I awoke with a start and squinted my droopy eyes at the lighted clock face. Five minutes till midnight, what had awakened me out of a sound sleep? Then it began again. There was a prowler in the house. And not a quiet prowler. It sounded as if they were snatching everything out of my kitchen cupboards and smashing them to the floor. What prowler in their right mind is going to make that kind of noise to alert everyone to his presence? Obviously a dangerous one who doesn’t care if he’s caught and plans to kill you anyway or a very stupid one.
My husband at the time (ex-husband now) gets his gun, unlocks the ammo box, loads the gun and goes after the guy. I sit on the bed waiting. It had grown quiet and I wonder if I should go help or just crawl back into bed and go back to sleep–figuring hubby could handle the situation without any assistance from me. Okay, so going back to sleep was a dumb idea. Before I can decide to offer assistance, he comes back, unloads the gun, locks up the ammo and puts the weapon away. “So what happened?” I asked.
“You can handle this guy,” he answered. Curiosity aroused, I made my way into the kitchen. Nothing was out of place. I continued to the living room. The glass fireplace doors looked as if a giant gorilla had grabbed them and ripped them apart. What in the world? Then I heard the hissing.
Trouble, a very large, healthy, male cat sat on the wide ledge of my bay window. Trouble, a feral cat that roamed at will through the neighborhood and was ‘not friendly’ even at the best of times. This was not one of those times. He sat there with his back arched and ears laid flat, hissing, snarling and clawing at the air in my direction. I love animals and have a way with them, but I still couldn’t understand why my ex believed me to be a lion tamer, because I definitely was not. And I most definitely didn’t want to take on Trouble, who was worse than any lion.
I sucked in a deep breath and inched my way over to the other end of the window, his evil, glowing eyes following my every move. If I could just get that side of the window open, he’d have enough sense to find his way out. I managed to unlock the window and bent to push it up. Trouble snarled, made a leap and landed on my back with claws sank deep into my sensitive flesh. Remember the scene in “The Money Pit” where Shelley Long runs about with the raccoon attached to her. That was me–squealing and running about the living room trying to dislodge this maniacal cat from my back.
Hubby comes running into the room and doubles over in a fit of laughter. Here I am being mauled by a ferocious feline and he’s laughing. I manage somehow to throw the creature off and he runs into the corner, preparing no doubt, for another attack. Now I always had a fondness for Trouble and like the rest of my neighbors kept him well fed, but at this point, I was angry and not in the mood to be nice. I marched to the window, pushed it open and circled around him. Trouble must have known he’d gone too far. He took one look at the scowl on my face, hissed once and made a dive for the open window.
The next morning, hubby climbed on the roof and put a screen over the chimney. Unfortunately this didn’t prevent my having another encounter with Trouble. A few days later, as I was hiking the wooded hills in back of our home, I found Trouble caught in a trapper’s steel trap. The trap had no teeth and I could see the cat wasn’t injured. I sighed, knowing I couldn’t go off and leave the poor thing trapped and unable to free itself. I was also smart enough to realize I was in for one hellacious fight. After thinking for a moment or two about the best way to go about freeing him, I whipped off my jacket, threw it over him and frantically tried to open the trap before he could work his way from under the coat.
I wasn’t fast enough. Those traps are not called traps for nothing. They hold firmly and are not easy to open. If Trouble had cooperated, this little operation could have been over with in a matter of seconds. Instead it took me a good five minutes to open the trap while Trouble squealed, snarled, hissed, bit and clawed at me. When he was finally free, he bounced away totally unscathed and without a second thought to his bloody, battle scarred rescuer. Ungrateful wretch. The next day I scoured every inch of those woods, gathering up the remaining traps, hoping that when the trapper discovered his traps had been stolen, he’d not put out anymore. After all, he was illegally trapping on private property.
Elizabeth Melton Parsons