A fellow by the name of Harry S. Miller is generally credited with writing a song in 1893 that goes something like this:
“Oh the cat came back. She couldn’t stay no longer
Yes the cat came back, the very next day
The cat came back, thought she was a goner
But the cat came back ‘cause she couldn’t stay away.”
The song has numerous verses and has undergone dozens of renditions over the years but I lifted this one from what is supposed to be the original sheet music. Of course I found it on the Internet and that does not necessarily mean it’s anywhere close to being true or accurate.
Which is beside the point because this column is not about the song. It’s about a cat that did, in fact, “come back” even though I wish it had stayed away.
Early last spring (2106) we were looking for a home for a kitten that had found its way to our front porch, helped itself to a bellyful of our regular cat’s (Fancy Pants’s) Meow-Mix and curled up in Fancy’s favorite chair.
Fancy was not amused but she is not a fighter and there is not an aggressive gene in her body. Fancy reluctantly relinquished her chair to the kitten to avoid violence.
At that point in time we were experiencing a vole plague that would have made Moses proud, had he pulled it off.
The kitten had only been here three or four days when we started advertising and trying to find her a home. You may recall that I used this column for that very purpose. You may also recall that I promptly revoked the offer after “Cooney” (named for her ringed tail) started catching voles and bringing them to our front porch.
I stopped counting when her haul got to 20 or so, but it was not long before we could walk across the yard again without tripping over a vole ridge. It was not unusual for her catch two in one day but her average was about five each week. This went on all last summer and well into last fall.
By this time last year we had invested over $100 in vet bills alone to assure that Cooney would not present us with a litter of kittens and she was more than earning her keep until, I’m guessing it was up in December, I noticed that I hadn’t seen a dead vole on the porch in some time.
The reason I finally paid notice to Cooney’s loss of interest in catching voles coincided with the appearance of several conspicuous mounds of soil in our front yard with three-inch ridges running between them. At the ripe old age of just under one, my vole-killing cat had decided to retire and spend her time/energy making Fancy as miserable as possible.
About two weeks ago we called some friends who had inquired about acquiring Cooney just before we decided to keep her around. Fancy is nearly 10 years old, very much my main cat, and does not deserve the bullying Cooney seemed intent on dishing out. Turned out our friends were still interested in getting Cooney.
It took some doing to get her into the pet carrier but we managed to do it with only minor wounds to my hands.
Our friends live, I’m guessing, about four miles from us, over three, I’m sure. But a couple of days after taking Cooney to their place, they told us she hadn’t stayed around long enough to get acquainted.
In the meantime Fancy Pants had begun relishing her renewed and exclusive province as undisputed Queen of our front porch. But it only lasted a week. Last Friday morning I went outside to feed Fancy but she was nowhere to be seen. Cooney was prancing around like she owned the place.
I doubt that our friends will want to try again but we have to find this cat a home from which she won’t come back.