June 22, 2006

National Geographic

Hungry Wadsworth Longfellow is my parents' cat. The name was chosen by my mom, a former English teacher. He showed up as a stray, was fed a meal by my soft-hearted mother, and has stayed ever since. He sleeps in my dad's woodshop or the garage, is litterbox-trained and Purina-fed (with a can of Fancy Feast on Sundays), and has a full set of claws. He allows us to be his family; he has no need of us. I've seen this cat climb trees for fun.

We call him Wadsworth - and the cry of, "Wadsworth! Here, kitty-kitty-kitty-kitty-kitty-kitty!" is a familiar one in this neighborhood.

Since there's a leash law in our town, my dad came home several weeks ago and laid down the law: Wadsworth couldn't be outside unless he was on a leash. This is one of those ideas that's good in theory, but not in practice. The cat escaped from not one, but two different types of harness leashes my mom bought. Since he won't succumb to a leash, he's stuck being shut up in the shop. Stuck in the shop and mm-row-ow-ling most of the day.

Mom (and I) feel sorry for him, since he basically went from the run of the neighborhood to being in solitary confinement. We try to be judicious about it, but both of us have let him out to run at some time or another. We usually wait for afternoon so birds and rabbits have a better shot at escaping him.

Today as I was cleaning the bathroom, I heard Wadsworth meowing loudly over something; I'd let him outside before I went to the grocery story around noon. When I heard him I just hoped his loud voice wouldn't wake Nathan up from his nap.

I went outside to put something in the recycle bin, and surprised Wadsworth in the midst of a feast. Apparently he killed a bird in my honor, brought it to me as a thank offering, then decided to start without me. Feathers strewn everywhere near the door and under my car's front bumper; very purrrr-y kitty maw-deep in avian dissection. I yelled at him, pulled him away from his kill, and hauled him back to solitary (trying to scrape his front paws off on the garbage can edge, since they were clutch-full of feathers). Sweeping up the remains and bagging them to put in the trash can had me literally gagging. I haven't been that close to throwing up since the first trimester of my pregnancy more than a year ago.

Wadsworth is a very cool cat, and I like that he's still a "functional" cat; he could fend for himself pretty nicely. I still want him to keep his wildlife documentary material away from me. I don't care if it is denial.

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