Tales from the O-NO Ranch: Cats
by “Mad” Jack Hanks
Today, in class, gentle readers, we are goin’ to discuss cats and their nature. The first lesson will be a story that I was told by one of my coffee drinkin’ buddies down at the T Bar Inn last week. My friend is a New Yorker transplanted to Colorado who rides a mule and has helped at some cow workings with me. I won’t tell you his name but his initials are Ron Buckley. It seems Ron’s place was gettin’ overrun with feral cats and he was gettin’ hisself in the mood to clean the ole shotgun and clean out some cats. His wife laid down the law: Ron was not to harm a hair on a single cat.
Ron decided he would build a trap, trap the cats and take them to town to be neutered and return them to his wife who had taken a liking to the felines.
Here’s the scene: Ron was in the Suburban with a large cage with nine, count ’em, nine wild cats in the back seat. He’s cruising down the interstate when a cat appeared on the back of the seat doing its little hissing and bristling thing. Yes, children, somehow the cage door opened and six of the nine cats had escaped. Now we had cats bouncin’ off the windows as they thought they could leap through the glass to freedom. Two more cats appeared right beside Ron in the front seat, doin’ their little hissin’ and bristlin’ thing as Ron was starting to have a vision that the end might be near.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a large Tom cat appeared right over the steering wheel, crouched on the dashboard staring directly into Ron’s blinking and quivering eyes. This ole Tom was doin’ his hissin’ and bristlin’ thing. Ole Ron fought back panic the best he could.
His first plan was to slow down, pull off the road and bail out and let the cats take that Suburban anywhere they want. Too dangerous, he decided, thinking “I will have to have a plan that won’t endanger other folks here on the interstate.” He glanced down and there was a jacket layin’ in the seat beside him. Ron mustered up his courage, picked up the jacket and tossed it over the two wild cats in the seat beside him which, to his amazement, settled them down. Now, the only other real problem was the big Tom perched directly in front of his face doin’ the little stare down contest.
Ron raised one arm up enough to shield his face, but left enough room to still see how to drive and continued on towards the animal shelter, which was only a few blocks away. When he arrived he abandoned the vehicle and headed inside to seek help. Now, if you figure it cost $50 or $60 a head to neuter a cat, just stop and do the math on nine head of (in my opinion) worthless, scroungy, mangy, flea-bitten felines.
Yep, ole Ron, bless his heart, was out about $500 to fix those cats and return them to his wife when he could have done it for about $5 the 12-gauge way.
I’m sure that some of you have yer dander up by now at my suggestion. Let me explain.
I had two dogs. I now have one dog as one of my neighbors shot and killed one and filled the other’s rear with buckshot. Am I mad at my neighbor? No. I’m disappointed that he felt like he had to kill my dog, but if my dogs were chasing his livestock, that is the rule that we live by here in the country. I always kept my dogs on a chain when I was away from the house, but I was home when they decided to drift off and get themselves into trouble.
I like cats, dogs, most all animals and most all wildlife, but I will not tolerate, and I do not expect my neighbors to tolerate, anyone’s dogs being a nuisance on their property. The quickest way to lose a good neighbor is to allow your dogs (or cats) to be a bother to him in any form or fashion.
My hat is off to my New York pard for going the extra mile. He is a good man with ” I might add ” a good many cats to contend with.
Stay calm, stay tuned and check yer cinch on occasion! C. Ya. DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR DOGS ARE?