Herding humans

Friday, November 18, 2011

Editor's note: This week's column is by a young writer making her debut in the Southeast Missourian. Please welcome our newest guest columnist, Missy Kitty.

By Missy Kitty

The other day, one of the two humans who live at my house said something that, well, put me off a bit.

He described his relationship with a certain group of people as "like trying to herd cats."

Hey, Big Fella (which is what I call him, no explanation needed), let me tell you a thing or two about herding humans.

Big Fella and Nice Lady (again, no explanation needed) are fairly easy to get along with. Thank God they are teachable, although they can be as stubborn as a tomcat on the prowl.

Both my humans have been taking walks together on the street in front of my house. I've been walking with them.

Big Fella also walks by himself early in the morning. I mean before the sun is up.

On these early morning walks, Big Fella takes off up the street and is gone nearly two hours. That's a lot of walking. I've been wondering where he goes and what he does. So Monday morning I decided to find out.

I've heard some folks say I'm more like a puppy than a cat. I could claw their tongues for making such a comparison. But I'll admit I like to tag along on walks. So following Big Fella -- at a discreet distance, of course -- didn't sound like a big deal.

Off he went, Monday morning, but he was no more than a few feet up the street when he saw me tailing him. He took me back to the patio and said I should stay.

Folks, I should do a lot of things. But I'm a cat. What I should do and what I actually do is all a matter of genetics. What else can I say?

When Big Fella took off again, I was more careful. I stayed back what I thought was a respectable distance.

I had no idea his walk was going to be all uphill. Honest. Up, up, up. He had gone more than a quarter of a mile when, gasping for breath, I let out a mild meow. Big Fella doesn't always hear everything, so I thought I was safe -- until he turned and spotted me.

He was not happy.

He picked me and told me I had to go home. Apparently, he knows cats well enough to know I wasn't going on my own. So he carried me -- in his arms -- all the way home.

Then he got in his car and drove away. The next day he locked the cat door in the garage to keep me in. He was bound and determined to take his walk.

I could have told him it was pouring down rain and the wind was howling.

Humans: You can try to teach them things they need to know, but it doesn't always stick.

I'll let you in on a little secret. Trying to teach humans is like trying to herd goldfish.

Which reminds me of something I need to be doing.

Missy Kitty lives with Joe Sullivan, retired editor of the Southeast Missourian, and his wife, Nice Lady.

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