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James R. Stout

Why I Don't Have A Cat In The House

            I have a cat. Well, perhaps he has me. The jury is still out on that one. His name is Moe. I named him after one of the 3 Stooges. He is strictly an outside cat. He appeared on my front porch one day and hasn’t seen fit to leave. I could tell you all the reasons why I don’t or can’t have a cat in the house, and there are many, but instead I wanted to tell you one very good reason.      

            About 4 o’clock this morning I was in the middle of a nightmare that was of epic proportions. It was one of those nightmares that you can’t seem to wake up from. Obviously, I did wake up from it eventually, but let me tell you, that was one wicked nightmare. It began innocently enough. The only thing that might have alerted me to the fact that something was just not right was the fact that in the dream Moe lived in the house. As much as I like Moe, that just isn’t going to happen. But there I was asleep in my dream when Moe started to meow loudly. He jumped up on the bed and started to mewl and behave as though something was terribly wrong. It woke me up in my nightmare. Of course, in reality I was still quite asleep. It seemed as though Moe was intent on going outside. So, I staggered into the living room, shuffled my way through the kitchen, and into the laundry room where the back door is located. Moe was trying his best to lead me there and at the same time trip me by running circles around me. Let me stop for a minute and explain something.

            I live in the country. So far back in the sticks that an old friend who came to visit got out of his car (after I had to meet him on the highway to guide him to my place) and said, “Does God know this place is here?” One thing that you have to be at peace with if you’re going to live out here is the fact that there are all kinds of animals that you just don’t see in an urban area. You most likely don’t see most of them on your Sunday afternoon drive into what you think of as the sticks. There’s the somewhat tame animals that are here on purpose. These would be horses, cows, dogs, cats, and I even have a couple of neighbors that raise goats and sheep. Then there’s the typical country animals. Wild hogs (shot on sight if at all possible), raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, possums and their Irish cousins O’possums, a rogue beaver or two, an army of armadillos, a variety of snakes, giant snapping turtles in the stock tanks, birds too numerous to name (But I love the Red-Tail Hawks), mice, rats, spiders, wasps, bees, yellow-jackets, and deer. Lots of deer. All the deer know to come to my pastures because they know they won’t get shot. Obviously, we have plenty of animals. I’m likely forgetting some.

            Back to the nightmare. I made my way to the back door. I opened the door to let Moe outside and for about 5 seconds he just stood there. He was staring out the back door, but not moving to leave. Then he started to slowly back away from the door only to suddenly turn tail and speed away back into the house. Like a dern fool I just had to look outside to see what had caused Moe’s about-face. It was one of those animals. Oh, I didn’t mention them before. It was Pepe’ Le Pew himself. I don’t know who was more surprised. Pepe’ or me. But Pepe’ got over it first and proceeded to walk into the laundry room. Now just what was I supposed to do? The slightest move might cause Pepe’ to release that fragrance that he has. Pepe’ just looked at me and at first I thought it was a smile, but then it appeared to be a sneer. Not good. I had visions of my house smelling like good ole Pepe’ for months. That’s when Moe decided to come back and investigate things. Unfortunately, Moe is an orange tabby. No chance of Pepe’ mistaking Moe for a possible amorous encounter. Not to mention he is a he. Pepe’ started to raise his tail and I knew I had to do something. The door was wide open and Pepe’ was standing in the middle of the opening. After what I did next, the Houston Texans may want to hire me. I took aim and then with all my might kicked Pepe’ as far as I could. In this case, it was pretty far. It was the equivalent of a 60-yard field goal. I slammed the door while Pepe’ was headed for the goal posts and looked through the window in the door to see what Pepe’ might do. To my relief he landed on all four and made a dash for a safer place. No stink in the house. No stink on the house. No stink on me. No stink on Moe. All of that was stinkin’ good.

            This is when I really did wake up. I was still in bed and if I didn’t live alone, I likely would have frightened everyone in the house with my scream.  Jeez, as soon as it was out, I felt like Jamie Lee Curtis doing her scream queen routine. I got up and walked around the house. Frankly, I just couldn’t bring myself to open an outside door. Pepe’ might have been there for real. It’s happened before. I even came home evening after dark and sitting on the front porch like he belonged there was an albino skunk. No kidding. That’ll get your attention.

            So, no Moe in the house. Not only can I not risk being scratched with my platelet problem, but there’s the unpleasant part of a litter box, furniture torn to shreds, and jumps into the lap that can cause serious and excruciating pain. No, Moe gets some petting on the chair on the porch and my sweet talk, but that’s it. To be honest, I don’t think he really wants much more anyway. Well, now you know why I don’t have cats in the house.

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