PUMPKIN, THE HALLOWEEN CAT Copyright 2005, Michael LaRocca
The neighbor's car pulled into my driveway. She got out holding a stranger in her arms.
"I found this cat in my yard. Is he yours?"
"Oh. I thought he was."
"Well, he's not."
"Well, can you hold him until I drive away so he doesn't follow me home?"
Oh yes, we all know how this story ends.
He was a beautiful little fuzzy ball of orange. Quite an affectionate, purring fellow too. And yes, I fed him. Knowing full well where that always leads.
I already had two cats. Witchie and Taz, both Siamese. It had taken quite a bit of time and effort for Witchie to accept Taz. Plus, Taz had been sole male cat for several years. Another male? Not possible. But, I thought, why not have an indoor male and an outdoor male?
Since new guy arrived in late October, and since he was orange, we dubbed him Pumpkin. He knew indoors cats didn't like him, and he was fine with that. Their turf, not his. Besides, he loved it when my dogs, Daisy and Bebe, came outside to visit him, even when they chased him up a tree, which was always. They were just playing. My dogs love all cats, and they licked him when he came down.
One Saturday afternoon, I went outside to play with my chainsaw. On porch, I found eight dead mice, beside front door in a very neat row. They were all on their backs, with their heads pointing same way and their tails neatly aligned. This was obviously a gift from young Pumpkin, a show of his gratitude.
I worked with my chainsaw for a while, then went back to house for a drink. Now there were only five mice. No doubt my young son had decided that he'd done his part. He'd offered them to me first. If I didn't want them, well, it was a shame to let a good meal go to waste.
Still later, I returned to house to see only two mice remaining. Still later, half a mouse. Still later, no mice at all. No blood or fur, either. He cleaned up quite thoroughly.
It's obvious how Pumpkin survived before I began feeding him. It's also obvious why he didn't eat very much.
One night, I was typing on computer when I heard a strange squeaking noise coming from porch. I finally went outside to see what it was. Pumpkin was standing there, looking every bit wild-eyed feral hunter, with a live squeaking mouse in his mouth. I just muttered "Good boy" and went back inside. Eventually, noise stopped.
When weather turned cold, I let Pumpkin come inside. Yes, it pissed off Siamese coalition, but I decided I didn't care.
I paused to look at life through eyes of Witchie and Taz, and here is what I saw:
Every species has its own identifying colors. For example, all dogs are black with brown eyes. All horses are brown with dark brown manes. All people are white-skinned, with brownish hair and blue eyes. And all cats, quite naturally, are blue-eyed shorthaired sealpoint Siamese.
Now they see this longhaired, fuzzy, orange thing with yellow-green eyes. It smells like woods and it's protected by dogs. Surely it's a tool of devil and an abomination in eyes of cat gods, something that must be destroyed. I resigned myself to fact that they would always hate Pumpkin, hissing and threatening whenever they saw him. It didn't seem to bother Pumpkin, so it didn't bother me.