Friends come and go, in Siouxland

8 Feb

It’s true that as one journeys through life one makes friends, changes friends and loses friends. Life just works that way. And the same is true of our four-legged friends as well. I have a couple pet cats currently, and previously have had a number of pets that have called my place home. And then there are the visitors.

Recently a neighbor moved to another part of town and the family’s cat made the trip with them. When I first met Clyde, I thought he was a neighborhood stray. A little cautious but friendly always roaming about at night. The was during the winter months and some nights it was extremely cold.  Then  about 6 months later I learned he belonged to a family that had moved into the neighborhood. The family seemed to have a hard time getting Clyde to come home. He would always come visit my house, especially if he thought he could get a meal, which he always did. He would sit by the door and meow. When he wanted out, he would wander about the house, making certain I saw him and then head for a door. My cue to get my butt over their and act like the butler.

The family moved last December, and I must say I miss Clyde’s visits. Not the most affectionate cat, but he would let me pick him up and pet him and rub his tummy when he was laying about and napping.

But since that time, and somewhat overlapping, another cat has shown up and been getting a meal every now and again, Pumpkin the stray cat. I saw Pumpkin maybe a year or so ago during warmer weather. He came around a few months, I would feed him outside and then content with something in his tummy, he would find a spot nearby and take a nap. This fall and continuing into winter Pumpkin would show up around 6 a.m. and meow outside a back door. I would open it and he would stick his head in then slowly make certain all is right and then come in to find his bowl, much like Clyde did when visiting. Not quite a docile, Pumpkin allows me to pet him, scratch his head and ears and meow at me when he wants to exit.

It’s a tough life, but butlers are hard to come by and they have to be trained just right. I think I am learning. Meantime my own two feline friends watch from a safe distance as I befriend these freeloaders and the younger one sometimes hisses. But neither Clyde nor Pumpkin has shown any indication they really want to fight. They just want to eat and find a safe place to take a nap. When I hear the winding of a cat turbine engine, I get up, find the offending culprit and start saying no. And so far, detente has been very pleasant. But I am cautious. I don’t allow the stranger cats into my house until some time has passed and I feel they are safe and not going to cause mischief or other issues.

So to Clyde I bid adieu and to Pumpkin I say bonjour.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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