Thursday, May 28, 2009


I wish I were tall.

I'm a cat. Some would say an ordinary cat. I beg to differ. I have muted gray stripes, a nicely camouflaged white face and an extraordinary raccoon striped tail. My name is Pucci. Actually that's the name my owners gave me. Most often I'm called The Pooch. Something to do with a latent desire to own a dog. My real name is Salvatore Anthony Travolta? My mother was fond of the actor. Own ? They think they own me, yet once I cross the highway into the pine woods on the other side, I could follow the Kickapoo River and be on another journey. But I don't want to start a journey. I'm happy and so are they.

I don't remember when I was born. I led a normal kitten life. Then, on a cold November evening I was tossed from a car on highway 131 by the Freymiller Farm. These folks have four dogs and three cats, therefore I wasn't allowed inside. Except at mealtimes, I could do without smelly dogs. I got used to sleeping under their porch and hunting mice in the barn. When I could, I sneak dog food left outside for the pooch kept in a fenced kennel in the front yard. February it turned cold. Ron forgot to feed me. I was really hungry. My stomach hurt. The neighbors down the lane left a pan of scraps for a black and white feral cat I'd see sneaking around the Freymiller farm. After dark the temperature dipped well below zero. I could smell the old bacon in the pan. In a moment that will be forever marked in the annals of synchronicity, I slipped down to the neighbors and tried to get a bite of the scraps in the pan. Dinner was frozen solid. I'm starving. The light over the back door comes on and I jump for cover. Then I see and smell a chicken breast. Fresh and warm. I forget my shyness and cautiously approach the chicken breast. It is not a delusion brought on by starvation. I eat the whole breast, bones and all. The door opens, another chicken part appears and I allow myself to be picked up and brought inside.

It's all history now. I'm slowly training these people. Their names are Bert and Bev Bubnick. They're caring people. The only animal they had before I came into the picture was a beautiful black Persian cat named Sueshe. She died at nineteen in a place far from Wisconsin. Her pictures line Bev's studio because she was Bev's cat. Rescued from starvation in a garage when the owner died. I'm particularly attached to Bert. I call him Pork Chop because he feeds me. I sleep on Bev's lap in the evening while they watch quirky movies. Bev's lap accommodates me well. When the gunfire or shouting on the television becomes too loud, I amble off to a comfortable Danish, ergonomically designed chair in Bev's studio.

I'm really intelligent and I know how to spell. Once, to watch Bert and Bev's eyes pop, I put my paw on Bert's arm. The two are sitting at the kitchen table. I'm half listening to their inane chatter. Bert says, "Hey Bev, watch this." Then he looks at me and goes "pssst". "Psst always gets my attention because it sounds like a hiss. "Psst. Pooch. Put your paw on my arm," Bert says. This will be fun I say to myself. I lift my left paw and place it over his forearm. It gets me lots of hugs, kisses, treats and scratches in places I can't reach. You're wondering about the spelling of wish.

I call them whishes because they go by so fast. If you don't concentrate, focus your whole attention on the wish, nothing will happen. Whish...Then it's gone.

Bert picks me up. He holds me in front of the kitchen window so I can see everything in the huge front yard all the way to the dense cover of wild day lilies and thorn bushes over at the east fence line. Then he moves to the north window. I see trucks whizzing by on the highway, a two acre garden and a sand pit. The Bubnicks filled in an old house foundation with sand with the intention of building a house over the sand. Right now there's the skeleton of a drying tent. In the hot months of summer, 300 pounds of onions cover drying tables under a white tent. The sand pit is my own personal litter box. I love to dig for moles and scatter sand. It's fun to roll in the sand too.

If I stand on my hind legs I can see better. Being eleven inches tall has its limitations. In winter it's the worst. I cannot see over snow drifts. Once I got into a fight with the black and white cat. I showed him a thing or two about fighting and he/she ran off in the snow. It was so deep the black and white cat looked like a porpoise leaping over waves in the ocean. I can use the privet hedge for cover if I'm stalking birds and it helps if I duck down low so they don't see me, but...

I wish I was tall.

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