A Cat, A Trap, and a Saber, Or In Which One Thing Leads to Another

I headed home a few days ago after being out and about, and as I turned down my little road, there was a woman walking on the side of the road near the shade tree club.  The club had done a good business that day, what with it being Labor Day, or UnLabor Day, at this particular club.  The woman was carrying a can of beer, unopened, and was strolling about on the side of the road, trying to evade a black cat. 

Now this just looked like a story waiting to be told.  The cat kept following her, and she side-stepped, and stopped, and started, and generally was unsuccessful in eluding the cat who seemed intent on staying with her.  I rolled down the car window, and asked if the cat was hers.  I didn’t recognize it as one that frequents my feral cat feeding station.

She said that the cat was not hers, but had recently started coming to her house and sitting on her very porch, and she fed it.  I asked if I could take the cat to get it fixed, not that it appeared broken, and she said that was fine because the cat was not hers.  I told her I’d go right home and get a trap. Which I did. 

I just happened to have some delicious canned cat food in the car, because after all, it’s hurricane season, so why wouldn’t I have canned cat food, a plastic shower curtain, a car vacuum cleaner, a saber, and a brick in my car.  I baited the trap, and the friendly cat walked right in.  The woman said that there were cats, lots of cats, that lived on the end of the next road over, where some woman who fed cats moved away, and there must be a hundred cats there.  I asked her if I could catch them and get them fixed – would anyone mind?  She said she didn’t think that anyone would care, and we agreed to meet the next evening to drive over to check out the cats.

I got Mr. FussyPants cat relocated to a crate until I could get him to the spay-neuter clinic, and the next evening I headed over to Sondra’s house, for that was the name of the side-stepping lady.  We drove to the end of the next road which opened out into a little enclave of houses, trailers, and double-wides.  Sondra’s niece lived near the end, and the niece said that the cats didn’t belong to her, but to go check over at Mr. Lemuel’s house at the end of the road. 

It was getting dusk, and Sondra said that Mr. Lemuel was close to a hundred years old, and indeed the house had a long ramp leading to the screened-in porch on the front of the double-wide.  I waited on the ramp while Sondra knocked on the front door, and while we waited, I could see someone in a what was probably a bedroom move a curtain to one side to peer out.  I imagined that they would be startled to see a white woman standing on their ramp at dusk. 

An elderly woman with a walker answered the door, and Sondra introduced me, and I explained that I lived nearby on Resurrection, and did she have cats that I could have fixed?  She said that she didn’t know how many cats there were about, and that she didn’t want them returned.  Sondra, by that time, was into the mission, and she told the woman that the cats wouldn’t be able to have any more kittens, and the woman agreed that I could set traps there, have the cats fixed and vaccinated, and then return them.  She seemed happy that someone had come to help.

I had brought my remaining three traps, and I showed Sondra how to bait them, and we placed them under the back porch after watching at least six cats scatter.  The smallest trap seemed to be malfunctioning, but I set it out anyway with the thought that at least a cat could go inside and enjoy the canned food without getting trapped, and Sondra and I headed home.

This morning at early light I drove back to Mr. Lemuel’s house.  I took along a flashlight, and wondered if it would scare the old folks if they looked outside and saw a crazy white woman with a flashlight walking through their backyard to look under their back porch.  I parked in an obvious spot in front of their house, and walked to the back of the house, calling softly for the cats, in case the people in the house could actually hear without hearing aids, and could tell that a harmless crazy was outside their house.

When I got to the back porch, one trap, the little malfunctioning one, was missing.  The two remaining traps both had frightened cats in them.  The biggest trap had a skinny young calico who looked too lightweight to trigger the trip plate, but indeed she had, and the next trap had a handsome fluffy gray tabby.  But where was the remaining trap?

I got down on all fours, wishing that I had brought the camera, and looked under the porch.  The third little trap was full of a large orange tabby who, in his haste to get out of the trap, had jostled and rattled the cage until it wiggled a full five feet under the porch.  I was glad that I was wearing my dirty jeans, and not my clean scrubs because it was looking like I was going to have to crawl under the porch, when I remembered my saber.

In 1977, Mr. X and I were in an antique mall in Cookeville, Tennessee, when he saw a cavalry saber that he just had to have.  It was $25.00.  When he moved out in 2002, he left it behind, and during the course of the separation and divorce never asked for it during the settlement, and it became my property.  I had it evaluated in 2003, and the evaluator thought it was from 1902. 

I had it appraised two weeks ago, and the appraiser said that it’s quite possible that it’s really not from 1902.  It’s possible that it’s from 1872. 

I went back to the car, wondering what the neighbors were going to report about the woman with the saber and flashlight.

The saber, scabbard and all, was the perfect tool for manipulating the trap out from under the porch. 

Three cats, in unison: "What is wrong with white folks?"


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3 Responses to “A Cat, A Trap, and a Saber, Or In Which One Thing Leads to Another”

  1. Becky Says:

    Duct tape your flashlight on that saber, and it will be the purrfect porch getter-outter.


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