Herding Cats

Herding cats such a great expression and oh, so true because it is impossible.  Our cat, the one we went and picked out at the shelter when he was a baby, is Sherman.  If you have bought a book from us you will see him with the Book Seller at the top of our flyer.  He is named for the Union General and the tank.  As he has gotten older he has taken on more tank-like characteristics than leadership.  The other cat will never really belong to anyone.  He has become our responsibility but we kid ourselves by calling him our kitty.  He has always been and always will be The Bad Kitty.

Sometimes we would see the Bad Kitty out in the yard late at night or passing through in the early morning after a night of kitty adventure.  He is a huge cat who would, for his own amusement, appear out of nowhere and attack Sherman or one of our other cats who have since passed to the great kitty beyond.  I am ashamed to say that after a summer of numerous trips to the veterinarian, the Book Seller, went to Walmart and bought a gun to shoot that bad cat. 

Obviously, the Bad Kitty prevailed.  I think it was a combination of me clapping my hands at the right moment and the Bad Kitty running really fast.  Also, and don’t mention this to the Book Seller, but he is a real softie and the whole gun thing was just a lot of male bluster.  I suspect he knew exactly where he was aiming because he won pistol shooting championships in the Navy. 

We never really knew for sure where the Bad Kitty came from but he looked as if he was well fed and healthy.  I thought I had seen him once up the street outside the house of an older lady who also had a dog.  Last Spring the lady passed away and the family cleaned out the house, took the dog, and the house was vacant.  In late summer I saw the Bad Kitty a lot more often and one morning I noticed that he looked thin and not so robust.  I decided to put some food out. 

It took until the end of January for him to come up to me and brush against my legs.  By March he was letting me pet him and in April I was able to pick him up and shove him into a carrier for a trip to the vet.  To tell you the truth, I wasn’t even sure he was a he because there was an awful lot of long thick fur in his nether regions.  Dr. McAdams confirmed that he was indeed a male cat and that he had been neutered.  He was a good boy, got his vaccinations, and examination.  He weighed 14 pounds!  Did I mention he was a big cat?  Oh, yeah he is huge and the vet confirmed what I thought, he is a Maine Coon.

At the moment, he is rubbing on my legs and drooling on my feet.  He loves wearing his new red collar with the bell.  He comes into the book barn and plays with toys that Sherman has never played with.  He rushes into the house when you open the door and he flops down on the floor like he owns the place.  People say, oh, you should not call him the Bad Kitty because that is so mean but I have a couple of scars that say otherwise.  Years of living outside and sleeping in the barn next door have made him ever so watchful and vigilant.  He is easily startled and the claws are like little razors.  The Book Seller clips Sherman’s claws but he still a bit wary of taking a hold of the Bad Kitty’s paws.  He may come in the house but he doesn’t stay.  After a while he starts pacing and looking out the windows, afraid that something is going on in his yard that he can’t control.

He has gotten better about scratching and since he is missing his top teeth biting isn’t an issue.  We have gotten better about pulling back when he looks like he has had enough petting or if he wants to wrestle.  Sherman, has never stopped being distrustful of his old archenemy and my newest scratches are from a recent tussle that occurred while Sherman was peacefully sitting on the sofa next to me and the Bad Kitty came in and decided to join him.  We’ve gotten used to calling him the Bad Kitty and now he recognizes his name.  I admit that it is tempting to name Panzerfaust, which was an anti-tank weapon used by the German armies against tanks, like the Sherman.

One Bad Coon Cat

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