They say you can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your family. Or something like that. Then there are those of us that have to live with Harold. See, my name is Liza Jane, I’m a labrador retriever. Harold, is the family cat.
My job as the family dog is to eat Oreo cookies and eggs from Mom, keep the family safe from other humans that aren’t supposed to be there, sit on the couch and watch Green Acres and, when I’ve been really good, retrieve birds that the family knocked out of the sky with their boom sticks. Harold, on the other hand, well … he’s Harold.
See, he’s not quite right in the head. Most cats are very festid … fest … clean. Harold isn’t. He comes home covered in motor oil and cat urine. He doesn’t pick the stickers out of his fur and only cleans his belly. And boy is it smooth. Never mind that he’s highly flammable.
I never really knew how … well … special he was until my humans started feeding the pheasants in the back yard. The human called Dad would go out every morning and put out birdseed by the fence. The he would sit and watch the pheasants as they pecked and scratched.
Now I won’t lie, that drove me CRAZY. I would point and point and point, but the humans wouldn’t get their boom sticks. They would just watch. After a while I figured those pheasants were okay and I wasn’t supposed to bring them back.
Harold … on the other hand.
I was sitting on the couch in my usual spot one morning when Harold came around the corner … after running into it. He gave me a nod and then padded over to the side of my couch.
“‘Sup?” he said.
“Sup?” I asked. What did that mean?
“Yeah, the kids’re saying that these days,” Harold replied, “Sayin’ supper’s a greetin’ now. So .. ‘sup?”
“Okay,” I groaned, “What do you want Harold?” He was exceptionally gross that day. The stickers were more matted than usual, his smell was stronger than usual and his mohawk even seemed a little off.
“Well, I seen Dad out there plantin’ birds, but when I went out ta check, someone stole all the seeds,” he explained.
“Planting … birds?” What was that cat talking about?
“Well, ya know how Mom plants seeds in the garden ta grow flowers?’ Harold said while turning in a circle before forgetting to sit down.
“Well Dad is plantin’ seeds ta grow birds!” Harold exclaimed.
“I … wait,” I shook my head, “He’s putting seed out there to feed the pheasants you twit.”
“Oh really,” Harold wiggled his whiskers, “And just what do you know ’bout gardenin’?”
“More than you know about hygiene,” I grumbled.
“Come on,” Harold ordered, “We’re gettin’ ta the bottom a this.”
“Fine,” I groaned as Harold padded to the back door with his tail twitching.
Pausing at the door, he meowed loudly to be let out. I say meowed because that’s the sound cats are supposed to make. Not really the sound that Harold made. It was a kind of random series of coughing groans. That might be the best way to describe the noises coming out of him.
It wasn’t long before the daughter, Dori, had let us out and we were sitting on the back porch. As expected, the pheasants where scratching around near where Dad put the seed last.
“Hey, I bet it was them!” Harold exclaimed. “Let get ’em!”
I put out a paw to hold my cat friend back, “Cool you’re heels there chief. Those are the pheasants that Dad has been feeding.”
“You say feeding, I say stealing!” Harold said, ducking under my paw and charging the pheasants.
Now, there’s a lesson every hunting dog has to learn and that’s how to deal with a pheasant. They have long spurs on their legs and can kick the ever living snot out of you if you’re not careful. I learned years ago to bat them around with my paws, bat, bat, bat, until I could roll them over on their belly and pick them up by their back. Most dogs just bite really hard. Most cats … well.
Let’s just say Harold never learned that lesson.
I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a cat get his butt kicked quite that bad. The rooster pheasant dropped some serious Tae Kwon Do on poor Harold. To say he opened a can of whoopass on him would be an understatement; it was a whole case of whoopass.
The fur flew and feathers fell like snow. The battle was intense, exciting and extremely lopsided. By the time it was over, there was nothing but dust, broken weeds and load of Harold parts all over the back yard.
I couldn’t tell the real Harold from the mounds of matted fur scattered all over the place.
Battered, bruised and bleeding, Harold returned from his less-than-triumphant war and nodded to me.
“How’d it go?” I giggled.
“He said they didn’t do it,” Harold explained, grimacing slightly.
“You believed him?” I laughed.
“He’s … ” Harold panted, “Very … convincing.”
I left him there that day, an embarrassed and defeated ball of matted fur that would never forget the day he got whipped by a pheasant … at least until tomorrow.
Any resemblance to events or persons living or dead is completely intentional. We did have a cat named Harold that … well he was special. Liza tried to take care of him, but Harold was just … Harold.