The following is the memoirs of a legendary cat who took over our household and our lives for over 16 years. He was known by many names, and sometimes called many names. He was a legend, not only in his own mind, but in the neighborhood, at the vet’s, and to unsuspecting visitors. He was nothing if not fierce, sometimes fiercely sweet, and completely entertaining. Though he is now in that great scratching post in the sky, (probably still terrorizing God’s chipmunks), he is still remembered fondly and always with a smile. Here is his legendary long life in his own words, in his own way, written several years ago.
by Banshee – The Tigger from Hell
I’m Puss. I started life as “Banshee” because I screeched like one. Then, as the household granddaughters got older, I became “Tigger”. Sweet, huh. Original, too. The daughter of the family (seldom seen) calls me the “Tigger from Hell,” but, hey, you can’t please everybody. Right? Besides, I was irritated the day Miss Daughter in the leg cast clumped by. One little swipe and she goes ballistic. What can I say.
I got a pretty good thing going here. Like, I got these people. There’s Mike, Linda, and MawMaw. All fairly well trained. All I have to do is rattle that doorknob and one of them lets me in. If I want out (usually within a couple of minutes of being let in) I walk to the door and stare at the knob. If they miss that little clue, I start clawing something with my ears laid back in a really waspish position. That gets immediate, and usually loud, response. Not to mention objects flying across the room. He-he-he. Mike missed me with a pillow once and broke Linda’s flower vase. And br’er Mike, he jes’ lay low. Hid the evidence, too. Sneakeee.
There’s a baby in this house and I’m about to take a flying leap upon this couch and take a nap. Don’t anybody try to stop me, I have several sharp weapons.
In the middle of the night, when they’re too sleepy and zombed out to make a fuss, I jump on the night stand and start knocking stuff over. That usually gets SOMEBODY out of bed to let me out. When I want back in, usually when they’ve just had time to drift back off, I rattle the doorknob really loud. I never have to wait too long, and it doesn’t hurt them. I doubt they even remember it the next morning.
Oh, did I mention that if my food dish gets low at any time, day or night, I get really cranky? If it happens to be 2 o’clock in the morning, I do several things. I knock stuff off or over and I claw furniture – it always gets somebody up. First thing they do is stagger to the door and open it to let me out. I just sit there looking at them, like . . . duh. This isn’t wanting out racket, this is fill up my food dish racket, dummy.
And about that food dish. I’m real finicky where that’s concerned. If I can see even a sliver of the bottom of that dish, I’m ready for a re-fill. Any cat with half a brain knows that famine lurks at that depth. Sometimes the dummies run out of cat food and I have to wait a few hours between meals. I let them hear about it when they get that big yellow bag out, too. I yowl as I escort them from the truck to the house. The smell of fresh-killed Meow Mix drives me nuts. I usually lead the way to the pantry door, too, just in case they’ve forgotten where the stuff goes. Hey, if they’re dumb enough to forget something vital, like cat food, they’re dumb enough to forget anything.
I do supplement my diet occasionally with chipmunks. It keeps my hunting skills honed (and we never know when those will come in handy, do we)? When we first moved up here on this hill, I couldn’t walk out of the house without stumbling over one of the tasty little critters. Now, for some reason, the chipmunk population has plummeted. Even going on safari in the neighboring woods produces zilch, and I have to rely almost completely on the hand that feeds me. How demoralizing.
Nawww. I didn’t disassemble this birdbath. But I can take credit for it if you like.
To make up for the wild game deficit, I have to do a little extra terrorizing on the home front. You know how it is. You gotta keep up the image. You can’t get slack. The other cats can get really nasty with this top dog stuff. Yeah, this soft life seems to collect every vagrant within a square mile. My house dummies will feed any freeloader that slinks in from the cold. But, hey, it’s their dime, right? It gets a little crowded sometimes. He-he-he. But not for me.
So I may come off as a little, ummm, possessive? But, you know, this hill is mine and so are the dummies. They may not be the brightest pick of the litter, but, in my own selfish way, I love ‘em. Ya know? In my younger days I used to try to supplement their miserable diet with a rat kill or something. I tried laying it on their doorstep. But noooo. They wouldn’t have it. So, good provider and mighty hunter that I am, I tried taking one into the kitchen. You should have heard the ruckus. You’d think I was trying to assassinate the entire household. Can I help it if they like their kills cooked? There’s just no accounting for taste.
Yep. Yep. Yep. Life is good here. I’ve been a member of this household since kittenhood when I fit down in a narrow little pocket beside the couch in the old RV. I’m getting a little long in the tooth and broad in the girth now – 22 lbs at my girthiest. But I still command respect and the other cats still pad softly about me. And when I really concentrate and the wind is just right, I can still lay these ears back, go snake-eyed, and fly a couple of feet up an unsuspecting sapling.
I’ve mellowed somewhat in my golden years, though. And just between you and me and that loose doorknob . . . I even let the granddaughters pet and coo over me sometimes. Uh. You know, as long as they don’t get too disgusting. I’m still “Banshee” on the rolls of that bewildered pet doctor who locked me up one night only to find me sprawled contentedly in the middle of his floor the next morning, smirking at the poor four-legged brutes still behind bars. Man, I’m still a legend there. But everybody here just calls me “Puss” or “Tigger”, depending on which generation is yapping at me.
But I still dream as “Banshee”, the screeching Irish spirit that strikes terror in the dark of the night. I still prowl the woods, and stalk the occasional chipmunk. I still go into my Ninja mode sometimes when there’s an audience. I whirl and hiss and bare these fatally long incisors at anybody I care to intimidate. But most of these doorknobs (not the rattling one) around here are too used to me. It’s all too true that familiarity breeds contempt – as well as more dummies.
But, hey, it’s been a while since Miss Daughter has paid a visit. Even without a clunky cast she is so easy. And I have to confess. I like being called “The Tigger from Hell”. He-he-he.