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Cat Tales From Down East

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A LARGE and seemingly prosperous pussycat, with sleek foliage and a yank in his/her plumed tail, strolled into my dooryard this very morning. I spoke to him/her in a friendly tone as if I were fond of cats, whereupon he/she sneered at me and went under the blackberry bushes.

I do not know who belongs to this cat, but the thing is handsome and may well be a precious pet, dining on cates and dainties and reclining when fatigued on plush and velvet.

We have a neighbor over on the next road who keeps a cat, but it is a red one with one green eye and one blue one. This strange cat reminded me of the letter-to-the-editor in a recent issue of our hebdomadal which implored summer folks not to abandon their cats when they go back to the cities after Labor Day. The writer of this letter seemed to feel a cat is bereft whenever it ceases to be coddled.

As a longtime student of the household cat, I think this is not necessarily true, and I believe there are other things people might write to editors about. I am not taking a stand against cats. I have known some cats that like me, and I know there are people who like cats, so I plead a neutral interest to keep out of trouble.

Years ago in our early nuptial days, my wife and I used to ride over to the next town on Saturday afternoons and take supper with a pleasant couple who chanced to be my parents, and after an evening of cribbage we would ride home, passing the old brick Quaker Meeting House at about 10:30 each time. There, our automobile headlamps would shine on a magnificent Siamese cat that was stalking the churchyard in a posture of a preprandial pounce at a mouse.

The beast would look up as we drove past, and for some six years we saw it nearly every time. I would say, "Aha! Friend! Thee are a handsome puddytat!"

There was no habitation near that meeting house, and we assumed the cat was walking alone and this place was like all others; that the cat survived on its own resources and depended on no human largesse.


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