By Charles Towne
The Cat’s Curmudgeon
“If man could be crossed with the cat, the man would be somewhat improved, but it would certainly deteriorate the cat.”
“One thing I have learned is that unlike dogs, cats are not subservient to us. They are never any less than our equals.”
Uncle Timmy was one very tough dude, yeah, tough and meaner than a rabid snake with a tooth-ache. I don’t want to mislead you; uncle Timmy was not really related; he was my mother’s big gray tomcat that lived with us for several years during my boyhood. Not exactly the most beautiful cat in the world, uncle Timmy only had three legs, the end of his tail was missing, and he had lost parts of both ears as well as the end of his tail to frostbite. Frostbite by the way was probably the only thing that ever bit Uncle Timmy and got away with it and at that I bet it was badly mauled in the fight.
Uncle Timmy’s job description on the old home place was, “The Boss.” A major enforcer and hit man in the local crime family, his duties included teaching the dogs humility, doting on my mother, avoiding my father and hunting anything that moved, including but not limited to, insects, mice, rats, snakes, rabbits and skunks. He was especially fond of skunks. I will never forget that sweltering summer night he killed a particularly vile and putrid skunk. Proud of his accomplishment he dragged the stinker home as a gift to my mother. It was one of those especially muggy, Illinois summer nights when you could cut chunks out of the air and spread them on bread like warm butter. Everyone was asleep. Not to be discouraged by the fact that nobody was awake to open the door for him he pawed the screen door open and dragged that exceedingly odoriferous skunk through the house and stashed it under my folk’s bed where they would be sure to find and enjoy his contribution to our family bliss. (It didn’t take long for us to realize that something was a tad not right!)
Uncle Timmy was also quite fond of ring-necked pheasants. I never witnessed the demise of one of the ring-necks but three different times that I know of Uncle Timmy dragged one of the birds into the yard where he would lay, growling viciously as he plucked feathers, crunched bones and challenged the dogs to relieve him of his prey. Temperament wise, it was Uncle Timmy that gave rabies a bad name.
We never weighed Uncle Timmy, to do so would have been placing your life in great peril but I imagine he would have weighed twelve or fourteen pounds. (Of course he actually weighed about seventy-five pounds more than that due to his greatly inflated ego.) Yes, it can safely be said today, now that I no longer need fear retribution, Uncle Timmy, was the boss of boss’, and he definitely had an attitude.
(After several years of ruling over the old home place he went on a walk-about to Australia. The last contact I had from him was a postcard telling me that he was being worshipped by a group of aborigines in the outback.) You have a beautiful day now, and may your cats teach you.
A CAT LOVER’S PRAYER
“Dear Papa God, please bless my cats with long and healthy lives. How much Pleasure did it give you when you created these wonderful feline friends? Help me to always be understanding to all of your creatures, two legged as well as four. Help me to spread love wherever I go, and to whomever I meet. Help me to live my life in such a way that others will know I have been close to you. Thank you so very much for your love, in Jesus Holy name I ask it, Amen.”
Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.