Petersen: I was just trying to be helpful |

Petersen: I was just trying to be helpful

I pulled into the parking lot of The Fort — a local gas station, gift shop, gun shop and food store (an all-purpose pitstop for travelers). A voice hailed me: “Ma’am, ma’am!”

A middle-aged couple driving a three-wheeled motorcycle were waving and calling. I rolled down the window, and in an anxious voice, the woman said: “Is there an animal shelter in this town?”

That’s when I noticed the man was holding a kitten.

“We found this little guy alongside the road. We just couldn’t leave it,” she continued. “We bought some cat food, gave it some water; the poor thing was so hungry! But we can’t keep it. We’re on a motorcycle and we’re from Arkansas! There’s no way we could take it along with us!”

“Cat toys litter every room. Anything loose on the desk, counter or piece of furniture is on the floor.”

“Well,” I said, “There’s no animal shelter in town, but I know where to go. I’ll take it to the vet, and maybe he’ll find a home for it.”

“Oh, would you?!”

“Hang on,” I said, “I’ll have to have a box to put it in. Can’t just let it be loose in my truck while I’m driving!” So, I drove around to the back of the Fort, retrieved a cardboard box from the dumpster and returned to the anxious motorcyclists. They expressed great gratitude and handed me five cans of cat food to go with the kitten.

At the vet clinic, I told the story of the orphan feline and asked the veterinarian to check it out and maybe someone would love to have a kitten.

Next day, my phone rang. A cheery veterinarian voice floated along the wire. “Well, we’ve wormed and vaccinated. Your kitten is ready to go.”

“My kitten?!”

“Yep, ready to go.”

Suffice to say, I now own a new house cat. A small black thing which has seven toes on each foot. When he walks, he looks like he’s wearing platters on his feet. Whether his big feet have anything to do with his personality, I can’t really say, but this critter has ATTITUDE. I named him Hank-the-Cowcat.

I was already owned by two housecats. They were so insulted and ticked off, they left home returning after two days to fill their empty bellies. No amount of hissing and spitting on the adult cats’ part makes a dent in Hank-the-Cowcat’s psyche. He merely jumps back when the big felines try to swat him, then circles around looking for a chance to pounce.

Hank has basically destroyed the house. Cat toys litter every room. Anything loose on desk, counter or piece of furniture is on the floor. He has no compunction about trying to climb my frame. My legs are a mass of lacerations. Seven claws times four equals 28 puncture wounds per attack. But hey, he’s friendly. Follows me around like a little dog and insists on being wherever I am. At night, I’m obliged to place a board at the bottom of the door to keep Hank from squeezing under. He comes when called, never stops purring and likes to be picked up. He’s coal black with about a dozen white hairs across his chest.

Big round, bright yellow eyes come beaming from out of the jet-black cat face. It’s kinda spooky, really.

It’s been said that witches always had a companion black cat called a “familiar.”

I’m sorta wondering what that makes me. … Perhaps I should try casting a spell and wait to see what happens?

While I applaud doing charitable acts, I’m becoming a bit leery. A good deed might be fraught with consequences such as acquiring a kitten.

Honestly … I was just trying to be helpful!❖


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