Tuesday, November 18, 2008


From my prior post, please don't think I'm biased. I like cats too. Especially with mustard and relish. (Just a little humor to torque off any PETA freaks.)

Seriously, I do like cats, and have owned a number of them. They're neater, more self-sufficient, and generally quieter and less bother than dogs.

But there are two types of cats: Your own cats. And those other blasted furry terrorists.

I was studying for finals one night. Long enough ago that the statute of limitations applies. It was about 3 AM, with me earnestly reviewing vital material, when one of the local feline lotharios decided he was in the mood, and a serenade was in order.

I'm not some puritanical prude, and feel perfectly alright about Mr. Tom finding an amenable partner where and as he may do so. I even support his right to free speech to advertise his availability.

But after an hour's enlightened outlook upon his incessant offers from a thoroughly uninterested neighborhood, and much studying yet to be done, it was time to explain the facts of life to this particular tomcat.

Unfortunately for him, he was on my street. A block north, east, or west, and he could have paraded indefinitely without incurring any of my ire. But my south windows and balcony all faced his chosen cruising territory.

Also, it was his bad luck to be white. Not caucasian, but rather, that particular shade of dirty white-furred beast that shows up handily under moonlight and streetlamps.

Strike three was my possession of a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun (without a compass on the stock or a thing which tells time, for any fans of A Christmas Story out there).

For the unitiated, the Daisy BB gun is a work of civilized art at its pinnacle. It's quiet, it's simple to operate, fairly accurate, and rather benign. By which, I mean to explain that there was no danger of killing Mr. Tom in using it to dissuade him from his amorous prowlings, due to its low power and poor penetration.

To be fair, it stings like a son-of-a-. You certainly wouldn't want to get shot in the eye or anything equally foolish. But a smack in the gluteus makes a bee sting feel like a lover's kiss.

At any rate, three strikes and Mr. Tom's out. It was time to regain the solitude of my studies.
I crept out onto the patio, and searched for my quarry. More bad juju for Tom: he was just across the street, coming right up to a conveniently lit streetlamp, and well within my weapon's range and estimable personal marksmanship skills.

One flick of the lever, then carefully sighting in like a Force Recon sniper on my little dirty white prey, and I was poised to let fly.


If you've seen the "Bring Out Your Dead" scene in Monty Python and the Quest For The Holy Grail, I observe firsthand that a thwacked tomcat, when hit in the rear haunch, makes exactly the same noise as the cat in the movie. EXACTLY.

This one also ran back about 10 feet, then stopped, turned, and licked furiously at the mysterious affliction to his hindquarter.

Then resumed his quest for a girlfriend. Ah, the power of biology.


I re-cocked, and re-laid the front sight on the same eastern end of the westbound tomcat.


Exuent Tom Cat, stopping occasionally to lick the same pained haunch, who then continues at a high rate of speed down the street, around the corner, and off to a happier singles' scene than under my window.

And, for the "Awwwwwwww!" crowd, he left in full possession and use of all limbs, little the worse for wear. And in all honesty, he was out of water balloon range anyway.

I got an A on the final.

And if it makes anyone feel better, in my anatomy class we had to dissect a cat. I was not only a vegetarian by choice for the duration of that semester, but my assigned victim was a black and white tuxedo tomcat, the penance for which dissection moved me to find and adopt not one but two such tuxedo cats as kittens for some 12 years until their deaths as suitably aged and happy housepets. Fred and Ginger were definitely the best cats that ever were.

(Not least of which because they didn't howl all night long.)

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