“This is, like, hurting cats.” At least that’s what I *think* I heard

     I remember giving the guy a dumb look. I mean, what does getting all of your runaway marbles back into the box, in order, have to do with causing felines pain? But I didn’t say anything out loud. No, picking apart someone’s strained metaphor, and in public, can set the guy’s emotional development back ten years. I know this well, having seen my own share of blank stares.
Anyway, I thought of this ‘duh’ moment while composing my Terms of Service Form for prospective stray cats. Yeah, I made fifty copies. Ever since I transformed 10 acres of junkyard into an organic Garden of Eden, new cats have arrived here daily, eyeing up the opportunities for Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of a warm place to poop.
    Now I don’t have to remind anyone that there is a wide range of feline behavior patterns, ranging from ‘I want to have your kittens, gorgeous!’ all the way down to ‘Shoot you on sight’.
So I thought that if I’d create a tactful Sign-up sheet, it might spare me rude surprises, and also hard feelings among the Great Furry Unwashed. Here’s the current version:

Ok, like with most bureaucratic documents, the bad apples rush to find a way to cheat. Some cats brazenly lie about relevant details, a minority albeit, but enough to force me to ‘take measures’. Yes, like ‘how large should a cat-trap be?‘ I made mine 55 X 65 cm. Roomy enough for the trip ‘out-a-heah’. And yesterday I ‘relocated’ my first incorrigible criminal. His sins were as follows:
1) Makes no attempt to demonstrate friendliness whatsoever
2) Runs into the house the second I open the door, then proceeds to hide in the cavernous interior, waiting until after I have to leave to eat anything, everything, on any shelf, and destroying any semblance or order in the process.
3) Totally takes over the cat-dish from civilized specimens, gobbles food in a drunken frenzy, then turns around and pukes it all up. (Must have read too many of Xanga Top-100’s lower ranks, the eating-disorder crowd)
4) Chases chickens, just to see them cry.
5) Always digs poop-holes where they destroy as many newly-transplanted seedlingsas possible
6) Somehow causes the rest of the cats to adopt his evil behavior. His success in this regard was astonishing, speedy, and dramatic.

A cat of this evil bent needs to be shown the door pronto. It took me about four hours to build the basic cage/trap, but then I wracked my brains trying to invent a successful triggering mechanism.
 (The cat needs to be happily eating the bait, in roughly the center of the collapsing roof). But then all of a sudden it dawned on me that I need only to attach a string to the bamboo spreader and wait for the criminal cat, then pull the cord! The only problem, of course, is first putting all my innocent cats into some temporary constrained place. Like, in the house. And here’s the rub: Trying to herd cats into the house is kinda like gathering up a bunch of runaway marbles….
Wait a minute! Didn’t someone say that on the other side of the record?

For the Record: The demon-spawn is now, as we speak, ‘somewhere over the rainbow’. Hope I never see him again. I stare at his fraudulent TOS form and ask myself, ‘How could I have been so deceived?’


20 thoughts on ““This is, like, hurting cats.” At least that’s what I *think* I heard

  1. Roadkill_Spatula

    I once caught a massive and mean stray tabby in a metal dog kennel with a string looped from the door through the side and over to the screen door. He went into the kennel for the tuna bait, and when I pulled the door shut, whirled in a self-defensive posture rather than rushing the (still unlatched) door. I was surprised to find that he was far more scared than aggressive, once he was trapped. I took him to the Tri-County shelter, where I’m sure they euthanized him. Poor guy. He had done a lot of damage to our domestic cats.”I hurt a cat in Tel Aviv, just to see him cry…”

  2. jsolberg

    @Roadkill_Spatula – the animal in question here caterwauled so loudly I feared being taken into custody myself. Still, I had so much pent-up rage for the awful beast that I never gave a reprieve a thought. In fact, the concept of a dungeon, where the perp can bawl until it stops for some reason entered my head as a just reward.And I do want to engineer a slick trigger, mainly because of the foxes, jackals, and hyenas which threaten my chickens nightly. Their screaming choruses seem to emanate from the bowels of Hell.

  3. Roadkill_Spatula

    A bobcat did in a number of my children’s poultry. They set a trap for it… but of course it was one of their pet cats that kept getting caught. They finally had to return the trap to the city. A neighbor shot the bob and my son skinned and butchered it. They said the meat was not bad. I don’t think I would have eaten it.If anyone can work out a good trigger, you can.

  4. HappierHeathen

    Our policy is zero tolerance for stray cats. Especially in/near the garden. The birds, snakes, lizards, toads, et al. all have a job to do out there and “dead former cat toy” isn’t in the description. Fortunately, any fence that will keep out both bunnies and bambis (both of which are abundant here) will also keep out kitties and keep the garden workers from striking to get safer working conditions. The bambis, though, do picket the perimeter from time to time.The most effective cat trap I’ve yet found is a variant of the fabled Burmese Tiger Trap, though without the spikes at the bottom. Cats not being of a nature to jump into such a hole unbidden must first be trained to do so, a feat that is more a testament to the skills of the successful trainer than to the animal’s inherent trainability. The best training aid by far isn’t found in any pet shop but is easily obtained at most sporting goods stores where it is known by the cryptic nomenclature “.22LR”. It’s usually necessary in the animal’s first training session, after employing the “.22LR”, to carry the animal to the hole to show it what is expected of it, but one such iteration is generally all that’s required. The hole should of course be filled in after training to prevent accidents, and some kind of decorative plant might be planted there to provide cover if you so desire. This may be especially important if neighbors of delicate sensibility might be offended by this (very effective) training method. The same training tool can be used as a remote control to silence the obnoxiously loud telephone ringer mounted above the neighbor’s barn door, or to train a wild bunny to hold still while being properly groomed for a respectable dinner table.And in keeping with RS’s song meme: “You better get back, honky cat”.

