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Leader of the band

They’ve put ewes in the little field in front of the house, for lambing time is upon us. Which is nice. Today, I looked up to see the whole flock walking toward me. That’s an odd thing — sheep are shy of people. Particularly strangers. Particularly in strange places. Particularly at lambing time.

And then I spotted Jack, leading the parade. It was the oddest sight. The sheep weren’t trotting; they weren’t running him off. The were slowly walking, converging on him, like they were curious. And he was sashaying in front, calmly, waving his wild tail, not looking back, like he couldn’t give a ripe fuck.

He’s going to be trouble, this one. He’s had his first night out, and his first day outside while we ran errands. Last week, a cab driver spotted him sunning himself in the middle of the road and carried him to the nearest house. That would be our neighbor next door, who said he not only waltzes into her house like he owns the place, he wanders in and out of the house next door to her.

I tried to make the appointment for the ol’ snip snip, but ran into scheduling problems. I don’t imagine it’ll slow him down much.


Comment from surly ermine
Time: March 18, 2014, 10:58 pm

Firsties! Many a cat has met its untimely demise on our road. They seem to weed themselves out, the dumb ones I mean. We don’t officially have any cats, they just show up and take up residence in the barns.
One of the unfortunate ones was a beautiful slate gray tom, one of the kids favorites. Luckily I found him first.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: March 18, 2014, 11:15 pm

I love a parade!

May Jack live long and prosper.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 18, 2014, 11:38 pm

I think I’m most worried he’ll get into a stranger’s car. He’s tried already, but fortunately it wasn’t a stranger.

People often pull up at the end of our drive, which widens out, to make phone calls or switch drivers.

Comment from Deborah
Time: March 19, 2014, 12:49 am

He does have a fine tail—surely the sign of a natural-born leader. How’s he doing with the chickens? And what is it with cats that want to snooze in the middle of the road? My cat did the same thing. Some kind of cat ego.

Comment from Pupster
Time: March 19, 2014, 12:55 am

Cats have no manners.

Comment from lauraw
Time: March 19, 2014, 1:32 am

Mom had a cocky little boy-cat like that. Exactly as you say, with the attitude. I’m afraid he did not make it to any kind of good age. He liked to nap on the center line of the road, too. Though that is not what did him in. A neighbor did something to him.

Comment from dissent555
Time: March 19, 2014, 2:44 am

Hehe. That Lord Jack. Ruler of all he surveys.

Would he like to run for governor of Illinois? I’d vote for him.

Comment from catnip
Time: March 19, 2014, 3:21 am

Our little 8 month-old stray spent last night, for the first time, running under the full moon with the cat pack. We grabbed him at noon today, and tonight he’s having a sleep-over at the vet’s. Like Jack, he’s everyone’s best friend, but I worry most about abscesses and disease if having his tail assembly re-engineered doesn’t turn him into a homebody.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: March 19, 2014, 3:22 am

We have a white and black tomcat that probably did that…jumped in somebody’s car and went for a ride…just showed up on our back porch and adopted us one day.

I say went for a ride cuz he still tries to jump into the trunk of the car whenever it’s open.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: March 19, 2014, 5:25 am

Cats are significantly cleverer than, say, geraniums but they still have brains the size of walnuts. I hope Jack can learn to be a bit more traffic-averse.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: March 19, 2014, 1:40 pm

He is a MK-1 Mod 0 Tomcat. Hopefully the modification that will make him a MK-1 Mod 1 Tomcat will settle him down just a little.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: March 19, 2014, 2:01 pm

Get out your trusty old Lee-Enfield & snip those danglies from 300 yards away.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: March 19, 2014, 3:52 pm

Yeah the kitty inability to recognize danger of roads is a serious problem. Very frustrating and frightening to me.

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: March 19, 2014, 4:12 pm

That inability of loved house cats to believe anything can hurt them is why I keep my felines indoors. I know, it’s a shame for a cat who lives in the country, but sleeping on the road –!

Maybe after he’s been snipped (and I agree, it may not change his personality much), you could introduce him to the idea of a harness and leash. Then, if he likes it — I’ve had a couple of cats who did — you can walk with him and enjoy the spring and summer.

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: March 19, 2014, 4:31 pm

A cat jumping into a stranger’s car: That was how I came to adopt Miss Linda’s (now late) Siberian, the ironically-named Angelique. I was drying off my car in a shuttered store’s empty lot when suddenly a beautiful, long-haired creamy cat with blue eyes hurried up, meowing (“I need human help, naowwww!”). Figuring she had to be somebody’s cat — she looked like a purebred — I waited, but nobody showed. So I opened my car door, planning to drive home, get a carrier, come back and scoop her up, and then we’d put an ad in the paper.

Nope. She jumped right into the car on my lap. End of discussion.

We did post a note everywhere, and no response. So for 10 years she was Linda’s cat. I’ve always told myself somebody had let her loose “accidentally on purpose,” and we saved her from getting run over, pregnant, or both.

Comment from Deborah
Time: March 19, 2014, 6:00 pm

Wolfus Aurelius—we had a bird dog that would climb into strange cars. You could pepper his behind with bird shot, and he wouldn’t twitch, but a thunderstorm would make him crazy. Sometimes we just couldn’t get him in the house fast enough, and over the fence he’d go.

When he got tired of running, he’d jump through someone’s open car door, and shake his collar and dog tags in their face. They’d read his name and address and bring him home. Sometimes he’d run into an open garage, or bark under porch light. We’d get a call. Once he barked and barked at the drive-up window in a Wienerschnitzel restaurant. The girls there gave him a hot dog and a customer brought him home.

He was an accidentally pure bird dog, but not pure bred. He was half German shorthair, and half Brittany. So he didn’t look like a pure anything. But he had a great nose and was a wonderful dog. Husband hasn’t hunted quail since the dog died.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: March 19, 2014, 9:51 pm

It sure didn’t kink Schrodingers style. He tore his way out of the carrier I brought him home in and ran bare-ass straight for the food dish, managing to sound COMPLETELY insulted along the way for good measure…

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: March 20, 2014, 1:35 pm

Scubafreak, my late Maine Coon mix, Arizona, once worked his way out of the cardboard kitten carrier I had him in. I’m driving along the street, bringing him back from a vet visit, when suddenly I feel something moving across the back of my neck. Barely three months old, he’d figured out how to squirm out of the flimsy carrier (you know, the ones they give you at the shelter with the printed logo, “I’m going HOME!”). He strolled around the interior of the car and across the back of the front seat, all without a worry. I was the one freaking.

I pulled over, popped him back in the carrier, and held it shut with one hand while I drove home with the other. Got him a real carrier the next day.

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