©2013 by LeeZard
Everyone thinks their pet is the cutest, the smartest, the funniest, etc. And, everyone is right, of course. To quote Rod Serling, I submit for your consideration Tex the Texas Bobtailed Cat.
Both of my faithful readers will remember that Tex adopted me several years ago at a cowboy wedding near Cleburne, TX. He is indeed a bobtail, a breed called “Pixy Bob.” I’m not very pixy oriented so I call him the Texas Bobtailed Cat. My research told me they are boisterous – Tex does have a lot to say – and very athletic. One website calls them “the sports car of cats.”
All of about 10-11 pounds, Tex’s hind legs are slightly longer then his forelegs with very muscular thighs (do they call ‘em that on cats?). He’s amazingly quick and jumps like a kangaroo. His build also gives him this jaunty little walk that absolutely fits his personality. He sashays around with "cattitude;" he knows how cool he is.
Like any pet (or human for that matter) Tex has his quirks. For one thing, sometimes he thinks he’s a dog. We have two Golden Retrievers but Tex grew up with Trooper, who was a puppy when I brought Tex home. They are pals.
I first discovered Tex’s canine aspirations one night when I was lying in bed. He jumped up and dropped one of his little stuffed toys on top of my blanket and looked me right in the eye. Instinctively, I knew he wanted me to toss it. Toss it I did. My Texas Retriever brought it right back and dropped it on the blanket. It was no fluke; I tossed and re-tossed only to have him return it every time for another throw.
His canine envy started to show in other ways. If he is outside, every time I walk the dogs Tex will either follow or lead us. Sometimes, when the dogs stop to lift a leg, Tex will stop with them, dig a little hole and do his own version of leg lifting. He loves to ride in my rig. For a while he’ll hang with the dogs in the back. Then, he’ll come up front and settle in my lap purring. Thankfully, he is not Toonces the Driving Cat.
I later discovered that Tex’s absolute favorite toy is a “hair thing.” You know, one of those elastic things that people with long hair use to get it out of their face. Tex LOVES ‘em. Even though he’ll turn almost anything on the floor into a toy, the hair thing drives him into ecstasy. For him it is the feline Hunger Game. He’ll bat the thing across the floor and go into his predatory hunting crouch. Then, as if shot from a cannon, he’ll spring onto the hair thing, bat it again and sometimes get up on his hind legs while doing so.
One night, Tex hopped up on the bed with a hair thing in his mouth and dropped it in front of me. I don’t think I’d thrown one of those for him yet but, clearly, that’s what he had in mind. The rest is Textory!
I attempted to toss the hair thing over his head and it looked like I was successful until Tex jumped about two feet in the air, did a half twist and snatched the hair thing with his paws and mouth. Of course, he nailed the landing on all fours and came trotting back. I was astonished, tossed it again, same result. It’s become our favorite bedtime game until he tires himself out and crumps like a little puppy, hair thing between his paws.
But Tex is also a little scamp, and a brazen one at that. Very early in our relationship Tex revealed his tendency to surf the kitchen counter, a table, an open refrigerator, any place there might be food. Sure, all cats do that, you might say. But, Tex being Tex, takes it to the limit; he is fearless. He has advanced to the point where he won’t even wait until I’m gone. He’ll jump up on the table while I’m eating and try to snatch something looking as cute as he can along the way. That usually earns him a little flick on the snout. Same thing if we are preparing food in the kitchen. But, Tex being Tex, came up with a plan.
We are not one of those households that feed our pets from the table or a dinner plate. When we have treats for them, we put it in their dish. House rules. If Tex gets lucky, and he’s so quick he often does get lucky, he’ll grab a morsel from a plate or the counter. Instead of running and hiding – because he knows Wende will hunt him down and shake him upside down to get the food back – he runs to his dish, drops the stolen goody into his dish and looks up as if to say, “See, it’s in my dish. Now I can eat it.” It’s hard to keep a straight face when we confiscate the stolen goods.
Tonight Tex tried to pull another stunt that started out scary and ended up just – poignant.
Tex fancies himself The Mighty Hunter. In fact, he’s pretty darn good. We live on a lake near forested wetlands and Tex brings us everything from mice to (yuk) rats, birds and the occasional small rabbit. Tonight Wende found a dead gopher in the driveway and figured Tex partnered on the kill with Tuxie, our other cat.
A bit later, I was sitting here at my keyboard and I heard a strange “screech, screech.” At first I thought it was a dog toy but they don’t squeak like THAT. I got up to look for the source of the sound. I had the rear door open to cool the house at the end of an 80 degree day and just as I looked, here comes Tex marching into the house with something in his mouth, obviously still alive and not happy about its circumstance.
At first I thought it was a mouse. I know Tex’s modus operandi; he was going to take his prey somewhere and play with it until he got bored, then he’d eat it. NO dead varmints in our house. I took off after Tex and guess where he went. Yup, right to his dish. When he saw THAT wasn’t going to work, he grabbed his victim and headed for the bedroom.
When I got back there, Tex was lying on the floor with his catch between his paws. I didn’t know if it was still alive but I noticed it was not a mouse; it was a baby rabbit maybe three or four inches long.
For some reason Tex didn’t flee this time. He’d been out all day and maybe he was just spent. He let me pick him up by the nape of his neck. I hoped he’d bring the rabbit with us but when I looked the rabbit was not in his mouth. I let Tex down to the floor and hit the bedroom again, closing the door behind me. There was no baby rabbit.
The bathroom door was ajar and I peered in. There, huddled and trembling in the corner by the shower stall, was the kit (real name for a baby rabbit – ironically short for kitten). I scooped it up and quickly looked for wounds or blood. S/he appeared unscathed and so I held her in my palm and against my chest while scratching behind its ears until the trembling eased.
After a brief conversation with Wende, the all-animal whisperer, I reluctantly took the kit outside, walked far from the house and set it free in the bushes. “Good luck,” I whispered as s/he scampered away.
When I returned to the house, Tex and Tuxie were sitting at their dishes waiting for dinner, just another day in Mr. Tex’s Neighborhood.