DIARY OF A CAT
By Leigh W. Rutledge
Although cats have nine lives this will be the tale of a nameless tom’s life spanning one year’s time. It’s not a daily diary but rather one that chooses particular days of the month traversing the four seasons.
Through his eyes and perceptions the reader becomes acquainted with the inhabitants of his neighborhood. Some events are humorous, others sad, and some are even troubling.
It begins in the Summer during the month of June, June 25 to be exact. That day, as well as the day after, were spent sleeping. Not very eventful.
The cat lives with Mrs. Vigil, or Mrs. V as he refers to her. As she was coming home from the supermarket on the 27th he dashed out of the house to make his neighborhood round. Next door Mrs. Thornhill was arguing with her teenage daughter on the front lawn. They always fought.
On July 1 Aunt Petra came to visit for the long holiday. She was pretty big and always tried to hold him. The cat stayed away from her and hid whenever he could.
His birthday on the 9th went unnoticed. He reminisced about his mom. Mid July and the next door neighbors were at it again. Mrs. Thornhill was admonishing her daughter about her choice of boyfriend. The cat couldn’t understand why people fought.
Three houses down lived the cat’s best friend, Mr Bull, a cat who bumped his head against everything. Together they’d spend hours combing the neighborhood. One day they were up on the Whittlesee’s fence when they heard an awful racket coming from an open window. A little boy was crying and they heard the smacks his father was giving him. The two cats jumped down and ran into Mr. Butler’s garden where they stayed quiet for a long while.
August 1 was a day to remember. Mrs. V brought home a kitten she had rescued which she had seen thrown out of a window of the car in front of her. She named him Bobbie Boop and the tomcat was reluctantly given the responsibility of showing him around.
Fall came trapsing in and Bobbie Boop started collecting souvenirs and hiding them behind the couch. September 11 found the tom on top of the roof. He was looking into one of the Thornhill’s bedroom windows and saw smoke coming out of the bathroom. Mrs. T was running in with a pitcher of water. Her daughter was laughing. She was burning her prom dress.
September 22 was an exciting day. A kitten was stuck up a tree. Several people congregated with ideas on bringing it down. None worked. The following day the kitten came down on its own.
The first of October heard Mr. Whittlebee yelling at his young son again in the backyard. The child was terrified.
On October 10 Bobbie Boop was staring with rapture at Mrs. Ridgeway’s new kitten, the kitten from the tree. Her name was Brigitte and it was love at first sight. Minutes later she was up the tree again, much to Mrs. Ridgeway’s dismay!
Mid-October an elderly lady from down the street, who would walk around for exercise, went missing. Her muddied sneaker was found in the woods.
First frost came and Mr. Butler’s beautiful garden turned into beds of boiled spinach.
Halloween. Someone left a paper bag on Mrs. V’s porch. There was a dirty emaciated black and white cat in it. In pity she kept it and named him Zachary. The three cats and owner developed a close bond with each other.
Mrs. V invited all her neighbors over for Thanksgiving. When the turkey was served Bobbie Boop jumped on the table and was promptly scolded back to the floor.
Towards the end of the meal the TV was turned on by one of the visitors to check the weather forecast because of a planned trip the following day. With a gasp he called to everyone saying there was a story about the missing elderly neighbor. When they returned to the table there was a tail sticking out of the turkey! When the horrified Mrs. V called his name, Bobbie Boop tried to back out but was stuck and had to be pulled out!
Winter and December brought on the snow. Dec. 7 Mrs. V had a stroke. She ended up in a nursing home to recover.
Her friend, Mrs. Axe, flew in to take care of her. She loathed cats and all animals. Life with her became unbearable. As Mrs. V’s stay away from home lengthened indefinitely Mrs. Axe decided to get rid of the cats. She gave Bobbie Boop away through an ad. Zachary ran away. Next door Mrs. Thornhill took the tomcat, angry with Mrs. Axe that she was giving away the cats without Mrs. V’s knowledge.
Mrs. Axe then started bullying Mrs. T’s intimidating dog. She was determined to get rid of him too. For days she went after him, often hitting him on the head with a shovel over the fence.
Eventually, Mrs. V was brought home again in a wheelchair. She wiled away in her bed, disheartened by the loss of her companions.
One day Mrs Axe went too far with the dog – and disappeared. No note, nothing. Gone. What had happened? Would Mrs. V recover and be reunited with her felines?
Spring had the answer.
This is a delightful story which brings out morals and consequences in an unusual manner. It is a quick read – as the cat does spend a bit of time sleeping! – Marilu Shellie