It’s National Pet Month!
Yes, this is the month where we acknowledge and bestow extra treats on our furry, feathered, or scaly
companions. (Sorry if I left anyone out!)
I’d like to nominate Blue, The Bestest Boy Ever, my hiking buddy and vigilant protector of things that go bump in the night for animal saint-dom. He can usually be found holding a silent vigil next to my desk chair while I write or attempting to bound out the door to greet our guests. He’s big and loud and intimidating, but don’t be fooled! Blue’s a gentle giant, and I don’t know where I’d be without him.
And then…there’s the cat. The petulant, moody, broody asshole who also lives in my house. He’s eleven years old. And that’s a sobering fact because it means he could live for another decade and I’ll have to wait that long before I can welcome any other animals into my home, as he’s not much of a welcoming committee.
Yes, he is the great intimidator—the dog has always been terrified (but fascinated—he’s still sure
everyone loves him) of Sylvester who was aptly named.
Also, he is a murderer.
I had a realization last summer that the birds seldom eat from my feeders, and then I figured it out. I’m just luring them to their imminent death by inviting them into the yard. He’s dragged a barnyard worth of critters into the house through his cat door: birds, rabbits (they really do scream), snakes, and once he brought in an entire squirrel. Thankfully, that one was dead, but he often brings his victims in alive so that he can demonstrate his methods like a fuzzy gladiator.
Once, we came home to find a sacrificial killing on the living room floor. A bird wing, two feet, and a heart, picked perfectly clean. The carcass pieces had been arranged in the general shape of what it had once been. That was when I became absolutely sure that he was the Devil’s Familiar. If he was human, he’d have his picture right up there with Jame Gumb and Hannibal Lecter.
However, I owe this homicidal feline a debt of gratitude. It’s a good thing he has nine lives, because I’ve killed him at least four times in my writing. Whenever I need a character to suffer one more tragedy, I can count on Sylvester to save the day by sacrificing his life to the writing gods. Good thing he’s got nine of them.
So, cheers to all the beasties we love and honor, even if they don’t deserve it. As for me, I plan to sleep with one eye open for the next eleven years.