I checked my newsfeed this morning and found way too little hope in the headlines. The mudslinging between the candidates has already reached fever pitch, and it’s only August. I went out on the deck to bond with my dog and contemplate why humans can’t get along. Unfortunately, said dog had disappeared into the woods on a quest to annihilate a squirrel or cat or other small mammal. Can’t any species play nicely?
Just then, I remembered a cat I had in the late nineties when life was much simpler. The Berlin Wall had been down for awhile, and Russia seemed pretty friendly. At least, they weren’t publically hacking into our emails. Donald and Hillary took up far less room on CNN. My dog and I had just moved into an old farmhouse in the middle of the marsh. Drafts blew through it, but the rent didn’t break my new teacher budget. My biggest worry was how to exterminate the mice. This seems to be a theme on this blog…
Anyway, my mouse conflict escalated dramatically when a giant rodent the color of Donald Trump came out from under the stove and flipped me off. I declared war. Since I couldn’t afford an assault rifle, I made haste to the local animal shelter to hire an alley cat.
A volunteer led me to the cat room. I scanned the few inhabitants, all of which purred too prettily to meet my application requirements. Suddenly, I heard yowling. From the back emerged the biggest tiger cat I’d ever seen. His tag said “neutered male,” but judging by his ripped ears, I guessed he’d gotten around some prior to the scalpel. I filled out the appropriate paperwork and employed him.
I stopped briefly by a friend’s house afterwards, my cat tucked in his cardboard carrier in the truck with all the windows down. After a bit, we heard his dogs barking in the front yard. My friend opened the door, and a cat-looking streak shot up the stairs. The dogs cowered.
“Is this your cat?” he asked from upstairs. Sure enough, my cat sprawled on the bed.
“How…?” I asked. I grabbed the animal, and we headed for the truck. A beagle nose emerged from under the house, then disappeared at the sight of my cat. When I opened the truck door, I saw bits of cardboard everywhere from a giant hole this monster had chewed in the carrier. I looked down at him in sheer admiration.
When we got home, he patrolled the house with cool swagger, climbed up in a windowsill, and sat down to wait. He named himself “Captain Billy” after the uncle in Jimmy Buffet’s song “Pascagoula Run.” I changed “Uncle” to “Captain” as I continually heard rodent screams during the night over the next few weeks. Despite daily searches, I found no sign of his midnight murders, either. Soon, C.B.’s girth had expanded enough that he needed a two- window-sill vantage point instead of one. Mouse issue, solved.
Although cat lovers might disagree, I don’t believe that adopting a stray will fix the world’s problems. I can’t imagine a time when all species will play nicely. Captain Billy, however, does lend us a few talking points. He solved his assigned problem with precision and no collateral damage. He didn’t Tweet his victories, email his plans on the wrong server, or make trash-talking speeches about the mice. He just climbed in his windowsill to wait for the next issue to reveal itself from under the stove. So if there’s any middle ground between all this screaming on the news networks, my old cat might just be sitting there purring, waiting for the rest of the world to come to its senses.
Speaking of Great Cat Stories…
Check out this Sharon Creech task card bundle in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
This post has been shared at Thank Goodness It’s Monday at Nourishing Joy.