One of the advantages (well, just about the only advantage) of working for a newspaper is that you get to meet a lot of interesting people. For example, I once met a guy named Gordon Gordon, who with his wife Mildred wrote the novel, Undercover Cat, upon which the movie, "That Darn Cat," was based. Gordon (I never knew whether I was on a first-name basis with him or not) was extremely big on cats. In fact, he had a plaque beside his front door that said something along the lines of, "This house was bought and paid for by a cat."
I do not share his fondness for cats. Especially not now, after the encounter my wife Linda and I had Saturday afternoon with a crummy tabby named Pansy. This cat belongs to Linda's 90-year-old mother, Frances. A few days ago, Frances fell and broke her hip, and will be confined to a rehab center for some time. So something had to be done with Pansy.
Easier said than done.
First off, you have to visualize Pansy. If cats became sumo wrestlers, Pansy would be one of the champions. A big, whomping fat cat. And you would think, a slow-moving one at best. You, unfortunately, would be wrong. As long as only a short distance was involved -- from under the bed to back in the closet, and back under the bed, right in the center where no one could reach her -- Pansy was as elusive as a ferret.
We spent half an hour trying to catch that wretched feline. Once, we nearly had her. Linda coaxed her out from under the bed with a trail of cat treats, and I grabbed her, getting several good scratches in the process, and slammed her into the cage. But then we had problems closing the damned cage, and she got out again.
More chasing her around the bedroom, in and out of the closet, under and out from under the bed. We tore the bed apart, taking off the mattress and box springs so Pansy couldn't hide under there anymore.
Finally, Linda cornered her up against the dresser, and I think at that point Pansy just surrendered. "Okay, you bastards," she seemed to say. "Do with me as you will."
And finally we got her closed up in the cage. She meowed a few times, pathetically, but we were absolutely heartless. We traveled across town with Linda sitting in the back seat of the car making certain that cage didn't come open -- all the way to a friend of Linda's who agreed to take care of Pansy. This is an extremely nice lady named Marian Shultis, who has a lot of experience with dogs and cats, and whose dog recently died. So she was happy to take in the poor temporarily homeless cat.
Much better treatment than she deserves, if you ask me. But as I said, I'm not a cat person. The book, if I were writing it, would be called something much stronger than "That Darn Cat." Something like "That F**kin' Feline."
Gordon Gordon, incidentally, gave me a signed copy of his famous cat novel. This is what he wrote: "For Thom Walker (as I was then called, shortly before I changed my name to 'Walker Walker') -- With much admiration of a very talented writer and editor -- Gordon Gordon of 'The Gordons.'" And under that was a stamped print of a cat's paw. Kinda makes you sick.
Oh, and we heard today from Marian, the kindhearted rescuer of Pansy. She said Pansy has quickly settled into her new home, is venturing out and rubbing against Marian's ankles, purring and meowing happily. So there's a happy ending to this story -- at least, until Frances returns home and we have to capture Pansy again for another trip in her cage.
Bastards, the cat will be thinking. They won't get me this time.