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'Killer' the cat turned out to be a good friend

The Examiner

Growing up out on the farm I must have always had a dog by my side for a running companion. A guy would never be caught owning a cat. They are little girl companions – at least that’s what all of the other neighborhood boys led me to believe.

Even in my adult life the puppy dogs have always been around. That all changed in a heartbeat back in my broadcasting days. I came out of the radio station one night about 2 in the morning only to find a shoe box sitting in the driver’s seat of my little Mustang convertible. The shoe box had little holes punched in the top of it and a bright red ribbon tied around the lid.

Cats can be good friends (but check for fleas).

I carefully picked it up and untied the ribbon only to find a tiny little pure white kitten inside. “Someone is trying to be funny,” I thought. What am I going to do with this? My first thought was to turn it loose, but then I had second thoughts. No, it is too young to turn loose, so I guess I’ll have to take it home for the night until someone steps forward.

When I walked in my apartment and turned the light on, I was flabbergasted. This poor little kitten was absolutely covered from top to bottom with fleas. I immediately panicked and rushed to the bathroom, placed him in the sink and turned on the water. I grabbed a bar of soap and began scrubbing as fast as I could and made sure they all washed down the drain. Then I towel dried him and found a corner for him to spend the night.

Ted Stillwell

The next day I stopped and bought a bar of flea soap and was sure glad I did, because when I came in the next night the poor thing was once again completely covered with fleas. This routine continued for about a week and created quite a bond between “Killer” and I.

I named him Killer because that fit him perfectly. His sole purpose in life was to attack me every night as soon as I walked through the apartment door. If I was thinking about laying down and going to sleep, I would first have to wear him out or else he would attack my toes under the cover once I crawled into bed. I had an overstuffed rocker sitting next to the couch and he would jump up on top of it. I would sit there on the couch with the TV on and rock that rocker as hard as I could until it finally flung him off across the living room floor. Within a split second he was back up on top egging me on.

This routine prevailed until I wore him out so I could get some shut-eye. Of course, he never stayed on his bed in the corner. He was always snuggled up against me on the bed purring away into the night. The purring was better for me than a sleeping pill.

Killer and I were fast companions for the next 10 years or so. House cats are closely related to their wild ancestors like the big cats.

Leopards can grow to a weight of 200 pounds and have been known to drag a carcass weighing 600 pounds 20 feet up into a tree to feed. Snow leopards have been found as high as 16,400 feet up in the Himalayas. A snow leopard can leap a distance of 50 feet.

A big hungry tiger can eat almost 110 pounds of meat in one meal – equivalent to you and I eating a little over 200 half-pounders in one sitting. The heaviest recorded tiger weighed in at 1,025 pounds.

Reach Ted W. Stillwell at Ted@blueandgrey.com or 816-896-3592.