Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cops and Robbers

Took a fast trip to Tuscaloosa last week when I smuggled aboard the University of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team bus. I expected to watch my team take it to the Bama Girls, but a couple of things happened. It might be easy to stow-away on a bus, but not so easy to slip in the doors of an athletic center. Security wasn’t an issue, but the hundreds and hundreds of human feet shuffling through the gates was. Even the team entrance proved a little disconcerting. If you are human get down on your hands and those things you call knees and try it sometimes. It’s a rib banging experience.

But my persistence paid off. I weaseled in behind the team’s bench to hear Pat Summit rail at the girls. Intense. They were being outrebounded and Coach thinks that is blowing some court opportunity. The Lady Vols won, but coach was mad. Winning isn’t everything, but how you play the game is. I’m glad I wasn’t on the end of the icy stares. No words needed when Coach is on fire.

As much as I loved to see the whole game, the crowd was no place for a cat. No one is paying attention to me. The dangers of stomping feet is too risky, to say nothing of the sticky floor caused by spilled soda. It’s worse than standing in the middle of a busy intersection. When the substitution horn went off I nearly jumped out of my fur.

I went looking for a quieter place where I could clean the soda off my toes. It’s amazing where you can go when you act like you belong there. In this case, the comforts of Athletic Director’s office. I snuggled up on a few papers on the desk, leaving a small pile of fur, toenails and a trail of sticky foot prints. Next thing I know the lights are on and someone is asking, “Where did you come from?” Not much on answering questions, I took off down the hallway before anyone could catch me. Out the door I went to discover I slept the whole night and missed the bus back to Knoxville.

Oh well, I back tracked to Birmingham and took in dinner at the aquarium. Hey, can I help the fact that I haven’t had a fresh fish dinner since the night I cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge? Whose going to miss a few fishies anyway?

It is time to get serious about getting to Florida. I would have been there by now except I had run in with the wiry little cook at China Buffet in King Frog, Georgia. He got a little upset when he found me in the kitchen. Called the cops. All he needed was a broom and I would have scrammed. Instead, this guy thought there was someone else stalking the pots and pans. He got scared and asked the Georgia Highway State Patrol to investigate. There I was in the kitchen with spicy pork all over my chin and a flash light shining in my eyes.

Fortunately, there was no attempt to collar me. Lots of laughing by the Patrol Guy. But the cook wanted to serve me up for dinner. Made mental note. Some Chinese do eat kitties.

Now preparing to enter Florida to raise hell. Spring break baby.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I don’t know what I would have done if I found my mom. It would have been sweet to smell her breath, touch her nose, lick the top of her head. Even curl up with her on the wool blanket where I was borne. But I knew in that place where cats just know things, it would be a small miracle if she survived. Life is hard down on the farm.

After nearly a month on the road, I managed to get from Saratoga Springs, New York to Greeneville, Tennessee. Pardon the expression, but I’m dog tired.

The barns and farm out buildings look pretty much the same, but honestly I don’t remember too much. I was a youngster when they came and scooped me up along with my siblings and dropped us into a shoebox. We all thought we were going to be treated to a night in the big house. You know, where the Big Man and his wife lived. Where the dim yellow light flickered all night, so inviting and warm. But we were left on the steps of a shelter to be found tired and aching with hunger by the time the staff arrived in the morning.

After disparaging remarks about the awful treatment we endured, they took us in, filled out the necessary paperwork and gave us a two week sentence. At the time, I didn’t know that meant two weeks before they would put us down for good. Limited resources in them rural shelters.

I showed my attitude early when I didn’t take too kindly to the poking and prodding during the physical. I drew my own blood sample. After that, I was left alone with the rest of the kitties in a small pen. Living conditions were crowded and messy. One long hair kitten had diarrhea! I managed to stay clear of the poop, because that's a bad way to market yourself for adoption. But unknown to me, I caught an awful sickness.

I saw the Goddess before she saw me. Her eyes were all over Phoenix who hunkered down in the back of her cage. Phoenix was pretty scared of just about everything. She was older and had lived with a human who had died. That caused lots of rumors among the kitties, but I paid little attention to that gossip.

Goddess came in with a friend named Rob, who never in his life had been around cats. Can you imagine that? Nevertheless, he had great choice. He found me and liked my spunkiness. And even though they were “just looking”, they couldn’t help fall in love with my bowlegged strut. So for the second time in as many days I was shoved into another box (can you see why cats don’t take well to carriers?) and carted off to the offices of Design Management, where Phoenix spent the next two days behind a filing cabinet.

Phoenix and I had no problem bonding. She was like a big sister. If I got too rowdy she'd take her paw and pin me to the floor. That whole office had hard wood floors. I never knew the luxury of carpet and ultimate traction until much later.

Like I said, I caught some bug at the shelter. For two days I didn’t eat. This worried Goddess. She had already taken me to the vet to start the shot regiment, but she carted me back there when I got sick. Right there in the vet’s office, the doc whipped out some fishy-smellin' canned cat food. I lunged at the piece Goddess held and sank my teeth in her finger. She had some mixed feelings about that. Happy I was eating yet crying from the pain I inflicted. Hey, it wasn’t to be the last time I'd bite her.

Because I had to take lots of medication that week – around the clock – she took me home every night in her Jeep. That’s when I became a traveling cat.

My hometown is where I am from, but it is not where I should be. “I was borne under a wandering star. Home was made for 'coming from' and dreams are made for 'going to.'”

I continue to push south and dream about mom. I miss her everyday.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

From the Road

Kitties should not have to endure such elements. After slogging through swamps in the coastal plains of North Carolina, I approached the Piedmont Region thinking I would find warmer weather. So wrong. My fur has thickened nicely since I left my New York abode. Unfortunately a thick coat hides my ribs. Few strangers pity me, thinking I’m nothing but a fat cat. When I hit Florida I’m going to shed like a bad dust rag.

My last good meal was the chickens in the barn. I attempted to get some good East Carolina barbeque when I showed up at a so out-of-the-season but early Super Bowl pig pickin’ party. The smells of the pig roasting on a grill attracted several felines. None of us were invited and were kept at bay by an overly zealous Chihuahua. I was ready to take the mutt on until a brick was tossed my way. I scampered across the yard with a biscuit in mouth. My raiding skills are becoming keener, yet I keep getting leaner.

The mountains of Appalachia are between me and my old home in Tennessee. Mixed feeling about returning to the farm where I was born. I seriously doubt if Mom is around after all these years. Barn cats have tough lives. Too many barn cats must be disposed. The lucky ones end up at the shelters. The not so lucky end up as pig food. I was lucky. It will be nice to see the Tennessee relatives.

I got to thinking about Phoenix, my homie, and the Old Man back in New York. I’ve been on the road for a month. Seems like it has been years that I learned how to jump trains with the yard cats south of Albany. I’ve many more miles to go, with places to see and cats to visit. Been invited to Kansas to see a ball of string. It’s tempting to go see this wonder. Maybe get a couple of souvenirs to send back home to Phoenix. Hope she doesn’t forget me.

Tennessee, here I come.