My last post, That Sinking Feeling, got more comments, both on the site and to my personal email address, than any other post I have written so far. Thank you so much, dear readers, for your input. Yes, the sink is fixed, with wooden supports this time. But there were a couple of comments about the cat, and it got me thinking about Jones.
Jones was my condo cat when I was living in the city before I met Peter. Jones was very spoiled, eating gourmet cat food, sleeping wherever he wanted, and generally living a pretty good life as an indoor cat. Then Peter convinced me to move to his large property in the country. Jones really had no say in the matter; living in the country was not his idea. Peter wasn’t too keen on this idea either; in Italy where he comes from, cats know their place – in the barn chasing mice.
Well Jones knew his place too – on the most comfortable chairs in the house. First he tried out Peter’s TV-watching chair. When he was chased out of that, he found Peter’s desk chair, soft leather. Next he scurried into the living room to check out the white sofa, Peter not far behind with his booming voice. Finally Jones settled on the rug near the back door. He took up his place watching the birds, squirrels, rabbits and chipmunks. He was quite content to sit inside for hours surveying the property and sizing up life in the country.
After a few days I opened the back door. Jones timidly stepped out onto the patio, darting back inside at the slightest gust of wind. Then he tried the grass, tentatively putting one paw out, then another and another, all the while keeping an eye on the open door behind him. Finally he saw a chipmunk. We could almost hear his tiny mind working as he sorted back past the teachings in his brain to where the instincts were hidden. Suddenly he crouched, pupils dilated, and then he sprang! The chipmunk was used to avoiding cats, and Jones was no match at all. As the chipmunk flashed past, Jones stared in amazement.
Peter chortled. “What kind of cat is that? He can’t even catch a chipmunk!” Peter sat down to watch, intrigued by the entertainment. This went on for several days: the chipmunk flashing past, Jones looking dumbfounded. Then one day things changed. A well-aimed pounce and Jones grabbed his prey by the butt. There was the chipmunk hanging upside down, eyes frozen in terror. Jones trotted over to me, proudly showing off his treasure.
Then reality dawned as Jones, his belly full of gourmet cat food, thought to himself: “What do I do with this thing now?” At the same time, Peter and I began yelling at him. Finally, unable to come up with any other plan, he dropped it. The chipmunk shot into the forest, teeth marks in his butt. But early the next morning there was Jones, pawing at the back door, eager to go outside again and hunt. Apparently Jones had decided that living in the country was going to be OK.
Unfortunately Jones grew old in the country, and he passed away before Peter and I moved back to the city. But I think he would have been happy here – chasing the chipmunks and squirrels that visit us, annoying Agnes’s pet mice, and making friends with Minou, the neighbours’ cat. There would be lots in the city to keep him busy – just like us!
4 thoughts on “Catapult”
Excellent cat story!
I know you loved Jones.
Our relationship with animals is an interesting one, and sometimes complex and troubling historically. Nevertheless, the attraction remains powerful and our understanding is always growing.
It seems that we brought wild canid pups into our caves, and so began the bond with dogs. It is believed that cats chose us, just as soon as we became agrarians rather than hunter-gatherers. And we were glad: our stores of grain needed defense from rodents and birds. So what with those quiet ways (except when mating!), it was win-win from the start. A low-maintenance companion, who looked rather nice and complimented us with purrs and leg rubs. How clever of us to have honoured cats with a place in our homes.
Never knew that you had a cat. Love the name. You surprise us every week with your blog. Did Peter ever get used to sharing his chairs????
We had a cat like that…Floppsey…she was almost human. If we went away for a few days, she wouldn’t talk to us for a few days. She was my cat during the day but when John came home, I didn’t exist. She lived until 22 years and still miss her.