Cat (from the Elton John song) and Honkey stayed with us for about a season and a half. One day – he was no longer there. I did notice a serious increase in white cats down at the other end of the neighborhood, so I think he just moved on.
Then there was the Unexpected Guest. My wife had returned from a trip the next town over – a trip of about 45 miles (one way). He had just come from her former In-Laws house. I was talking to her outside when all of a sudden we spotted a cat in the bed of our truck. This stowaway cat had managed in the few minutes she was parked, to jump in the back of our pickup and hunker down for the nearly hour-long trek back through the hinterlands of Charlton and Camden Counties. So, here we are, dealing with a clearly terrified feline, trying to corral it into an old cat carrier I had to return it home.
I do not know how, but we did manage to get the cat inside our house. From there it was GAME ON! The cat ran from room to room – hissing and spitting along the way. After about fifteen minutes of chasing this ball of claws and fur we managed to secure it in a blanket and then into the carrier. Needless to say it caterwauled loudly the while way back. My wife and I, now sporting a few fresh cuts and bruises, made sure this beast was returned intact. I notice even today whenever our truck pulls up the cat looks at us in abject horror.
Then, there was Oliver. He is pictured above on our couch. Now you may think I am nuts allowing a feral cat in the house. Well Oliver gave us no choice. He was a total con artist as he would travel between the neighbor’s houses on both the right and the left of me and beg for food. (Hence the name “Oliver”. “Please sir, I want some more.”). He picked up where Honkey left off, chasing the squirrels away. Whenever the front door opened he seemed to let himself in (and yes he did this also with the neighbors). He did briefly disappear one day and it seems a group of people here (I think they are called Cat Angels, I could be wrong) picked him up and had him neutered for free. Then they turned around and dropped him back off where they found him.
Oliver followed us everywhere. He was a loving cat. He was very inquisitive and would end up on the most unusual spots (on top of the clothes line, on the roof). He was playful and actually learned to retract his claws when playing with humans. Then one day, like Honkey, he disappeared and has not been seen since.
Now I am not looking for a cat. The last cat I owned, Tango, was by far the angriest cat ever. He makes Catzilla from the movie Mouse Trap look level-headed. But I do not know why, it seems, cats always end up in our neck of the Swamp.