Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Yard Guard

“My Little Yellow Marine”


By Richard E. Noble

We called Sallie’s Cat our Yard Guard or our little Yellow Marine. He showed up one day about twelve years ago at my neighbor Sallie’s house. Sallie wouldn’t adopt the cat so we got stuck with him. We named the cat Sallie’s Cat so that our neighbor Sallie would forever feel guilty about her decision. I don’t know if it worked but it always makes me feel good – especially when I go out onto the porch and call Sallie’s Cat each evening.
All of us cat lovers know that every cat has a personality. Well, Sallie’s Cat was a born Marine. He was up at the crack of dawn every morning and screamed and rattled the garbage can until we let him out. When we let him out, he immediately went on duty guarding the yard and patrolling the perimeter of our “compound”. If there were any other cats out there attempting to encroach on our territory Sallie’s Cat would confront him nose to nose. He would give any enemy the Marine treatment - ears back, nose forward, very bad look and that Drill Instructor screech.
He was able to dissuade most encroachers but then there was that occasional other Marine who was looking for a fight also. Sallie’s Cat, as far as I know, always won but he nevertheless took some licks in the process.
We developed a tough love policy towards Sallie’s Cat. We figured that if he wanted to fight all the time then he would just have to lick his own wounds. Oh, we nursed him and did what we could for him but we didn’t take him to the vet except as a last resort - a very last resort. The vet is a hundred bucks a throw. I have a rule for all my cats - they get no better treatment than my wife. As you can imagine it is not easy being a cat in my house - ask my wife.
We said; He’s a stray cat; we didn’t bring him here; he wants to be a Marine; he’ll have to deal with the consequences.
Sallie’s Cat had any number of serious episodes. He had pieces of his ears nearly bit off; he had infected bites on his paws and legs and shoulders; he had broken teeth and a continuously scrapped up, freckled nose - but he lived. He is still here after twelve or more years. My wife and I have really softened to the old boy after all these years. I have personally gained a great respect for him and his belligerent ways.
First, I’ve come to the conclusion over all these years that he is not a bully - he is just doing what he was born to do. He loves guarding the yard and patrolling the perimeter. He takes no crap from anybody but he loves people so much that on the rare occasion that we take him to the vet he purrs so loud that the vet can’t even hear his heart beat with his stethoscope. He will sit in my lap at night and just purr and purr and purr. He is a real lovable, tough, little Marine. I’m real glad that he is on my side of the fence.
But time has been passing and my little yellow Marine is getting older and older. He still goes outside and patrols the yard; and he is still able to scare off most of the regular army but that other occasional Marine is a problem. I’ve actually had to run outside and rescue my old buddy on one occasion or another. It feels funny having to protect my little Marine after all these years of him protecting me and the wife and all his house mates. I try not to embarrass him. I know how he must feel. I talk to him. I say; You’re doing a good job old buddy. You’re still the toughest guy on the block and don’t you be ashamed to call for me every once in a while. I’ve got some responsibility here too. You can’t do it all by yourself all your life and I don’t expect you to.
I think that works. I don’t think that he is developing a complex or anything or feeling any less of a cat.
Just recently I’ve noticed that he is getting a little deaf I think he knows that he has got a problem. He stays pretty much up on the porch and he’s always keeping a watch over his shoulder.
A few months back he started losing weight - I mean really losing weight. We had to take him to the vet. He had some kind of a disease that required radiation therapy. He didn’t get it. It cost between two and three thousand dollars.
The vet gave us some pills and scheduled us to some blood tests - for the cat, not me or my wife. The pills cost forty dollars a month and the last blood test was over a hundred bucks. If you count the visit and the basic maintenance the vet bill was over two hundred dollars. The vet cost more than my real doctor, my human blood tests and the medication is more than the same pill would cost for a human being. This breaks my fundamental rule. My wife doesn’t mind taking second place to a cat, she loves the cat too. But as Decider and Chief in this household, I have to draw the line somewhere.
I can’t afford to spend this much money on a cat. Something has to be done.
Recently I have been thinking of shooting Sallie’s Cat. But I am torn. I love the cat and doesn’t he deserve some kind of a veteran’s pension for all of these years that he has spent out in the trenches? Do I spend the thousand to fifteen hundred dollars a year to keep Sallie’s Cat alive and tell my wife that she will have to do without her cataract operation? For myself I try not to go to the Doctor at all - if I die I die. But, unfortunately, I am the “Decider” in this household.
I haven’t decided whether to kill Sallie’s Cat or not yet. To be honest I would much rather shoot the vet. I can replace the vet but I can’t replace Sallie’s Cat. Maybe I could find another vet without shooting the present one but, the way our system works, all the vets are probably about the same. So I can shoot this one or shoot the next one - what difference does it make?

[Attention all Government authorities and Security Police. The above piece is considered to be humor (satire); it is a joke. The author has no intention of killing his cat or his Vet. He has had this cat for 14 yrs. and the same Vet for over 25 yrs. Yes it is true that he loves the cat more than the Vet but the Vet is ugly and has a wart on his nose and why should the author have to pay for his sports car and three divorces? The cat is pretty and has freckles on his nose and many more appealing qualities. I don’t even have a gun.]

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