By Ralph Hood
When Wife Gail and I first arrived in Erwin in 2007, our little business consisted of me, Gail, two dogs and a cat. The business slowly waned as we all grew older and early this year we were down to—as the song says—“Just the two of us.”
We weren’t complaining. After all, our main business was for me to run around the country making humorous speeches for hire, and that gets tougher with age. A much smaller part of our business was my writing for various publications, and that has held up. Gail runs the business, pays the bills, keeps us out of jail and keeps me fairly straight.
We weren’t exactly planning to grow the business this year, but recently we did add a new cat to the staff. His name is Cecil, and his main job seems to be entertaining us, with an occasional episode of infuriating us. Lord, I wish I could get inside his head and see what he is thinking!
Cecil is a cute cat—barely past the kitten stage—totally full of himself and interested in everything. He’s dark gray, with areas of white.
We can be walking through any room of the house and Cecil will come tearing through at the speed of lightning. Somehow that little cat manages to sound like a posse thundering by on horseback in the old black and white cowboy movies. It’s enough to scare us to death.
Cecil will sometimes lie quietly on the arm of a chair for an hour or more, then—for no apparent reason—sail off the chair with one giant leap that is nothing short of amazing in length, then run skittering around the entire house at full bore.
He is the most curious cat I’ve ever known. If Gail takes a shower he hops up on the side of the tub to see where all that noise comes from. He runs the length of the tub between the shower curtain and liner, then back again. It’s a bit disconcerting to see the shower liner billow in and out. I had to repair a toilet and Cecil supervised the entire event. He inspected the inside, outside, topside, and bottom side of the tank, and the faucet that makes the whole thing work. He finally accepted the job, but still checks it out several times a day.
Cecil is convinced that he will catch a bird someday. He stalks them with great concentration and stealth, slinking along with his belly dragging the ground. His long tail, however, is a dead giveaway as it twitches back and forth nervously.
Like most cats, Cecil will enter any small opening that is dark and cramped inside. Unlike people, if he gets caught inside a cabinet or closet, it bothers him not a bit. He remains calm and quiet while he explores the dark inner sanctum. When I open the cabinet door he seems to wonder why I spoiled his adventure.
He kept Gail and me both laughing yesterday as he chased a dried lima bean all over the house, batting and chasing it, then batting it again. He finally lost it in a heat vent, then sat patiently waiting for it to pop back out. It never did, but he knows it will someday. I’m going to buy him some ping-pong balls which won’t fit under and into so many places. He has us trained to solve his problems.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks they say, but a young cat can certainly teach old folks new tricks!