Cat Scan

I originally wrote this for a Yarnspinner column back on Dec. 22, 1985, and with one small exception, it is still true to this very day.

I will explain the exception when I get to it.

“There two things in this world I really don’t have much use for. Cold weather and cats. That’s not counting snakes. But I really can’t say I don’t have much use for snakes. I hate snakes.”

Boy howdy, do I hate snakes.

But it is cold weather and cats that I just don’t have much use for.

And I am not one of those people who can tell the temperature in degrees. I can read a thermometer, but what I mean is I have trouble telling the difference between 15 degrees and five degrees.

Once the temp drops below 65 degrees, I am ready to go light a fire.

So far, I have three heating systems on down here on Route 4, Piedmont, four if you count the kerosene stoves individually. Six if you count the two old-timey kerosene stoves sitting in the basement. Eight if you count the two blast heaters also in the basement.

Here is where I must stop for a clarification. The odds and heating facilities have changed dramatically in the past 38 years.

The wood stove in the den is gone. I had a choice of losing the wood stove or losing my wife. By a close vote, the girl who promised to love, honor and drive the station wagon won the election in a run-off.

The kerosene heater in the kitchen and at the end of the hall has been replaced by much more efficient and must less smelly propane units, which Diane just dares me to light.

I still have the oil furnace, but on the upper end of it, I have an electric heat pump. It works just fine until the temp drops below 40, then my good ole fashioned WARM heat like the good Lord intended when he made all them dinosaurs fall into mudholes and turn themselves into fuel oil.

I still have the blast heaters, which Diane doesn’t even know about, and a couple of extra propane units, just in case.

Get the idea that I hate cold weather?

Every now and then Diane would say, “I get tired of all this dog hair and fleas in the summertime. The next dog we get is going to be a yard dog”.

Here’s where I have to jump ahead, but I am still not where I divulge the exception.

Duke, the love our life Boxer bulldog, lived until 1991, and just before he passed our oldest boy’s brother took him off and talked him into siring a little of puppies.

We got one, and we went from Duke the wonderful dog, to Prince the dog from hell. Prince managed to chew up no less than three sofas, a couple of recliners, made countless messes in the pantry, including managing to open and scatter several five-pound packages of flour. And a lot of other little things.

Then in 1993, when both of my parents were dying of cancer, Diane opened the den door one day and Prince ran just as hard as he could straight into the woods.

We never saw him again, and really, I actually tried to find him.

Then we got Rosie, a min-pin, and a divorce settlement, and she ruled the house until an untimely death a few years later.

Now comes the exception.

A few years ago, in the summertime, Diane was working in the yard when she noticed a cat. It was fully grown, but skinny. She had a funny look in one eye and never made a sound.

The astounding thing was, she was housebroken. She became our ‘inside cat’ because other neighborhood cats seemed to harass her.

He name is ‘Cat Scan’. The other night, when I came in from a board meeting, I was very sick. Nothing, wet or dry, went down my throat for three days while I moaned and kept urging Diane to go ahead and make arrangements at the mortuary.

Through it all, Cat Scan was right by my side. She never made a sound, but she was there.

Still is.

I still hate snakes, but Cat Scan is my cat.

Watch yourself.