Wednesday, June 1, 2016

MISSING! My unusual animal friend

We've all seen those shows (or internet bits) of queer (unnatural) friendships between animals. There's the deer and the Great Dane, the lion and the gazelle, the cheetah and the hippo. Natural enemies can sometimes resist their urges to rip apart and devour, replacing them with what we humans would call love. These instances are rare and always make for good nature program fare. But who ever heard of a man and a cat bonding? I've had cats for years and have always maintained a healthy emotional distance. This is the natural order of things. I fed them, let them in the house if it went below ten below, and offered to put them down if things got too tough. Everybody agreed. The cats were happy. I was happy. When they ultimately disappeared (and they always did) I was sad to see them go, but moved on quickly. No time for tears. They were cats fer christsake.
   Then I met Cheeky. Teehoo brought him up from the city for me as a belated birthday gift. It was love at first sight. He zeroed in on my beard, like it was the soft white belly of his lost mother, and the two of us bonded in a snoring/purring daze. As he grew, the beard never lost its appeal to him. As for me? Who wouldn't want a soft, furry pussy-cat in one's beard? Cheeky was the perfect companion. I loved to hunt. Cheeky loved to hunt. I loved to lay on the couch and watch bad TV. Ditto Cheeky. Sometimes when I went to bed Cheeky would be out. But he always tapped on my bedroom window and meowed to get in. I'd crank open the window at 3am and he'd vault in. When he was late I worried. But he always showed up, like it was no big deal, and well, I just couldn't stay mad at him. He'd stretch out his little hands and burrow right in the facial hair.  Nighty-night.

   The last time I saw Cheeky was Sat. evening. He was asleep on the couch. I was going out to Shewho's for the weekend. He had food and water and the run of the place. I left the door to the porch open so he could go and come through the cat door. I wasn't worried. I'd left him plenty of times like this. I hunted Sat. and Monday at WSSP. Monday afternoon I returned to the shack, planning to go after Putin one last time on Tues.(the last day of the season). I was in the woods by 4:45am. Cheeky had yet to return from his night prowl. I wasn't too worried. I heard one gobble and saw two coyotes. At 9am I returned home. Still no Cheeky. Now I was worried.
   Three things kill cats around here- cold, cars and coyotes. Worried and willing to give Putin a pass, I spent the rest of legal hunting time walking and driving the road, and calling for Cheeky. It now is Wed. afternoon. I'm a wreck. I've checked with neighbors, called and called, and still no Cheeky. Shewho hasn't given up hope, but I think I have. It's my own fault for forming an unnaturally close relationship with an animal like a cat. I thought we'd grow old together. The house feels so empty. I keep hearing the cat door flap. Was that a meow? Then I realize it's just the fridge turning off and the gas from yesterday's pizza. CHEEKY! CHEEKY!!!!!!!! 


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