My mother loved animals. All animals. Both her back and front yards had become overgrown over the years as she was unable to maintain them. She was unconcerned and considered her yard her private “woods.” Wildflowers abounded along with perennials, bushes, trees and tree seedlings, and all manner of growing surprises. And critters.
She had chipmunks and squirrels and snakes and mice. And of course, one of her besties, the opossum who lived in the falling down shed. A great variety of birds frequented her special feeding station every day, many of them so familiar that they sat waiting for her every morning and evening.
For a season, she had a cat (trained to never chase the other critters) and even a dog. The cat, Adatinya, died at a ripe old age, literally collapsing at my mother’s feet. Mom considered it an honor. The dog became problematic early on; a stray who had adopted my mom, he wouldn’t stay in the yard. The neighbors complained and in the end, the dog catcher got him. Mom cried.
This is just backstory for the tale to come, to demonstrate her love for living things. That is, until the black cat took her over the edge.
It was a beautiful day, so Mom decided to sit out front, crack the storm door so Adatinya could come out and sit with her while Mom did her word search puzzles. Sure enough, Adatinya slipped out and lay at my mother’s feet until, out of nowhere, a black cat jumped out of the bushes and attacked Adatinya. Mom managed to block the cat from giving chase into the house. Her blood pressure skyrocketed, the black cat fled.
About 45 minutes later, Mom decided to try again. She cracked the storm door and Adatinya came out after a time. Mom immersed herself in the puzzles. But of course, the black cat attacked again. This time, the cat managed to follow Adatinya into the house, around and around they went. Mom used a broom to cast the demon out of her house. Her midday peace was ruined.
A few hours later, she tried again, cracked the storm door and all. The sun was close to setting, the birds were chirping. It was the golden hour.
How was it possible that the black cat would return? But it did and with a vengeance, once again slipping through my mother’s hands and giving hostile chase. My mother was apoplectic and determined to catch the devil.
After several trips around the house, Mom caught the cat. She held him (her?) down on the floor and began to strangle the life out of him. The cat’s bowels gave way. With only seconds to go, Mom cried out, dismayed.
Never had she hurt another creature. She let go. The cat was very still for several moments and then slowly stood and left her home on his own.
Mom wept. She called me to tell me all about it, in tears. The cat never came back again.