  5. jsolberg

    @Roadkill_Spatula – ‘It tastes like chicken’ they say. Probably *was* half chicken. Thanks for the vote of confidence in the trigger-biz. It needs to ignore familiar cats, and that’s a lot to ask.(And of course this post is an excuse to have fun with the allegedly mis-heard expression. “…like herding cats”. I just love the mental picture. As poignant as my previous fav, “pushing on a string.” And I can’t seem to get any reaction to that one in Hebrew anyway. They just ask blandly “How do you push on a string?”, I reply “Yeah, that’s the point.” then they change to subject.

  6. Roadkill_Spatula

    Too bad about your Hebrew-speaking friends not understanding pushing on a string. The book of Proverbs is full of such imagery. I would think that sort of stuff would pervade the culture.Perhaps you could use one of your cats or birds as bait. The trap from the city had a little place to put a chick or a mouse, but of course my kids couldn’t bring themselves to do that.Speaking of which, in Spanish they say, “Skinny as a hardware-store cat” as the equivalent to our “Poor as churchmice.”

  7. jsolberg

    @HappierHeathen – well, your control system sounds like it might ‘hurt cats’, something I’m trying to avoid for now. I last shot a rabbit in ’78 I think. And realized that I couldn’t do that anymore. Too much Owsley I guess. Balance is a tough project though. Back in Pa I have to shush deer out of my way to get in the car; they lick the salt off the bumpers with a blind passion. My son here can take out a mosquito at 100 meters from the hip with his fancy weapon, but tactfully refuses to assist me against the foxes and mongeese. Something about having to sign for every spent round, military discipline…

  8. jsolberg

    @Roadkill_Spatula – Oy, and what do I tell the bait-chicken as I tie it to the trap like Abraham out on Highway 61, huh? “Close your eyes and think of the Mother-land?” That grisly business is a bit too allegorical for my taste, ha. Tuna feels less personal, until you remember that the poor deceased fish you’re tossing to the wolves was going to night school, and engaged to his high-school sweetheart until the awful events which shattered his dreams.I may become a vegan out of all this angst.

  9. HappierHeathen

    @jsolberg –  We, the sweet wife and I, prefer to avoid the specialized high intensity training of the strays, thus the critter-proof fence. That said, when the fence fails I’d rather go all Bush Doctrine on ’em than just make them someone else’s problem. I’ve been that someone else a few times, and lost small livestock to other people’s problem critters.

  10. starmanjones

    I remember with utter delight smiling to a roommate having found out what that noise “digging and scratching” and sprung that surprise on him at 2:27am just after that glass of water… it was NOT a cat but a pole cat” he did not get the term meant skunk. but his face was similar to the agony of devil spawn cat sneaking past the proper beauracracy of said squatter’s opportunities.

  11. elgan

    This is exactly why Suzie is not allowed over the threshold and is promptly ejected should he somehow make it past the guards. Cats. They think they own the place.

  12. dirtbubble

    Once I had to trap a squirrel who had gotten in and made itself throughly unwelcome – the way rodents do. When I finally had it I was so pissed I considered destroying the beast. But there is something so compelling about a belligerent critter. Plus the great warehouse infestation of 1997 that drove me destroy countless mice had by then become a distant memory – disturbing though it is. I decided just to shake the bastard up a little and let it go somewhere far away from my home.

  13. jsolberg

    @dirtbubble – Interesting story. I’ve been so angry at various times with cows, chickens, rabbits, racoons, possums, cats, and esp dogs. But it stems from demanding that they behave by an enlightened *human* model. Which is dumb, infantile even. As if I’m telling ’em. “Jeezuz would never have done something like that!” /Hope you don’t see accusing mice in your sleep, Db.

  14. dirtbubble

    @jsolberg –  That reminds of something else I do. At the beginning of summer I announce to all spiders that they are welcome as long as they remain unseen – as spiders should be – and if seen the consequences will be swift and terrible. Who knows if it works, but it helps my conscience a bit after I smash the rambunctious ones.

  15. sleekpeek

    At the time I clicked you were #56. Good luck with your rogue cat (I thought there might be a special word for rogue cat, but all I could come up with was “Neko”– the name of my cat). 🙂

  16. jsolberg

    @sleekpeek – Yup that {56} puts me, not only in the upper half of my class of gruesomely-famous authors, but, think of it, in light of the millions who likely posted yesterday, closer to ‘one in a million. (I’m also the only guy in the world with my particular social-security number and cell-phone#.) The envious should drop dead already.*end facetious*// The rogue, with any luck will not return. Although the suspense reminds me of an Outer Limits episode where the crippled spacecraft crew is sure every night that they’ve successfully vaporized a threatening zombie ship. Until they draw the curtains open in the morning to see it standing there, evil as ever.Feel free to make a copy of the release form here for your own use.You can add any desired claws for Neko-dear. Tnx, dear.


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